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Mayor’s Fund Helps Make a Difference in Los Angeles

Monday, November 13, 2017

Re “Rethink Garcetti’s behested payments” (Editorial, Oct. 27):

Please allow me to explain how the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, like many other charities and organizations, uses funds raised through behests to make a difference in the lives of Angelenos.

The Mayor’s Fund has expanded the Domestic Abuse Response Teams that work with the Los Angeles Police Department to cover all of Los Angeles. We’ve kept the lights on in 30 parks, contributing to measurably lower crime rates. We created the “Save the Drop” campaign which led to a dramatic reduction in water use during our drought.

And we’ve sparked innovative programs on issues such as youth employment, immigration, gender equity and senior welfare. Without the Fund, these programs would compete with one another for limited public dollars—or they would not exist at all. Our bylaws allow the mayor to recommend one board member — as you point out, one of seven — and that member sits on a board that must approve every program we consider.

Being inside City Hall but independent from City government allows us the critical distance to ensure program impact. Having the mayor as an advisor to our board gives us vital insight to the civic issues and projects that will benefit most from these kinds of public-private-philanthropic partnerships.

The Fund is an independent nonprofit organization, and transparency is one of our core values. Our website lists all donors of $5,000 or more alongside our annual audited financials and tax filings. We do not raise funds from organizations we know have pending business before the city.

In our three short years, we’ve made L.A. a better place and helped city government to be more innovative and effective. We’re extraordinarily proud of our impact and welcome attention to the work our staff and partners do every day.

— Deidre Lind 
The letter writer is president of Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles.

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