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MEND Named California's Nonprofit of the Year PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 02 August 2012 03:03

PHOTO COURTESY OF MEND

(l to r) Marianne Haver Hill, MEND CEO; Susan Blumenfield, MEND Board Chair; Karen Baker, CaliforniaVolunteers Secretary of Service and Volunteering

MEND, a homegrown charity based in Pacoima, combating poverty through empowerment, on Tuesday, July 31 received CaliforniaVolunteers' 2012 Governor's Volunteering and Service Award for Nonprofit of the Year.

Marianne Haver Hill, president and chief executive officer, accepted the award for MEND - Meet Each Need with Dignity - during ceremonies at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. For more than four decades, MEND and its large volunteer force have provided food, clothing, health care, jobs training and other services to impoverished families, who are encouraged toward selfreliance.

"Since MEND was founded by a small crew of volunteers working out of their garages, it has grown to be the Valley's largest poverty relief agency," Haver Hill said. "That eagerness to reach out to the less fortunate caught on and over time MEND has expanded upon a foundation of more than 3,000 volunteers who have earned top honors from the state of California."

The Nonprofit of the Year Award honors a California nonprofit group that has shown an extraordinary ability to leverage volunteers in service to the organization. MEND, which is run 99 percent by volunteers, serves up to 30,000 people each month, providing a range of services that vary from English language courses to showers, hot meals and fresh clothing for the homeless.

Nominations came from community groups, foundations, businesses and nonprofit leaders whose innovation in the field of service and volunteerism have had tangible impacts on their communities, regions or the state of California.

MEND does not pursue government grants to fund its services, allowing the organization to set its own priorities and practices. Volunteers staff the various programs and provide a range of professional services, supported by a small staff of 25 employees.

The organization has been a leader in creative efforts to serve the needs of its clients while encouraging them to improve their lives through education, employment and improved health.

Faced with a significant increase in applications from clients hurt by the poor economy coupled with a challenging fundraising environment, MEND doubled the number of its partnerships with businesses, educational institutions and community groups to more than 300 organizations, which allowed the agency to expand services and improve the quality of those services. For example, physicians from Kaiser Permanente staff MEND clinics and linguistics students at California State University, Northridge, teach English to Spanish-speaking clients.

"The community has seen our successes over the decades and has responded with a creative energy that has allowed us to expand to meet the needs of our clients," Haver Hill said "It is such a privilege to work with people from all walks of life who want to give back, to help their neighbors in need."

About MEND

MEND serves as many as 30,000 poverty-level clients each month while remarkably keeping operating costs at or under 6 percent. It is the largest, most efficient and most comprehensive poverty-relief organization in the San Fernando Valley. MEND's mission is to break the bonds of poverty by providing basic human needs and a pathway to self-reliance.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 02 August 2012 05:34