Friends Outside in LA has been serving people with incarcerated family members and the “re-entry population” for over 40 years. Their tiny office space in Pasadena belies their big impact. Over the years, they have served thousands of people with services that range from helping inmates get into substance abuse treatment in lieu of incarceration, to providing an after-school program for children of prisoners, to helping released prisoners get and keep jobs.
Founded by a San Marino resident and wife of a Superior Court Judge, Martha Jane Dowds, the organization now provides services to persons in almost every corner of Los Angeles County. When longtime volunteer and Pasadena resident Tom Rhodes died and left a bequest to Friends Outside in LA, the organization decided to use the gift to sustain its operations and services over the long term. A portion of the bequest was given to the Pasadena Community Foundation to establish the Friends Outside in Los Angeles Endowment Fund.
The organization is the sole beneficiary of the fund, which can opt to receive an annual payout to support operations. According to Mary Weaver, Executive Director of Friends Outside in LA, “Our goal is to grow the endowment and not draw from it at this time. The Pasadena Community Foundation was the perfect partner. They have investment options not open to a smaller non-profit and they provide excellent oversight. We hope Tom’s generosity will inspire others to help us strengthen our financial position for the future particularly now that the community at-large and the criminal justice system appear ready to support ‘smart on crime’ solutions.”