If you are not involved with or supporting a community organization in Los Angeles, you are missing out. That is all there is to it.
In the last couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to attend a number of invite-only events and fundraisers around town: “Tequila Tasting” with The Fringe at California Club; “Unsung Heroes” at LACMA, Bank of America’s Pacific Standard Time private event at The Getty; KHEIR dinner at Plaza Hotel; Asian Pacific American Legal Center‘s fundraiser at the Biltmore; Boys & Girls Club Gala and Community Coalition fundraiser at J.W. Marriott at L.A. Live; Network of Korean American Leaders dinner at the California Science Center; and Social Innovation Fast Pitch at Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live.
Basically, I went to really cool parties where I was around people who really believed in the cause and, at fundraisers, also marked their support in dollars.
You see, in the nonprofit world, October is high season for events and fundraisers. It’s also a reunion of sorts. If you work in nonprofit or support or are involved with any community organization in any way, you know that these events also serve as a great way to see everybody without having to Doodle meeting dates, or– if you are old school– go back and forth/reply-all on when to meet up for coffee, lunch, or happy hour. The conversations at these events may not be in-depth, but they’re a great way to just catch up for a bit. Or if you’re like me and live for this time of the year and go to a number of these events, you know that you’ll see the same people. And after a week of seeing the same folks, you’ll pretty much get caught up on their work, family, and all sorts of gossip.
In addition to catching up, relationships are built and partnerships are made at these events. If you have been at these events, you know it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. People in L.A. are passionate about their work or involvement in the community. The energy in the room is often so contagious. I met a Korean gentleman who signed up for a mostly-Filipino Rotary Club because of someone he met at one of the events. The same man almost got me but I was warned about his excellent recruiting skills. Thus, it is imperative that I limit myself to just a single glass of wine. Wine and dessert make me vulnerable. If I don’t limit myself, I know that I will end up on more boards and projects than I can handle.
But besides the partnerships–unless you are a total wallflower or you hate people–like at most parties, you will make a friend. A friend invited me to a Network of Korean American Leaders event. Other than my friend who was organizing the event, I had no connection with the organization. I attended the event to support her– and because the event was at the California Science Center and she promised good food. I wasn’t sure what to expect. By the end of the evening, in addition to learning about NetKAL’s work in the community, I made new friends and became better acquainted with some folks I met at other community events.
Lastly, the events were held at ahhh-mazing locations. In addition to being around people who were not only cool but also gave back to the community, the events were at historical or hip L.A. establishments.
So if you are not involved with an L.A. community-based organization in some way, you are missing out.
NOTE: In the next few weeks, I will be featuring some of my favorite L.A. organizations in a series called The Real L.A.
*Unfortunately, due to my socializing, I failed to take pictures. You’ll just have to believe me.