Annual Report 2015 – 2016
Reflections on Coming of Age at Alexandria House
Nicole was just a baby when her mother and 4-year-old brother found a safe and caring home at Alexandria House. Nicole’s first steps were taken at the House, cheered on by staff and other community members. Soon her tentative steps led to boldly running around and now that she is turning 21, she is studying abroad in Japan.
Nicole’s mother, Carmie, found her legs too! With solid determination to become self-sufficient for her family, she utilized counseling and the resident support staff to address the issues that led her to our place. Overcoming a shy nature, Carmie accepted an invitation from the LA Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness to speak to a group of corporate executives that came to Los Angeles to learn about challenges facing the city, especially homelessness. It came to the attention of one of the executives, Gary Stewart, of Rhino Records, that Carmie was looking for a job. After he checked with his HR person, he interviewed and hired her. Twenty years later she is still working for Rhino! Asked for his recollections, Stewart said, “This was a no-brainer. We needed quality people and it turns out that she not only was supremely qualified, she was also highly motivated and hard working.”
Those exemplary qualities have been passed down to her children. Nicole helped with a fundraising event for Alexandria House and as she expressed, “It’s a community, my community, that I’ve grown up with. I want to help it expand and grow so they can help others like me and my family. “
Stephanie remembers coming to Alexandria House as a young girl, not as a resident but as a child from the neighborhood. Since both of her parents worked several jobs, she would come after school for homework assistance and participate in the camps that take place three times a year. Now Stephanie runs the afterschool program, the teen program and the annual camps.
With a smile, Stephanie explains how she was given a better childhood because of Alexandria House. Her home life was hectic and although full of love, she got the additional guidance and support from the staff and youth programs that she needed. At 21, she doesn’t know exactly what she wants to do as an adult, but she knows it will be in the teaching/social services profession. “I had so many role models and mentors here at Alexandria House and I, too, want to make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie is already making a difference as the youth and teen center fills up each day with students from the House and the community. Generous donors have helped to create a welcoming atmosphere so that struggling families have a safe, caring environment for their children.
Joining the St. Joseph Worker Program was an easy choice for Yessenia. With a degree in psychology from Mount St. Mary University, she decided to take a year off from academics and put her formal education to use in helping others. At times, she marvels how much she has learned and processed in her first two months at Alexandria House. Many of her classmates are career oriented and stress about the next steps. Yessenia takes another view. “At 21, I believe that my commitment and passion is to help the less fortunate in our community. I am not anxious for the future and I believe that this type of work is my calling. I am able to push the boundaries of what I thought I could do. Every day I meet women living at Alexandria House that are doing that too – pushing their limits to overcome the challenges they are facing.” Yessenia continues, “I was taught that you are a reflection of who you surround yourself with. My advice to all who ask is that it is important to be in a supportive environment, with caring and compassionate people. I found Alexandria House to be that place!”
As Alexandria House focuses on “Becoming 21,” we are so grateful for the opportunity to watch these young people grow into the accomplished adults they have become. Their words and presence challenge us to continue helping families, making a difference, and creating a supportive environment now and into our next 20 years. Hundreds of children have grown up at Alexandria House and we know that they have a brighter future and no matter where they end up on their journey, they always have a home between homes.
Letter from Founding Director
Partners in Action
Corporate & Foundation Donors
Alexandria House is a transitional residence and house of hospitality for women and children who are working to overcome homelessness. The agency is also a neighborhood center providing educational and enrichment opportunities for residents and neighbors alike.
Alexandria House is a not-for-profit corporation
Wishing Out Loud
As poverty and homelessness grows in our community, so does our need for help in providing items to our past and current residents. We need:
* Gift cards (supermarkets, department stores, gas, clothing, shoe stores, etc.) * Bus tokens
* Baby Wipes, formula and large sized diapers
* New linens (blankets, twin-size bedding and crib-sized sheets, pillows) * Household goods (dishes, flatware, pots and pans, and small appliances)
* Big storage bins and tubs
Wish list items can be brought to Alexandria House Monday through Friday during regular business hours.
