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Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Disaster Aid

Mission: The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation supports the LAFD in protecting life, property, and the environment by providing essential equipment, training, and public outreach programs to supplement city resources. Founded in 2010 by corporate and civic leaders to support the Los Angeles Fire Department when the city's budget could not provide. The Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation exists because only 97% of the budget allocated to the department covers just personnel. Leaving just 3% to cover the cost of essential equipment, new technology and training to help firefighters execute their job and safely return to their family.

Results: EQUIPMENT EVERY LAFD FIREFIGHTER NEEDS The Foundation assists each of the LAFD’s 3,300 firefighters in some way by providing crucial pieces of equipment that help keep them safe and save time. Some items include lightweight brush helmets, powerful flashlights and durable hydration backpacks (photo left). Other ways our organization assists the department in maintaining exceptional fire protection and emergency medical services is by providing equipment like night-vision goggles, drones and swift-water rescue boats. THE ADOPT-A-FIRE-STATION PROGRAM The Adopt-A-Fire-Station (AAFS) Program improves the working and living conditions for firefighters and paramedics in every fire station. Working in 24-hour shifts, stations are not only a workplace but also members’ second home. Everyday household items like washers, dryers, ice machines, coffee makers, kitchen faucets, refrigerators, etc. are used around the clock. When one of these items breaks due to the heavy usage, a replacement is not covered in the city’s budget. FUNDING LAFD PROGRAMS The Foundation provides ongoing funding for numerous LAFD programs, including in-service training, leadership, and youth. In-Service Training The In-Service Training Section (ISTS) provides training to the members of the LAFD, ensuring that all personnel are trained to the highest levels of competency. ISTS consists of some of the following EMS Training, DMV/Driver Training, Smoke Recognition, and Car Extraction Training. The LAFD Foundation funds this section with tools and equipment that allow the LAFD members to learn various skills efficiently and responsibly. For more information on the ISTS and the other sections in the Training and Support Bureau, visit lafd.org. Leadership Academy The Los Angeles Fire Department Leadership Academy provides a skill set that builds upon the foundation for successful leaders. The academy was developed at the United States Military Academy at West Point and was adapted to the leadership concerns of the fire service today. The LAFD Foundation is the proud sole sponsor of this program. With the belief that an organization is only as good as its leader, our Foundation encourages those seeking to strengthen their leadership skills to join this program. For more information on the LAFD Leadership Academy, visit lafd.org. Youth Programs The four LAFD Youth Programs the Foundation funds are Girls Camp, Youth F.I.R.E. Academies, Cadets, and Fire and EMS Magnet High Schools. These exciting programs offer students the opportunity to learn about a career in the fire service through engaging task-driven activities where they develop skills in leadership, teamwork, and overall confidence. These skills are invaluable and can be applied to all aspects of their lives, whether they choose the fire service or not. For more information on these programs, visit joinlafd.org.

Programs: Helped to invest in equipment, training programs, and public outreach to assist the los angeles fire department.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been associated with the LAFD Foundation since they were formed four years ago. The way they communicate with donors and the way they get the biggest value for the fire department are impressive. They help our city in an important area of need.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The LAFD Foundation has been a tremendous asset to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The Foundation has succeeded in supporting the needs of the LAFD where the city's budget falls short in areas such as training, safety equipment, and public outreach. With the support of the LAFD Foundation, the Los Angeles Fire Department recently launched a modern, user friendly ADA compliant website that meets the needs of the community and the members of the LAFD. Thank you to everyone at the Foundation for all of your hard work and thank you to everyone who has so generously supported their mission.

Zada Crawford F.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an amazing organization that has transformed and greatly improved LAFD's visibility in the community and how the community can give/donate to LAFD in a more direct, meaningful and lasting way. They are a small team but they make a HUGE impact in the lives of firefighters every single day!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Based on my first-hand experience with the LAFDF, I can unequivocably say that not only does the Foundation serve an incredibly crucial role in the fabric of the LA community, it is also helmed by individuals who are deeply committed to the cause, and the work they do for that cause. While most of the public may not understand the Foundation's importance in meeting the needs of LA's courageous first-responders, they benefit from the Foundation's service each and every day. The LAFDF is one of Los Angeles's truly unsung heroes.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've worked directly with the LAFDF for eight months, and have rarely encountered a group of more concerted, committed people. Still in its infancy and with the capacity to go much, much further, the foundation has a clear mission and the necessary passion to support LAFD's firefighters for the long run. And they need it: The LAFD is critically underfunded. The foundation's president, Karen Wagener, is a tornado of committed energy, always willing to go the extra distance to generate the support needed to make a difference for these local heroes. I've witnessed enough of these kinds of foundations to recognize the great ones, and the LAFDF is exactly that. Please support them today!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a proud member of this Board for well over a year. I was drawn to serving the Foundation for a number of reasons, including the dedication of Karen Wagener and the absolute commitment of LAFD Foundation to enhancing the capabilities of the women and men of the LA Fire Department and therefore their effectiveness here in our community. Whether it is providing equipment such as brush helmets for the department (especially important during this drought) or stair chairs to be used in medical emergency situations -- or helping to improve department readiness and fitness through donations of gym equipment -- the LAFD Foundation provides much needed support for this vital City service. In times of declining City budgets, the Foundation is needed now more than ever.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen at Foundation events how the Foundation makes a difference by collecting money from donors, buying necessary equipment which the City budget doesn't provide and providing support for the Department. The events are professionally handled, including demonstrations by the Fire Department personnel. I am confident that my donations are being well spent.

