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Beyond business loans: CDC Small Business Finance continues investment in communities by supporting P.S. I Love You Foundation

August 23, 2018 | Company News
Beyond business loans: CDC Small Business Finance continues investment in communities by supporting P.S. I Love You Foundation, CDC Small Business

“This is the best day of my life,” a young, red-shirted child shouted from the Strand in Manhattan Beach on a recent Saturday.

Kids in general may be prone to embellishing the truth – but that wasn’t the case at all here. That euphoric line captures well the overall vibe from 300 at-risk children who fanned across the popular South Bay spot this summer for a well-deserved break to laugh, let loose and connect with mentors.

The annual “Day at the Beach” event was organized by the Redondo Beach-based nonprofit P.S. I Love You Foundation.

It’s a volunteer-driven group focused on nurturing at-risk youth through social and emotional learning programs, enrichment programs, and community outreach events such as this one.

For many of these youths — who came from shelters, foster-care programs and low-income schools from across Los Angeles County — they had never been to a beach before let alone take surf lessons or try boogie boarding.

And for the vast majority of attendees, they had never connected with an adult on a one-to-one mentoring level; each was matched with an adult bringing the crowd total to more than 600.

Spotlighting meaningful community impact

At CDC Small Business Finance, we believe in the all-embracing impact of collaboration not only within our own nonprofit organization but also with those who share a mutual goal of helping underserved communities reach success. We routinely highlight the awe-inspiring work being accomplished in the communities we serve.

Today, we’re spotlighting the P.S. I Love You Foundation.

Armen Madatyan, a senior SBA 504 commercial lender and member of CDC’s experienced TeamLA, knows first-hand the impact P.S. I Love You has had on the Los Angeles County region. Madatyan has been a long-time volunteer of “Day at the Beach” and encouraged CDC — a leading small business lender — to participate as a title sponsor of the event over the last six years.

“CDC is a non-profit as well and we’re very active in investing in our communities, so whenever  I have found or been part of a worthwhile cause, I have supported and encouraged our involvement,” Madatyan said.

“P.S. I Love you provides kids tools and early childhood education outside of what school provides so that they can become productive members of society,” he added.

How did P.S. I Love You Start?

The idea for P.S. I Love You is rooted in Patricia Jones’ personal connection to an elderly woman in need combined with a personal family tradition that has stuck with Jones since childhood.

About 20 years ago, Jones befriended Millie, who worked at a hospital where Jones sold medical instruments. Over time, as Jones transitioned from sales to entrepreneurship, she lost touch of Millie.

CDC Small Business Finance and TeamLA are dedicated to the betterment of the Greater Los Angeles region. As a mission-based lender and nonprofit, our focus goes beyond merely issuing loans to small businesses. Part of our role in the communities in which we serve centers on on adding vitality to these areas by sponsoring worthwhile causes such as P.S. I Love You.

After some digging, Jones came to learn Millie had to quit her hospital job to help care for five great-grandchildren ages 2 to 12 after Millie’s daughter and granddaughter landed in jail together.

“If she didn’t quit work (the kids) would’ve been in foster care,” Jones said.

Seeing a friend in need, Jones contributed financially to Millie and her family, paying for rent and other day-to-day needs. She’d also occasionally take care of the children to allow Millie some much-needed downtime.

Recognizing the enormous impact this personal gesture made on one family’s life, Jones decided to give back in a bigger way.

The term “P.S. I Love You” quickly came to mind. Jones’ mom, whom she described as a giving person, would write that post script on each of her lunch bags. The message reminded her she was loved and to be grateful. Jones wanted that message to carry through to those who were less fortunate.

Over the last two decades, Jones has built up the P.S. I Love You Foundation with the help of volunteers, generous corporate sponsors, other donors, and Gretchen Downey, who joined Jones’ nonprofit 12 years ago and now serves as executive director.

What’s P.S. I Love You’s ‘Day at the Beach’?

Beyond business loans: CDC Small Business Finance continues investment in communities by supporting P.S. I Love You Foundation, CDC Small Business

P.S. I Love You Foundation’s 2018 Day at the Beach. Image courtesy of Kim D West Photography.

Over the last 18 summers, P.S. I Love You has put on its annual marquee event and fundraiser, “Day at the Beach.”

