This column features philanthropic activities by Valley-area businesses. The San Fernando chapter of the Kiwanis Club pledged $25,000 to help fund the first Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit to serve the northern San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley. The NICU will be housed at the new four-story patient care wing of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, part of the $181 million hospital expansion, which will resume construction in May. “The Kiwanis Club feels this is going to help our neighborhood, this is our facility and we want to support it in any way we can,” said San Fernando Kiwanis Club president Tom Ross. The club’s pledge of $25,000 will be spread out over five years. Ross said club members and their families have visited the hospital for different reasons over time and view the hospital as part of their community, so there was an interest among the members to look for ways to support the hospital’s plans to grow and expand. The new construction and the addition of the NICU, “is not only necessary but vital,” he said, to alleviate overcrowded emergency room conditions, and allow critical medical services to newborn babies. Expansion of the hospital was a contentious issue for the past two years, with community advocates requesting that the hospital complete an environmental impact report. Construction was halted in 2008 when a judge ruled the city council could require such a report. However, on March 6, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to allow the hospital to complete construction. In Lancaster The Boeing Employee Community Fund donated $10,000 to support free mobile health services at Antelope Valley Community Clinic and their efforts to help the 30,000 uninsured children and adults in the Antelope Valley. The money will help fund the Care-A-Van mobile health clinic, which visits 16 sites every month and offers physical exams and other health services free of charge. Care-A-Van requires $600,000 annually, and funding for it comes mostly from grants. “Donations from community organizations like Boeing are critical to the survival of our organization,” said James Cook, CEO of the Antelope Valley Community Clinic. The Boeing Employee Community Fund regularly collects money for donations directly from the paychecks of participating employees and donates it to different causes. Speaking on behalf of the Boeing Employee Community Fund, John Kelly told the Antelope Valley Press: “We the Boeing employees are happy to support a cause like this and promote health for the community.” The Boeing Employee Community Fund (ECF) also contributed $6,000 to the Exotic Animal/Rain Forest display in the California Poppy Festival in Lancaster. The display will include live animals and six daily educational shows. “This is our way of giving back to the community. Everyone loves the California Poppy Festival,” said Shelley Jacobson on behalf of the Boeing Employees Community Fund. The City of Lancaster also distributed 1,500 tickets for free admission to the California Poppy Festival to elementary schools throughout the Antelope Valley. Award The Boys and Girls Club of the West Valley will present Board Chairman Gary Thomas with the National Service to Youth Award at the organization’s 5th Annual “Club de Cuba” gala event at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel, May 8. Thomas is on his second term as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club. He has helped the Club grow from a small staff and a budget of less than $400,000, to a large organization with a $3.1 million budget. Under his leadership, the Board of Directors grew from six to 21 community leaders, purchased a building in Canoga Park, and expanded its programs to four off-site locations. Thomas also brought on board the organization’s first full-time president and chief executive officer. Thomas is also the co-founder of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. founder and chair of the Valley Business Corps. He’s been Chairman of the United Chambers of Commerce and the Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce.