This year marks the 60th year that the Community Foundation of the Verdugos has supported local organizations with grants and scholarships, and on the way to that anniversary, the foundation’s leaders on Wednesday announced that 2015 was its biggest year yet, as more than $1 million in grants and scholarships were issued to local individuals and organizations.

The $1,063,342 in grants or scholarships given to those in the Verdugo region in 2015 topped the $737,010 issued during 2014.

“It’s all of us coming together to make that happen,” said Edna Karinski, the foundation’s chief executive to a room of 40 people, many of them local residents, donors or recipients of the foundation’s grants.

Several representatives from nonprofits in Glendale and Burbank talked of how the foundation’s grants helped them, including Debbie Hinckley, vice president of the board of directors for Ascencia, which serves local homeless individuals and families in Glendale.

Hinckley spoke of how a grant enabled Ascencia to install 42 lockers for its homeless clients after the organization moved into its current building on Tyburn Street in Glendale in 2013.

Without the lockers, the homeless clients would stack their belongings on the floor or their bed while they stayed at the shelter.

“The clients now are able to lock away their valuables. They were able to hang up their interview clothes and it gave them a sense of dignity,” Hinckley said.

Trena Pitchford, executive director of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation, which provides grants to public Burbank schools for arts education programs, recalled through tears that when she was hired several years ago to oversee the organization, she began operating the nonprofit in a bare-bones work space that had plastic tables and borrowed computers and was in need of a grant.

“I was the first full-time employee. I applied for funding for our first computers and a whole [information technology] suite,” she said.

The Community Foundation of the Verdugos also allowed Burbank Arts for All to purchase technology to process donations at its fundraising events.

Among the more than 60 grants awarded in 2015, $6,000 helped the Salvation Army of Glendale purchase a seven-passenger van to take students on field trips, according to the foundation’s annual report.

Another $11,500 went to the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, Inc. for marketing and educational materials alerting Armenian families of low-income households or those who have recently immigrated about mental health services that are available.

Another $50,000 went toward the Verdugo Regional Crime Lab in what was part of a $250,000 fundraising campaign to upgrade the facility with new technology, allowing Glendale and Burbank police and other law enforcement agencies to better solve crimes through DNA analysis.

By Kelly Corrigan

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