Advisor

Rating: 5

We have partnered with Karen Wagener and Diana Soukounian since 2011. We assist LAFDF by helping to produce their fund-raising events. We also produce their Medal of Valor Awards Luncheon. Working closely with the Foundation is a joy - not only because these two individuals are dedicated to their cause but also because the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department are so very deserving of the grants, materials and programs provided by the Foundation. In this day and age, with city, state and federal budgets being drastically cut, it is with great pride that we assist the Foundation raise money to provide equipment and services to a department that risks their bodies and lives to serve the community.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a beneficiary of grants from the Fire Department Foundation, all of us at Fire Station 46, located in South Los Angeles, are grateful for the work of the foundation. They have been able to provide items as small as dishes, tree trimming equipment to provide security for our fire station, shop vac, tools for maintaining fire department equipment, a washing machine to wash our work uniforms at work so we are not bringing contaminated clothes home to our family, flashlights for everyone and a large-screen television/monitor for our training room. Whether the answer is “yes” or “no,” the foundation responds quickly. the Firefighter Foundation has made a huge impact on the ability for our fire station to do its job in an efficient and safe manner.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became familiar with the work of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) Foundation through Jay Grodin, Chairman of the LAFD Foundation board of directors. I learned that the LAFD Foundation is a superb non-profit organization that helps the LAFD meet numerous unmet needs due to budgetary shortfalls. Because of the tremendous service provided by this Foundation and their outstanding board of directions and staff, i accepted an invitation to join their board. The capabilities of the LAFD have been enhanced thanks to the Foundation funding training and numerous items such as 83 stair chairs for moving sick and injured individuals down stairs and steep slopes. Again, the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation is a superb non-profit that has made a difference for the Los Angeles Fire Department. I am proud to be a member of their board.

Tanaya

Advisor

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work closely with Karen Wagener and Diana Soukounian on the 2013 LAFD Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony and Luncheon. The LAFD Foundation was wonderful to work with, providing timely and informative communications throughout the entire process so that we could get the word out to the media about this special event. I would highly recommend working with this wonderful organization, as it is evident that they truly care about the firefighters who work so hard to protect us, day in and day out. Wonderful organization, great cause, and hard-working people behind it all.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LAFD Foundation identifies fundraising objectives through a holistic, team approach. And I can attest that they recruit their donors and volunteers with the same approach. I met the Foundation team at one of their events and was taken by their enthusiasm, inclusiveness, sincerity. I’ve been proud to be a volunteer – staffing events, meeting with street-level donors – ever since. Many in LA assume that our tax dollars are sufficient to keep us safe. The Foundation daily meets incredulity and downright disbelief. That they are able to raise awareness with grace, hard work, and incredible style is a joy to behold. This past year the Foundations’ campaigns have gained additional attention with the production of a documentary and coverage by local broadcast media featuring the Foundation. It’s been a privilege to be able to help this amazing team as they support one of LA’s greatest institutions. And most of all they seem to think their best reward having a member of LAFD call out, hey, thank you so much for the flashlight, the computer, the chairs, the hose, thank you so much!!

Masha K.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a banker for the LAFD Foundation I became aware of struggles that the Los Angeles Fire Department face. Through volunteering at events and attending board member meetings I learned about challanges and shortages at local fire stations that I couldn't even imagine existed. The LAFD Foundation is able to address specific needs of local fire stations and assist stations with protecting the coomunity. My time will always be available for this cause.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel recently created and delivered an "LAFD Wounded Warrior Weekend" hosting 30 wounded veterans for a weekend of activities in the Los Angeles area. The young men and women who sustained injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan were treated to an awards banquet, USC football game with tailgate lunch/dinner and visits to LA area fire stations.

The LA Fire Foundation supported the weekend event and supported the Wounded Warriors by providing badly needed logistical support and administrative expertise. They did so with only one call and were instrumental in a successful event.

The event was an overwhelming success and received accolades from the wounded veterans who participated and gave so much for their country. We look forward to partnering with the LA Fire Foundation next year for a repeat of what is sure to become an annual event.