For more information or to schedule a drop-off, please call Michele at (213) 381-2649
Alexandria House Grows Up, Too . . .
Reflections on 20 years of Service
We have seen children take their first steps at Alexandria House, and then watched as those same children stepped across the dais to receive their high school or college diplomas. We have seen our own footprint expand from one house to two, and then to a 16-unit apartment building. And over the years, we have witnessed a changing landscape of homelessness in Los Angeles:
* There has been a 55% increase in homelessness among women in L.A. since 2013
* General Relief support for homeless individuals remains at $281 per month—an amount that has not changed since 1984!
* Federal funding has decimated transitional housing across the nation despite research documenting that homeless families with complex issues do better with longer stays than with “Rapid Re-Housing”.
Our awareness of the systemic injustices facing women and children has deepened over the years. We have grown into “age-appropriate” responses to this crisis by building support systems for our past residents to help them remain permanently housed and nurtured by community. We watch in awe as the Soul Sistas past residents’ group raises a powerful collective voice with growing activist acumen. We evolve to meet the changing needs before us and to look for new ways of serving and standing together.
Letter from the Founding Director
At a recent march in support of “Black Lives Matter,” a person carried the sign, “Where were you during the Civil Rights movement? Where are you now?”
These questions touched my soul and memory, bringing me back to the theme of this Annual Report, “Becoming 21.” I turned 21 in August of 1966, while in the early stages of becoming a Sister of St. Joseph. The impact of Vatican II, which changed religious life in the U.S. forever, had not yet revealed itself. There was still a strong cloistered culture that largely withheld what was happening in the “outside” world.
Being challenged by that sign awakened two strong reactions. One of anger, sadness and frustration that the racism impacting people of color, including the vast majority of women and children served at Alexandria House
, still runs deep. The hate-filled speech and violence that we had hoped to put behind us is once again on display and unsettling. The second reaction was a renewed commitment to being a visible part of the movement for justice and equality. Alexandria House
has as an explicit part of its mission to be, “consciously anti-racist and committed to creating a community with the values of mutuality, dignity and respect.” This work is an ever-present component that the Board of Directors takes seriously in its governance role and that our staff carries forth every day as they bring our mission of hospitality and hope to life.
Over the past twenty years, Alexandria House
have been blessed with amazing staff members, who are committed to and carry out the mission with grace and passion. Almost a year ago, Ouida Joi CooperRodriguez joined the team. Even though her time here has been short by AH standards, Ouida already has her own legacy. She has been many things to many people, but for me three gifts stand out – to breathe, to ask “what’s the plan,” and to always be grateful.
Our commitment to you, our supporters and friends, as we turn 21 is to live these gifts: to breathe, even in the midst of the increase in homelessness among families, a growing housing crisis, and policies that are hateful and unjust; to create a plan that will enable Alexandria House to continue to serve individuals and families in need for the next twenty years; and to always be incredibly grateful for each and every member of the Alexandria House
community that makes all that we do possible.
Judy Vaughan, csj
Partners in Action
The VERY REAL ways people stand in solidarity with Alexandria House
Dr. Richard Meehan, D.D.S. owned several investment properties and very graciously leased apartments to Alexandria House families at below the market rent for many years. He is retiring and has sold his buildings, but we will remember his kindness, friendship and personal social justice action. We are always looking for building owners who would consider dedicating one or more of their units to create affordable housing for a woman or family.
Calling All Kitchen Crews who bring such joy and fun to our evening meals. Groups from Circle K, IMHOME, Just Faith at St. Monica’s Church, Marlborough School, Pilgrim Community, Rest Cottage Association, Temple Israel and many other individuals and families regularly volunteer to prepare, serve and join us for dinner. Do you like to cook? Do you have a crew of family or friends who know how to get down in the kitchen? Call us to schedule a night that is convenient for you and we’ll get you on the calendar. A good time will be had by all!
