Grants Distributed, Prizes Awarded at Smart A Thon Mixer

Mary Pinola started the education fund in the ’90s.

It was a night of grants and prizes at the March 7 mixer of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Held at Bob Smith Toyota in celebration of (and preparation for) the annual Smart A Thon, held in the council rooms at USC-VHH on March 27 by the Mary Pinola/Crescenta Valley Chamber Education Fund, the mixer included the distribution of thousands of dollars in grants to local organizations. These included Friends of Crescenta Valley High School Falkon Robotics, Verdugo Hills YMCA, Parent Support Group – Crescenta Valley Instrumental Music Foundation, Foundation for Living Beauty, La Crescenta Woman’s Club and La Cañada High School Music Parent Association.

Teri Rice presents a check to Adam Klein, executive director, La Cañada High School Music Parent Association.
Rick Dinger presents funds to members of Falkon Robotics.
Jo Loomis, left, Foundation of Living Beauty recipients Nancy Davidson, and Mariella Diab D’Avirro.
Leila Bell, left, with Melissa Stephen of Crescenta Valley Instrumental Music Foundation.
Heather Abrams, president and director of Friends of Crescenta Valley High School Falkon Robotics
Fund board member Patty Steur presents a check to Danette Erickson and Pam Mosher of the La Crescenta Woman’s Club.
Chris Waldheim, left, Mary Pinola and YMCA recipents Joanne Pingry and Annie Azizian.

The March 27 Smart A Thon, a trivia-type event, features an estimated 130 community leaders competing for bragging rights. Also included are lunch, special presentations and musical entertainment. A highlight of the Smart A Thon is the awarding of $500 to two lucky non-profit organizations.

The Fund began in the ’90s with $1,200 and now, due to its fundraising efforts, has a principal of $550,000. Since its inception, it has given out $400,000 in grants to education programs in the Crescenta-Cañada Valley. This Education Fund is administered by the Community Foundation of the Verdugos, Edna Karinski, chief executive officer.

There is still room for more teams. To sign up or for more information, call Mary Pinola at (818) 292-7912, Chris Waldheim at (818) 247-8778 or Edna Karinski, Community Foundation of the Verdugos, (818) 241-8040.

Tony di Giovanni kept guests entertained at the mixer.
Rick Dinger won a print donated by the La Crescenta Woman’s Club.
Ready with opportunity drawing tickets was Robert Manciero, vice president of the CV Chamber.
Plenty of donated prizes were given out at the mixer.
From left, Chris Waldheim, Bryan Ghoslin, four members of Falkon robotics, Mary Pinola and in the middle Heather Abrams.
From left Jo Loomis, Patty and Pete Steur
A spread of delicious food was provided by Bob Smith Toyota, decorations by Eleanor Wacker.