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Verdugo Views: Community Foundation formed during city's 50th anniversary

March 18, 2011
  • the Glendale Chamber of Commerce float at the Golden Jubilee Parade on Brand Boulevard, October 13, 1956. (Photo courtesy Glendale Public Library Special Collections)
the Glendale Chamber of Commerce float at the Golden Jubilee…

The year was 1956 and Glendale was in the midst of celebrating 50 years of cityhood with a special parade and other events when Irene Patterson and attorney Alice Moore invited civic leaders, business and professional men and women and philanthropists to a gathering at Patterson’s home.

Their goal was to form a community fund for the rapidly growing city, a fund structured so that anyone could donate any amount—small or large.

Now, 55 years after its founding, the Glendale Community Foundation has rebranded itself as the Community Foundation of the Verdugos and is a significant source of assistance to our schools and other nonprofits.

Much of the credit goes to the two women who were inspired by the events surrounding the city’s 50th celebration.

“The two guiding lights were tireless in their efforts in launching the foundation,” wrote Betty Preston Oiler in the Glendale News-Press, Nov. 7, 1996.

Interestingly, the first contribution, $3,000, came from Patterson’s neighbor, John Bruecker, who was new to the city. He had done well with his design of an electric razor and chose to retire in Glendale. (See Verdugo Views, Aug. 15, 2008 for more on Bruecker.) He was a very generous philanthropist to his adopted city.


A board of 15 trustees directed the new fund; and since early donations were small, expenses were kept to a minimum. The first executive director, Don York, served without pay for some time. Trustees publicized the fund at service clubs, community organizations and social events.

News-Press photographer Sal Felix volunteered to design the logo — two rows of tall palm trees stretching out toward the Verdugo Mountains in the background — which identified the foundation for many years.

The foundation’s growth was slow at first. It was 10 years before another sizeable gift, $10,000, was made. But in between, many smaller gifts were received.

Another significant donation came from Pearl Gray, who had no heirs. Hearing of the foundation through her attorney, Alice Moore, she willed her home to the foundation and the resulting funds formed the Pearl Gray Fund from which loans are made — without interest — to local college students. As those loans are repaid, they are reinvested to earn funds for future students.

All the gifts were invested very conservatively, according to a 1990-91 newsletter issued by the late Tom Miller, who was the executive director for many years.

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