Join our Alexandria House Angels Sustainer Club with a monthly donation of any size. You can set up a recurring donation via Paypal or a credit card. We can also supply you with envelopes if you prefer to mail a check. Please contact Michele Richards for more information about donation possibilities.
Be creative! There are so many ways you can support our work from bringing friends to our Tea Parties to hosting wish list drives—see column at right. Instead of asking for hostess gifts at your holiday party, ask people to make a donation to Alexandria House. Just think of all the ways you can be a partner in action, too!
Partners in Mission
Foundation, Corporation and Group Donors
Alexandria House is a community-based organization with an extended family of support that affirms our work and provides the monetary, material and volunteer resources that enable us to keep our doors open. During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Alexandria House raised $694,633 from private sources, including grants, corporate contributions and individual donations. Alexandria House received one government grant of $6,000 from the Emergency Food and Shelter program for emergency motel vouchers and food.
Alexandria House received, conservatively, more than $98,520 in new in-kind donations, including on-going contributions from Baby2Baby, LA Food Works, Needlework Guild of America (NGA), Shelter Partnership and Sunshine Saturday. Thank you also to everyone who brought gently used items for our programs, including the monthly thrift sales.
Finally, we are grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who contributed more than 32,354 hours of service. We couldn’t do this work without you.
Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors Foundation
Marisa Antonini Foundation
Blue Shield of California, through Benevity Community Impact Fund
Harold & Stephanie Bronson of the Liberty Hill Foundation
Calvert Social Investment Fund
Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
CSJ Ministry Support Fund of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
California Community Foundation
Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation
Ebell of Los Angeles, Rest Cottage Association
Georges & Germaine Fusenot Charitable Foundation
Google Community Grants Fund of Tides Foundation
William H. Hannon Foundation
Conrad N. Hilton Fund for Sisters
In-N-Out Burger Foundation
James Chapter 2 Fund of Vanguard Charitable
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
Samuel and Julia Leung Charitable Fund
Los Angeles Giving Circle Fund at the California Community Foundation
Marisla Fund of the Orange County Community Found.
Joyce and Lawrence Powell Family Foundation
Daniel and Mary Reeves Foundation
Reynolds Family Foundation
The Rose Hills Foundation
Rosenberg Family Fund of Vanguard Charitable
Walt Disney Company Found.
Carl and Melinda Werts, Giving Fund
Willmas Trust Fund
Irene B. Wolt Lifetime Trust
Clubs, Corporations & Organizations
Academy of Our Lady of Peace
Alpha Chi Omega Foundation
AT & T Employee Giving Campaign Bank of America Employee Giving
Blue Shield of California—Benevity Community Impact Fund
Bishop Blanchet High School
Brophy College Preparatory
Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
Cove Street Capital
de Toledo High School
Gaia Capital Management
General Mills Employee Giving
Granada Hills Woman’s Club
Hollywood Center Studios
Immaculate Heart Community Immaculate
Heart High School
Jeopardy! Quadra Productions, Inc
Jesuit High Sch., Carmichael, CA
Keller William Realty
Hollywood Hills Knights of Columbus
Knights of Peter Claver, Ladies Auxillary Transfiguration Parish, Court 220
LA Food Works
Loyola Marymount University
MBA Association, Woodbury University
Mount St. Mary’s University
National Association of University Women
NGA – Needlework Guild of America, Hancock Park
One Church International
Pacific Gas and Electric Co.Employee Giving
Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, Western Amer Prov
Sacred Fools Theater
St. Brendan Church
St. Brendan School
St. Francis High School
Schnieders Capital Management
Sepulveda Women’s Golf Club
Sherman Oaks Garden Club
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet
El Pequeno Diseno
Sisters of St. Louis, California Reg
Teradata Matching Gifts Program
United Health Group Employee Giving Campaign
United Methodist Women
United Way California Capital Region
United Way of Central Indiana
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Wagon Wheel School
Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign
Yam Good Cookies
Yes! Ventures, Inc.