The Giving Spirit provides aid to these vulnerable and fragile lives by assembling and personally distributing survival kits to the children, women and families living on the streets of Los Angeles. These kits contain over 70 individual items providing sustenance to the homeless in their time of need. Our efforts have personally and positively impacted the lives of our volunteers and our homeless friends from Skid Row to Santa Monica.
“There is so much in this bag,” a recipient at the Downtown Women’s Center told our volunteers. “Everything on my list that I prayed for is in here! How did you know exactly what we need?”
Volunteer. Give. Learn.
The Giving Spirit – Why We Do It
Thanks to your kind support, our outreach ability to the homeless of Los Angeles continues to grow. We invite you to explore our website, to learn about what we do and the lives we touch, to educate yourself about homelessness, and to get involved – whether by donation or by hands-on participation or both. Without your desire to help those less fortunate than yourself, many lives – from the homeless to the volunteers – would not have been touched by this act of grace.
From our founder, Tom Bagamane
For those who have been with us since our inception in 1999, and for all our new-found friends and family who have become involved with our work, we are privileged to continue The Giving Spirit’s efforts with great hope and promise.
As we continue in our eighteenth year of providing aid to Los Angeles’ homeless community, we find new challenges to our mission. More people need our help due to unfortunate circumstances caused by the still recovering economy. Recently, I spent a day with a friend personally reaching out to the homeless, spending time with them, listening to their stories and hearing about their needs and the challenges they face as they struggle to live their life on the street.
To our dismay, we continued to find more folks that were just recently displaced – with nowhere to turn. We also found more women and children than in years past. Many are eager to return to the workforce but can’t find work. Others simply have been turned away by an overloaded “system” woefully inadequate to handle those society tends to forget when things get tough. The street is their home, and for many, this is where they will spend the rest of their lives.
The street is a far cry from where most of us live our lives. For that we are all truly blessed. Thus, the reason we created The Giving Spirit.
Our format is simple. Your contributions allow us to purchase goods in bulk from discount stores, collect donated items from generous distributors and manufacturers, assemble and fill the bags with the help of volunteers and then distribute the bags directly to our homeless friends throughout this sprawling city.
This is what makes our mission so special. We bring the aid to the homeless, preventing them from traveling long distances with all their worldly goods (or leaving them unguarded). Our small group of volunteers have, thanks to the amazing generosity of you and your peers, personally served more than 43,000 souls in Greater LA. You have helped us provide food, blankets, clothing, toiletries, water – and hope – at the time and place when they feel the most alone.
Routinely our volunteers are told, “Before you came, I had no idea where my next meal was coming from,” or “Thanks for remembering us. Do you know what it’s like to be forgotten?” I don’t, and I hope you and I and those we love never will…
Whether you choose to participate in our work or not, we thank you for your large hearts, your acute social conscience and your endearing friendship and loyalty.
Godspeed and peace to you and your families.
Founder and Chairman
The Giving Spirit
Over 95% of every donation directly supports our homeless outreach effort, giving our charitable organization one of the lowest overheads. We keep administrative expenses low by seeking the participation of the corporate community in donations of goods and services, while also continually expanding our volunteer and donor base. The graphs below illustrate the results of our efforts!
Founded in 1999, and granted 501(c)3 status in 2001, The Giving Spirit continues to grow, thanks to our grassroots base and the goodwill of our friends and family. The graphs above chart our growth and the success of our outreach efforts over the years.
Legal & Tax Documents
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Tom Bagamane, Chairman and Found: [email protected]
Tom founded The Giving Spirit in 1999 and has led TGS as Chairman during its 18 years of continued growth and service to the homeless in Greater Los Angeles. Tom has over 25 years experience as an entrepreneur and senior management in the consumer products/retail field, including areas of strategy, operations, global business development, traditional and digital marketing, product branding and manufacturing. He has also operated venture capital, private-equity and owner-financed product companies and has launched and successfully sold two start-up consumer product companies. Tom currently is Managing Director of Profitable Good Group, a consulting firm for businesses interested in growing their bottom line through social impact programs
Tom’s business, leadership and organizational skills along with his passion for helping those in need have resulted in the assembly and giving out of over 40,000 survival kits to homeless families, men, women, children and youth in Greater Los Angeles since 1999 and the involvement of over 12,000 volunteers. Through Tom’s leadership, TGS has raised over $2.6 million in funds and in-kind donations for it survival kits. Tom received his MBA from George Mason University’s School of Business and his BA in Communications/Political Science from Virginia Tech University. Tom has received recognition from both of his alma maters for his humanitarian work through TGS, in 2005 from Virginia Tech, and in 2016 from George Mason University.