Mike Castillo, Captain
Los Angeles Fire Department

Client Served

Rating: 5

AS a Captain for the LAFD I count on the LAFD Foundation to help us with our youth programs. The financial support has kept our programs running and helped students who might have been drawn to gangs in our inner city and poor areas. Instead these students become cadets in our FIRE academy and graduate high school. Most go on to college and some become firefighters for the department.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a former Fire Commissioner, I am more aware than most people of the needs of the Los Angeles Fire Department. As Chairman of the Fire Department Foundation board of directors, it is my privilege to meet some of those needs. I am well supported by the staff of the foundation, and impressed with their dedication to our mission. The foundation and the fire department are functioning more and more as a team. The process is thoughtful and fun. We are a young organization, but growing and moving in the right direction.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I’m proud to serve on the board of directors of the LA Fire Department Foundation. It’s fun to learn about the work of the LAFD and it’s rewarding to assist the department with many of their basic needs. I’m proud to bring my friends and business associates to the foundation’s events, and look forward to producing a young professionals event in the spring.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The LAFD Foundation is an outstanding non-profit organization that has greatly assisted the Los Angeles Fire Department during these current budgetary times. As the Deputy Chief in charge of training for the Department we have been very fortunate to have the Foundation assist with our current Leadership program, recruitment projects, and other training programs. The Foundation's funding has allowed the Training Bureau to truly provide a higher level of training programs that is reflected in our overall professionalism as emergency service providers. Thank you again to the Foundation and all the contributing members for all that you do for the LAFD!

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a founding board member of the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, I am so proud of our achievements over the last two years. Donations from our board are 100%. Our staff of two does the work of four. The Los Angeles Fire Department is benefiting from items we provide for the entire department, such as flashlights, computers, special evacuation stair chairs and training. We also manage the Adopt a Fire Station program which helps individual stations with supplies and equipment they need.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently volunteered with the LAFDF at the Safe Summer Tip Off basketball game and had an amazing time! Not only was it amazing working with such incredible members of the Fire and Police department, but seeing members of the community come out to enjoy this great event was wonderful to be a part of. The event, which was 100% free, included games, raffles, local vendors( giving away free goodies), and an amazing BBQ with so much food and snacks for all to enjoy. All of these great activities led up to the much anticipated basketball game featuring the Fire Department vs. the Police Department! It's so nice to see this interaction between these departments and the community. Truly makes a statement of how the Fire and Police department genuinely care for the community they serve and want to be seen as approachable, fun and friendly.

I loved volunteering with the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Fire Foundation is doing a fantastic job assisting the LAFD. I am the Battalion Chief in charge of Grants for the Department. As a project manager, I needed a laptop and software to give my staff the ability to track the 93 projects we manage for the LAFD. The Fire Foundation was there. Immediately they processed my request, and worked with our IT Department to facilitate the right software that was compatible with our current systems. Thank you so much. I could not facilitate all of the Federal Grant funding without it. Karen and Diana have been amazing!

Client Served

Rating: 5

While the normal budget process addresses most of the Fire Department's needs, there is an increasing deficit in specialty equipment funds. And when other funding sources fall short, the Fire Foundation answers the call... As the Commander of the LAFD's elite Air Operations Section, I have had several recent occasions to request the Foundation's assistance with major project funding. From the personal response of Foundation President Karen Wagener to the professional approach of prioritizing requests - the value of our relationship with the Foundation is immeasurable. To the Directors, Board and Staff of the Fire Foundation - a heartfelt thanks for supporting the Air Operatns Section.

Volunteer

Rating: 5


I have been involved with the LA Fire Department Foundation as a volunteer and as a supporter of their events.  From a salute to the women of the LAFD,to dinner at a fire station,to a major gala held in the spring, the foundation allows community members to learn about the work of first responders and to experience the department from inside.  The staff acknowledges volunteer work and they take good care of donors.  The foundation has grown quickly and responsibly.  I am happy to be a part of their important work!

Client Served

Rating: 5

For the last two years I have served as the Fire Department’s liaison to the foundation. Their board of directors and staff are committed to the mission of the LAFD and to supporting us with needed equipment, technology, training and youth programs. Members and staff of the Fire Department love working with the foundation and appreciate all they do to support us. Our community is more aware of the work of the department because of the visibility we get from the foundation.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent, people, excellent non-profit. And no explanation necessary. I mean, who hasn't heard of the LAFD? Who wouldn't agree that any additional funding they receive would be well spent?

Client Served

Rating: 5

As the program director of our LAFD Youth Academy and a captain for the LAFD - I have had several of my requests funded through the LAFD Foundation. They have always come through for us. It may be buying gear for our students or lunch for our cadets ~ we know we can count on the support. Our cadets have also learned a great deal from the volunteer activities as well. THANKS!!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As coordinator of the Los Angeles Metro F.I.R.E Academy, I have personally witnessed the positive impact on lives of young at risk youth from south Los Angeles, Ths impact could not have been realized except for the support of the Los Angele Fire Foundation. There are countess stories I could share, but one in particular was when we were interviewing students for leadership roles in the academy. One student when asked why he should be considered for the role related this story: "One day after school, I arrived home a couple of minutes later than I was suppose to, my dad yelled at me and through me out of the house. I had no where to go, so as I was walking I found a card board box and went back near my friends house found a spot I thought would be safe and slept in the box. I awake the next day and went to school". This kid slept in a card board box and went to school each day until he was able to find a shelter. He now lives in a boarding home still with a vision to Graduate and be a leader. I want to thank the Los Angeles Fire Foundation for playing a part in instilling courage and discipline in this kids life.