Assistance League Coachella Valley continues to expand how it provides essential needs to Coachella Valley Individuals in need and their families. The all-volunteer nonprofit organization has been steadfast in eliminating barriers for at-risk or disadvantaged individuals and is raising awareness around several standout programs as it heads toward its 100th anniversary in 2026.
“We want to continue to grow and serve even more people,” says President Karen Goodyear. “The way to do that is through donations. Our three major sources of funding are grants, our resale boutique in Palm Desert in which all proceeds go right back into the community, and our big annual fundraiser.”
That event, dubbed “Razzle Dazzle” takes place in early March 2024. KESQ’s meteorologist Patrick Evans will emcee the soiree, which generally draws 250 in attendance. A live and silent auction, and a raffle, filter into the mix. It’s just one of many things the organization does to help transform the lives of children and adults in the area.
“Assistance League has been a well-kept secret for a long time, and we have made a concerted effort this year to change that,” Goodyear says, noting new marketing efforts and participation in various chambers of commerce meetings. “We’re trying to become visible so people understand who we are, what we are, and how they might be able to help us continue our good work out here.”
Recently, Assistance League Coachella Valley received a grant from the Inland Empire Community Foundation. Goodyear said all donations and resources are vital to the organization, and that the recent grant will help fund the organization’s five signature programs.
One of them is Operation School Bell, which provides new clothing and hygiene kits for approximately 5,000 low-income children in the 46 schools in Coachella Valley. “We work with all three school districts,” Goodyear says, quickly noting another education-related program known as the Frank Moss Scholarship for the Performing Arts for which students from 9th through 11th grades can qualify for scholarships to pursue their interests in the performing arts.
Then there’s We Care: Focus On Military Families, which has generated interest. “It’s a way to honor the military and their families,” Goodyear explains. “We host a baby shower for the 29 Palms Marine wives and active-duty members having a baby. We send them home with a layout worth about $500.”
There is also a senior services program, which finds organization volunteers visiting four Valley nursing facilities and providing entertainment, holiday gifts, footwear, blankets, and more. “We want to let seniors know that there are people out there thinking of them,” Goodyear says. “These are the very underserved seniors here in the Valley, so we try to do everything we can to make their lives more comfortable.”
A new program that emerged within Assistance League Coachella Valley is a collaboration with Partners Against Violence to provide assault survivor kits for individuals in need.
“We visit hospitals when somebody is assaulted,” Goodyear notes. “Oftentimes their clothes are confiscated for forensics evidence, and they if they don’t have anything, or only given a hospital gown to wear home. It’s a horrible situation to have to walk out with that indignity. So, the grants and the monies we receive through donations truly fund these unique programs.”
Goodyear has been involved with the organization for some time, taking on the role of president of the nonprofit three years ago. When asked what she appreciates most about the work she’s involved in, Goodyear is candid.
“It’s very fulfilling to help other people,” she says. “There is a need out here. There’s a big difference between the haves and the have-nots. It feels good to be able to provide a child a bag full of clothing they can wear to school, and we get back letters saying, ‘Oh this is the first time I can use my toothbrush,’ or ‘Now I don’t have to wear my brother’s shoes.’
“It’s just very heartwarming to know you’ve positively touched people’s lives,” she adds. “We want to continue to do that as long as we possibly can. We are an all-volunteer organization. We have no paid staff. We donated more than 20,000 hours to the community last year and served more than 8,000 people last year. And we will keep going.”
Learn more about Assistance League Coachella Valley at assistanceleague.org.
This story originally appeared in the Desert Sun, November 2023.
Learn more about the good work we’re doing at IECF through the power of philanthropy. Subscribe to our free monthly eNewsletter, Philanthropy Matters.