Tim Ingram, Director, Treasurer and Operations Director: [email protected]
Tim is an attorney in Los Angeles. After serving on TGS’ Board for 10 years, Tim currently serves as Secretary and Operations Director. Tim uses his legal experience to guide TGS’s compliance with local, state and federal regulatory requirements. As Operations Director, he oversees the day-to-day management needs of TGS as well as providing reports and strategic advice to the Chairman and the Board. Tim also serves on TGS’ Development Committee as part of TGS’ grant writing program. Tim received a BA in Economics from Washington and Lee University and a J.D., from George Mason University School of Law.
Dawn Ferry, Director and Secretary: [email protected]
Dawn has over 20 years in the world of education, entertainment and philanthropy. Early in her career, Dawn was an adjunct professor at UNC School of the Arts and guest lecturer at Columbia University in Chicago. Dawn moved to California when she was awarded a full scholarship to USC where she taught undergraduate classes and earned her MFA. Dawn has also worked in all areas of feature film, first as a Decorator and she works now as a Production Designer for television, live events, music videos, commercials and documentaries. Dawn has long been committed to making a difference in the world. Involved since her teens in animal rights and rescue, Dawn currently volunteers with Sanctuary, Animal Assisted Therapy. The Sanctuary rescues animals from abuse and neglect, rehabilitates them, and helps them heal people in return, including adults and children with disabilities and those with a history of trauma or abuse. In 1999 Dawn became a Practitioner at Agape Spiritual Center. As part of her coursework for this, she volunteered with Hand2Hand, a program providing meals in Santa Monica, which introduced her to the Homeless Community and their needs. Dawn was the spokesperson for H2H and other Westside Feeding Programs with the City of Santa Monica and currently volunteers as the Services Coordinator. Dawn discovered The Giving Spirit while working with the organization to distribute kits to H2H. She was so impressed she began volunteering for its twice-annual survival kit assembly and distribution events in 2010 and has been a part of The Giving Spirit since. Dawn’s third philanthropic commitment is education and she is particularly interested in expanding Educational Programs at The Giving Spirit.
Clarence Johnson Chair Events: [email protected]
Clarence is a Principal Engineer at Raytheon in El Segundo, CA, with experience developing solutions for complex problems. He holds Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University. Clarence uses his engineering and problem solving skills to design, organize and manage TGS’ assembly process during each event. This includes marshaling and training both experienced and new volunteers into an efficient assembly and distribution process.
Laura Bales, Chair of Procurement: [email protected]
Laura is an Off-Premise Support Manager at California Pizza Kitchen, providing procurement and logistical support for the company. She grew up in the Chicago suburbs and has her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Illinois Wesleyan University. As a volunteer for TGS for the past three years, she now leads all procurement efforts for the organization, including managing vendor relationships and in-kind donations.
Bree McCool, Director of Social Media: [email protected]
Bree McCool grew up on the California Central Coast in Morro Bay, CA before making Los Angeles her current home. She has been the Director of Social Media for TGS since 2015. Bree began by assisting the Marketing and Communications team with design and branding, then moving into a role facilitating information, news and announcements throughout our Social Media channels. As a budding producer in the commercial production industry, she balances the numbers life with a passion and skill for Still Photography in live event, portrait and editorial. As a resident for 10+ years, she calls LA home but enjoys traveling as much as possible. She hopes providing acute emergent aid to the homeless in Greater Los Angeles will be a thing of the past through the education and reduction of stigmas surrounding our neighbors in need.
Mike Salmen, Webmaster: [email protected]
Mike is a broadcast television, OTT, video, digital media and IT professional, and winner of over 40 awards for broadcast journalism, communications and public service. Nominated for an Emmy. He created and produced the first all computer generated Public Service Announcement aired in the US. At age 20, while attending the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Mike "fell into" his first television job - and never looked back.
Today, Mike strives to make a difference through his social service projects and philanthropic activities. He and his wife Mickie live in San Diego, and are always looking forward to their next road trip with their vintage 1963 travel trailer.
Volunteer. Give. Learn.
The Giving Spirit
11693 San Vicente Blvd. #113
Los Angeles, CA 90049