Arroyo Monthly

Posted on July 1, 2005 by the Webmaster
Community Chest

Two of the San Gabriel Valley's most powerful organizations, the Pasadena Community Foundation
and PARAID, have merged. The result is a robust organization capable of influencing the giving
patterns of an entire community, and beyond.

By operating under the PCF's umbrella, people who would never have been able to run the red tape
gauntlet by themselves are able to establish a “Donor Advised Fund” with a starting endowment of as little as $1,000. Some of these funds are large, like the substantial Crawley Family Foundation, which operated independently for years until the Crawleys realized they'd be able to save time and give even more by working through the PCF. Others are quite small—like the fund established recently by
a 13 year-old boy who wanted his bar mitzvah gifts to go to fund after-school. Here, meet four
members of the PCF's community of Donor Advisors. They're all living proof that in this neighborhood, you're never too young or too old, or too big or too small, to put on a show.

Carolyn Paxton

When Carolyn Paxton's pet finch died, she walked into a pet store to buy another one—and walked out with Elvis, an 8 year-old chihuahua with a magnetic personality and a smattering of health problems. Carolyn was told he needed to wear doggie sweaters to keep him warm, but when she went shopping for him she was put off by the frilly, silly dog clothing on the market. Then CAPTAIN AMERICA came to the rescue.

Carolyn dug her favorite, threadbare t-shirt, emlazoned with a picture of the superhero, out of the rag bin, and got out her sewing machine for the first time since she was a little girl. The chihuahua-sized t-shirt she made was so fetching that people started stopping her on the street to compliment Elvis' outfit, including men. “One guy offered me $50 for the shirt right then and there."

Having retired from her job at AMGEN at the tender age
of 45, Paxton was in the market for a second career. So six months ago, she and her big sister, Diane Kraus, started making and selling micro-sized shirts out of recycled vintage tees under the label “Chi WOW WOW.” Since then, their jazzy, entertaining website has experienced over a million hits, and the sisters are in the process of inking a deal for international representation.

One of Paxton's goals from the outset was to pass a portion of the new company's profits to charity. She researched the possibility of starting a foundation, but was daunted by all the red tape. Her sister found the PCF online, and a match was made. Paxton started a donor advised fund with a $10,000 endowment, and now ten percent of profits from sales at go directly into the fund, to be distributed annually to dog rescue organizations.

“Over the years I've learned to think that there's nothing I can't do,” Paxton said, of the determination that led her to start a charitable fund even before her fledgling company had turned a profit. “You have to at least carry that thought to accomplish anything. And I have to say, it was even easier than I thought."

~ by HILLARY JOHNSON (article editied down by Chi WOW WOW)