By Jo-Ann Cubello Contributing Reporter The Business Journal asked the heads of five local nonprofit organizations to answer two questions about their plans for the year, and how the business community can be of assistance (beyond monetary contributions). Here are their responses. Paula Wilson President and CEO Valley Community Clinic in North Hollywood Growth and access are priorities for the Valley Community Clinic in 2009. We are in the precarious position between realizing a long-awaited vision of opening our new Adolescent Medicine Center and yet anticipating cuts in our core programs (i.e. dental, Medi-Cal, and mental health services). We recently completed the buildout of 4,000 square feet of additional clinic space, adding six new exam rooms, a lab, and counseling and education rooms with a potential to provide primary and mental health care to 1,500 additional adolescents and teens. Our challenge is to fund new staff and operational costs for this innovative program while maintaining stability within our existing programs during these turbulent economic times. Without healthcare people cannot work, and if the business community supports their local health center it keeps the workforce strong, maintains productivity, and ultimately is a cost savings in the long run. The Clinic takes prides with their private fundraising success and not just on government resources; which oftentimes come with narrow parameters. That is why we rely on individuals, foundations and corporate support with their annual events, sponsorships, donated medical supplies and medical volunteers that offset the Clinic’s bottom line and allow us to react to the community’s needs and not only the dictates of public support. Ken Craft Director San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission in North Hollywood Our top priority is to increase physical space by procuring a new facility and increase services to the poor and homeless. Currently, for every one family we take into our Emergency Family Shelter, we turn away 30 families because we are at capacity. Our goal is to find a structure, zoned CM or C-2 and build a facility which will include a large industrial kitchen, dining area, showers, bathrooms, meeting rooms, computer learning center and sleeping quarters to accommodate up to 250 people per night. We need the business community to work with the Mission and our homeless moms and dads by offering a hand up, not a hand out, thru gainful employment. When a family leaves to start life again in an apartment, they can sponsor and assist them to get established in their new place. Conducting food and clothing drives will assist the Mission with the needs of the homeless. Companies can encourage their employees to get involved in the community and allow our staff an opportunity to share the vision and work of the Mission. This might inspire corporate America to be actively involved in helping the poor, hungry, homeless and less fortunate.” David Tillman, M.D. President and CEO Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills Since we announced the closing of our acute care hospital and long-term care unit, this represents a realignment of priorities to best serve our community now and in the future. My top priorities for this year are to implement these changes in the most sympathetic and humane way possible for all of our patients and employees who are affected. We are looking to work with the San Fernando Valley healthcare community to help provide our affected employees with new employment opportunities. We want to work with the long-term care facilities in the San Fernando Valley to help us with our need to relocate some of our patients. In addition, working with our core entertainment business partners in the community the industry unions, studios and supporting businesses is critical. We need their help to remind everyone in the industry that only a small part of Motion Picture & Television Fund is closing and that we will still be serving tens of thousands of people in a myriad of other ways. Marianne Haver Hill President and CEO Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) in Pacoima Our challenges include serving more low-income clients than ever before, especially with emergency food, clothing, and healthcare. We are being very proactive in terms of fundraising and working on a number of strategies to increase the numbers of individual donors who will support MEND. We are contacting new foundations and businesses about potential grants. We also plan on recruiting more volunteers to participate in service delivery. The business community can help our clients with food drives and the apparel industry by making donations (and by) promoting individual volunteering among their employees and encouraging them to get active on a regular basis in local charities such as MEND, and arranging for employees to come to MEND or other agencies for one-time projects. Sara J. Berdine Executive Director Haven Hills, Inc. in Canoga Park Haven Hills top priority is to continue to provide life-saving services and support to victims of domestic violence at our current levels despite severe cutbacks from government grants and a decrease in donations across all funding sources. We plan to continue to conserve resources and reduce costs wherever possible. We will reach to the local community and our current donors as well as seek out new funding opportunities from corporations, organizations and government sources to meet our economic challenges. The business community can assist Haven Hills by partnering with us to educate their managers and employees about the dynamics of domestic violence and the impact on workplace productivity if an employee is experiencing domestic abuse at home. This could reduce their costs associated with the impacts of domestic violence and provide resources for any victims within the workplace. Businesses can also give their employees an opportunity to collect ongoing needed items for Haven Hills such as non-perishable foods, necessary household items and program needs and supplies.