CC Exchange Club celebrating 70 years of philanthropy
When most residents want to improve the livability of their city, they seek out solutions by way of city hall, but many never even consider another organization that can help: the exchange club.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Culver City Exchange Club, a local organization that is focused on creating a more livable Culver City through its philanthropic work, such as ending child abuse, finding homes for homeless veterans, and helping local students achieve academic success.
John Cohn, a member of the Culver City Exchange Club, said the Club acquired funding to help 13 local homeless vets find homes in the Los Angeles area during Fiscal Year 2017-2018.
Cohn said that the Exchange Club not only helps homeless vets get off the streets, it also goes to great lengths to honor their service and sacrifice as former members of the armed forces. The organization also honors currently serving active duty military.
In fact, Cohn said that for Veterans Day, the Club will feature an event called the Path of Honor, celebrating both former and active duty military by erecting a field of American flags at Veterans Park.
“Our goal is to have between 500 and 1,000 flags, all of which will be sponsored by members of the community in order to honor in remembrance of people who have served or people who are currently serving,” Cohn said. “The purpose is to raise funds to help us continue to fight veterans’ homelessness and provide support for active military families.”
In addition to veteran homelessness, another area of focus is on the issue of child abuse. According to www.verywellmind.com, an online library resource featuring more than 4,000 articles written by more than 100 healthcare professionals and industry experts, such as doctors, therapists, and social workers, one out of every 100 children in the United States was abused in 2015, the most recent year for which they have statistics.
Cohn said that the Exchange Club has worked with and supported the Exchange Club Family Support Center in Downey, Calif. for many years.
“What they do is take both court referrals and professional referrals and they will provide their clients with skills to create an environment where child abuse can be prevented both familial skills, and home managerial skills,” Cohn said.
Although fighting vet homelessness and child abuse are at the forefront of their efforts, the Culver City Exchange Club is also involved in helping kids academically by awarding scholarships to local high school seniors who are preparing to enter college.
“Year after year we provide scholarships [through the Culver Scholarship Foundation] to local students for college,” Cohn said. “This year we awarded 23 scholarships to Culver City High students.”
Cohn said that $23,000 in scholarships was awarded this year, which includes the Youth of the Year and their Ace Award, which is given to young people who have really overcome fiscal, social, and familial challenges in order to get a high school diploma. Many of the scholarship recipients are already set to attend the colleges of their choice including UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Harvard, and Yale.
Other activities in which the Exchange Club gets involved include the annual Abilities Carnival, a celebration and support for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Last year, more than 500 people attended the event held annually at the Culver City Senior Center. This year’s event will be held Oct. 12.
The Exchange Club also sponsors the annual car show in Culver City as well as the fireworks show at West LA College, which was canceled this year due to construction on the campus.
Every year in April, the Culver City Exchange Club and the Culver City Rotary Club co-sponsor a first responders luncheon honoring police and fire officers as a way of thanking them for their service.
One other large activity that the Culver City Exchange Club sponsors is called Leadership Culver City, which just graduated its inaugural class. Cohn said that this nine-month course was co-sponsored by the city of Culver City, the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, West LA College, and the Center for Nonprofit Management along with the Exchange Club.
For nine months members of the community were invited to learn skills to develop their own civic engagement and civic literacy. The program had 20 students graduate this year with their ages ranging from the youngest graduate at 23 to the oldest at 78.
“We had retired zoologist, a fire captain, people involved in social media, and people involved in assisting the developmentally disabled,” Cohn said. “This program was an outgrowth of the exchange club strategic plan that we put together nearly three years ago as a way to develop greater social engagement and civic literacy. We provided scholarships for nearly half the students who attended that program.”
Two of the graduates of the program were approved to become part of some local civic commissions while two others recently became delegates to the California Democratic Party.
The Culver City Exchange is a philanthropic organization that works to support the fight against child abuse and is known for hosting or sponsoring well-known civic events such as the Culver City Car Show. Other sponsorships have included the Culver City High School AVPA music program, Culver City Little League, Culver City Youth Health Center, the Culver City Senior Center, Veterans Matter, and the homeless. For more information about the Culver City Exchange Club or if you’d like to become a member, visit www.culvercityexchange.org.