The all-day, sun-soaked event was designed to bring together community members — from elected officials to business leaders — to mentor and give back to at-risk youth living in nearby communities such as Compton, Watts and Long Beach. Kids who participate enjoy a day of water sports, from surfing to boogie boarding; face painting; makeup lessons; and relay races, among other activities.

“Day at the Beach” also carves out room for the youths to spend quality, one-on-one time with a nurturing mentor — something many of them have never experienced before.

“A lot of the kids don’t have the opportunity to do something like that, to feel totally safe, and meet a new person and walk away with a new friend and mentor,” Downey said.

Among this year’s “Day at the Beach” attendees: Manhattan Beach Mayor Amy Howorth, Lawndale City Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles, and Mark Lipps, who heads the downtown Manhattan Beach Business and Professional Organization, among many others.

Funding P.S. I Love You’s school-year programming

The event also serves as the nonprofit’s main fundraising effort. All of the money raised goes toward P.S. I Love You’s school-year programming.

P.S. I Love You runs two major programs offered at certain schools in Los Angeles county. They are:

Love4Life: A 12-week social and emotional learning program for middle school students. Dedicated instructors lead weekly lessons directly in the classroom and use unique curriculum and lesson materials to teach easy-to-use strategies through interactive activities that help students develop skills including self awareness and relationship skills.

Yoga123: Another 12-week program focused on health and wellness helping at-risk children through the practice of yoga, breathing techniques and physical exercise. It is taught during class or as an after-school program.

P.S. I Love You Grows With Community Support

Beyond business loans: CDC Small Business Finance continues investment in communities by supporting P.S. I Love You Foundation, CDC Small Business

Patricia Jones, founder of P.S. I Love You Foundation, with Armen Madatyan, of CDC Small Business Finance.

Part of P.S. I Love You’s success over the years has been its expanding army of business leaders who serve as its ambassadors.

Mark Wilhelm, a senior vice president and senior commercial lender at Wells Fargo Bank, was most drawn to the organization’s focus on lifting up the spirits of at-risk youths. He has been involved as a P.S. I Love You board member and sponsor for roughly eight years.

“These children have very little,” said Wilhelm, now serving as P.S. I Love You’s board president. “For many of them, “Day at the Beach” is truly the best day of the year for them.”

“It’s a great day of positive energy, a different place in the world that’s safe and happy,” he added.  

Wilhelm who has worked with CDC’s Madatyan on a professional level encouraged Madatyan to become involved with “Day at the Beach” as a volunteer and sponsor. Moving forward, one of the organization’s main goals is to gather more support from business people in the surrounding communities.

“We’re now at a tipping point where we need to reach out to communities with like-minded business people like Mark and Armen,” Downey said.

How You Can Help P.S. I Love You

Are you interested in joining P.S. I Love You’s mission? There are several ways to do so:

  • Donate or become a sponsor: The funding goes straight to their school-year programming and enrichment events.
  • Volunteer in the classroom: Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity you and your co-workers can do together? You can help teach one of the 12-week classes. Training and template manuals are provided.
  • Sign up for the next “Day at the Beach”: “Adopt a child for one day” and show them you care with one-on-one mentoring and a fun day out.
  • Want to contact P.S. I Love You to learn more? Email: team@psilovefoundation.org

Madatyan, of CDC, has seen first-hand how diligent the P.S. I Love You’s team works to bring quality programming and school-year activities to students throughout Los Angeles County and encourages anyone who can help to support them through a donation or volunteer time.

“This is a nonprofit where everyone volunteers,” Madatyan said. “They don’t have formal funding or a professional staff, so let’s get together to support their growth and efforts to recruit more business-minded individuals who can volunteer their time.”

Meet CDC Small Business Finance’s TeamLA: Armen Madatyan, Dean Aloe and Zena Gardner comprise TeamLA, CDC’s experienced commercial lending power trio. They are the go-to experts for SBA 504 commercial real estate loans in the Los Angeles County region. Together, they offer more than two decades of SBA lending experience, representing $2.8 billion in financed SBA real estate deals.

More on CDC Small Business Finance: As a non-profit organization, CDC Small Business Finance’s mission is to support those who face the greatest obstacles in securing capital: women, minority and military veterans. Are you trying to launch or grow your business in California, Arizona or Nevada? Our loan experts can match you with a financing plan that best suits you. Let’s talk! Get in touch with us at loaninfo@cdcloans.com or (619) 243-8667.

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