C.H.I.P.S. Annual Spring Luncheon Puts Focus on Philanthropy & South LA

May 10, 2019
Ryan Imondi

The focus of the C.H.I.P.S. annual Spring Fashion Luncheon was the combined impact of philanthropy and community activism in South Los Angeles. Known as the setting for the Golden Globe Awards and frequent celebrity sightings, the Beverly Hilton Hotel instead was abuzz yesterday with celebrations of those who have dedicated their lives to combating gun violence, trauma and poverty.

The C.H.I.P.S. raise funds and awareness for Children’s Institute and its programs that promote resiliency and growth in communities plagued by poverty. The group, founded in 1966, has increasingly featured hard hitting subjects at its elegant events, and attendees leave wanting to do more in their community, according to Bridget Gless Keller, a CII Trustee and longstanding member of C.H.I.P.S.

Luncheon honors CII and community groups

Keller, who presented the C.H.I.P.S. Inspiration award to the Watts Gang Task Force, said the group has continued a positive tradition of selecting honorees who are inspiring, selfless and investing their time and resources in unique ways. By honoring philanthropists Alex Tuttle and Tiffany Tuttle, and the Watts Gang Task Force, Keller said they were putting a spotlight on the challenges poverty creates in South LA while applauding people who are working to support these communities.

“It was a very authentic day,” Keller said. “By celebrating the Watts Gang Task Force here, we are bringing Watts closer to the rest of Los Angeles.”

The Watts Gang Task Force, which was founded in 2005 during a period of intense violence, loss and grief, was honored for helping to broker peace between residents and law enforcement. Their efforts, which continue to this day, resulted in substantial drops in homicide and other violent crimes. In recent years, CII has worked closely with the task force to expand support for mental health and trauma resiliency.

It was a very authentic day. By celebrating the Watts Gang Task Force here, we are bringing Watts closer to the rest of Los Angeles.

Bridget Gless Keller, CII Trustee and longstanding member of C.H.I.P.S.

Joining the task force on stage during the award ceremony was Michelle Chambers, Senior Field Deputy for Assembly Member Mike Gibson, Norchelle Brown, Policy Assistant for Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán, and Ami Field-Meyer, West Area Representative for Mayor Garcetti.

Donny Joubert, who cofounded the task force and grew up in the Nickerson Garden housing development in Watts, said the group was launched after hearing residents say they were scared to leave their houses due to high levels of crime. Over its 14 years of existence, he said there has been a 90% drop in crime around Watts and better dialogue between the city and residents. While he is proud of these accomplishments, he never imagined it would lead to recognition and awards.

“We are really honored to be selected because an award like this means we are making change in the community,” Joubert said.

Community groups and CII honored at luncheon

In addition, Alex and Tiffany Tuttle received the C.H.I.P.S. Philanthropic Service award. The sisters were recognized for their longstanding philanthropic support of CII along with their hands-on involvement with kids and families. The Tuttle sisters have been involved in multiple CII initiatives, including recent support for youth who are ageing out of foster care and need tools and support for a stable and successful transition to adulthood.

Tiffany Tuttle said receiving an award is great, but more importantly it provides a platform to encourage others to come together and support nonprofits like CII.

“This award is really about getting young people involved,” she said. “Alex and I believe in this work wholeheartedly and it was great to see so many different CII programs highlighted.”

Lisa Morgan, President of C.H.I.P.S., said, “It is both humbling and inspiring to see the dedication of our honorees. Each one of them offering the best of themselves with no expectation of anything in return and purely out of love and a desire to help others.”

It is both humbling and inspiring to see the dedication of our honorees. Each one of them offering the best of themselves with no expectation of anything in return and purely out of love and a desire to help others.

Lisa Morgan, President of C.H.I.P.S.

The C.H.I.P.S. have a long history of honoring community-based groups and individuals at their annual luncheon, which past years included police lieutenants, public officials and philanthropists. The group chose to open this year’s luncheon with an introduction from LaRae Cantley, a CII program participant who shared her story about the support she received through CII.

Martine Singer, President & CEO of CII, said the longstanding support from the C.H.I.P.S. has been important to addressing poverty in South LA. The group is currently helping with the Dream Big Graduation at the end of May, an event that celebrates foster youth from across Los Angeles who are graduating high school and attending college in the fall. The C.H.I.P.S. are helping to provide essential items like backpacks to outfit the kids and their dorms for freshman year.

“Groups like the C.H.I.P.S. are about supporting CII and believing in our mission,” Singer said. “It doesn’t matter how different the programs are, they rally behind CII and make a major difference in our work.”