Being the newest of the five cities to establish itself within Taproot’s national framework, Taproot Los Angeles continues to expand and evolve as we gain traction in the community. Now in our third year, there is more of a pressing need to establish our city’s presence than ever before. With our Program team overseeing higher numbers of Service Grant projects through to completion, Los Angeles continues to re-craft and redefine itself as more skilled pro bono consultants join our ranks, donating their time and expertise to nonprofits in the community. In effect, we are witness to a continuous and extraordinary kind of synergy happening between the two.
Taproot LA takes the spotlight
Last month, Taproot Los Angeles witnessed another extraordinary kind of synergy: a six-member pro bono video shoot led by LA filmmaker Jason Wawro. Jason and his crew donated their time, their resources, and their passion for pro bono to assist Taproot LA in creating a video collective for our city.
Also in collaboration at last month’s shoot were nine PBC interviewees, who, after braving the volatile LA traffic, showed up at our Chinatown office to share their excitement and experiences with working alongside LA’s nonprofit grant recipients. As makeup artist Leah worked to flawless execution to prep and powder each video participant, Jason and his crew worked tirelessly into the early evening to light, interview and shoot each PBC, as well as some of the Taproot staff and a nonprofit award recipient–in this instance, Downtown Women’s Center . The entire video project was spearheaded by two of LA’s PBCs, Angela Barfield and Roxanne Hawkins, who we fondly refer to as “Roxangela.” Roxangela worked together on a Service Grant project for Barlow Foundation in the recent past and have since been in pro bono partnership with Taproot LA, sitting down with us each week to help envision where our local PR and marketing efforts could lead us.
The consultants interviewed made up a cross-section of all four of our practice areas: Web/IT, Strategy Management, HR/ Leadership Development and Marketing. PBC design duo Barry Deck and Chi Chi Bello are currently working together on a web project for A Place Called Home and were interviewed together, lending further credence to the tenet of teamwork.
Last month’s shoot was what we anticipate will be the start of many similar collaborations to come and will enable us to visually showcase other final deliverables through the eyes of Service Grant recipients and PBCs, some having completed one or more Service Grant projects, and some in the early stages of their first.
Capturing the spirit of pro bono
The crew remarked that they had never heard as many ‘thank yous’ as they had from Taproot’s staff throughout the day. One of the group, having been on her 16th straight day of work, said, “It’s rare that we ever hear thanks when we’re working. We’re simply expected to just come in and do it right.” The crew exemplified the kind of pro bono spirit we love and admire in each of our consultants. We are grateful to the entire crew who donated their Friday to help us spread the good word. Just imagine what the pro bono landscape could look like in the not too distant future if every skilled and available consultant was engaged in effective pro bono community engagement.
Special thanks to the film crew (Jason Wawro, Derek Edwards, Mike Guspari, Syd Yang, Ben Benesh, and Leah Dempsey) our pro bono consultants (Andrew Ma, David Nordella, Jerry Moore, Chi-Chi Bello, Barry Deck, Teresa Scaletta, Larisa Gurnick, Gena Davis and Raul Barrera), the Downtown Women’s Center, and Executive Service Corps of Southern California for allowing us to use their space to film.
Vanessa Celentano is a Recruitment Associate at the Taproot Foundation.