SPARC: 50 Local Charities

May 13, 2013
Rendering of Pasadena Pops venue; credit, Grant Poznick for Pasadena Symphony

Rendering of Pasadena Pops venue; credit, Grant Poznick for Pasadena Symphony; LATimesblogs

The formerly known PISF and currently-called SPARC (Student Philanthropists Advancing Real Change) is holding its annual Passport to Charities Event, Saturday, May 18th.

This is a great way to learn about the local charities in the area, find out about their missions, explore “service projects,” and find out whether or not volunteering with them might interest you.

The former Pasadena Independent Schools Foundation is the brainchild of Jonathan Jaffrey. His program offers middle and high school students “the unique opportunity to run a ‘private foundation’ (PISF) that gives money to charities.”

With monies from sponsors such as Nestle, Clifford Swan, and Wells Fargo—as well as from the students’ own fundraising efforts—student participants learn how to read grants, tour organizations, ask questions, present their cases, discuss the merit of a particular organization and their request, then deliberate, vote, and finally disperse up to $106,000 to local charities. Past grant recipients have been Villa Esperanza Services, Pasadena Symphony & Pops, Mothers Club, and Teen Futures.

Photo courtesy of SPARC

Photo courtesy of SPARC

The program culminates with a dinner where the students introduce the charities and hand out the grant monies—having attended one such grant award ceremony, we can attest that the evening is extremely moving, humbling, inspiring, and pride-inducing.

Each year, SPARC sponsors Passport to Charities to introduce participants and their parents to the local charities who will be applying for grants. The public is also welcome to come, learn, and be inspired.

Passport to Charities
Saturday, May 18th, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Maranatha High School, 169 S. St. John Ave., Pasadena 91105
For more info, visit the SPARC website at

Photo courtesy of SPARC

Photo courtesy of SPARC



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