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Local Businessmen Start Fund to Help Hard-Hit Nonprofits

Published on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 | 4:53 am

If times were normal, this would be the start of the fundraising season, with many local nonprofits holding spring benefit events or gearing up money drives to help finance another year’s worth of good work.

But the coronavirus crisis has largely shut down those financial lifelines — leaving nonprofits and other service providers particularly strained at a time when their work is especially needed for vulnerable populations.

Pete Kutzer and Patrick Chraghchian hope to change that.

Kutzer, managing partner of the South Pasadena-based Edgewood Realty Partners, and Chraghchian, president of the Pasadena architectural and construction firm Adept, have started a fund to help a dozen local nonprofits and other organizations that Kutzer called “kind of the backbone of social services in Pasadena.”

Those organizations include, among others: Huntington Hospital; Union Station Homeless Services; Pasadena’s Fire Department and Police Foundation; the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena; Friends in Deed, which helps homeless and other at-risk people; and Young & Healthy, which connects underserved kids with medical, dental and mental health care.

“There’s obviously a profound and immediate need for it,’’ Kutzer said.

In fact, Kutzer and Chraghchian have seeded the fund with $50,000 of their own money, spread out among 12 local organizations – and now the two men are reaching out to other businesses to chip in as well … while still recognizing this is a tough time for many businesses to get charitable.

“Of course, a lot of businesses can’t afford to do it right now, but for the folks who can, we want to do that,’’ Kutzer said.

Kutzer and Chraghchian have connected with the Pasadena Community Foundation to coordinate their fundraising campaign. PCF is a 67-year-old Pasadena philanthropic organization that manages and invests charitable assets – and has an unmatched knowledge of the local non-profit landscape and where needs are most acute.

“They really know which areas of town are in need and who’s getting assistance where,’’ Kutzer said.

In a letter announcing the creation of their fund, Kutzer and Chraghchian wrote, “This is a period of profound challenge for the greater Pasadena area.

“COVID-19 has infected many people in our community, and our medical professionals, first-responders, and social service agencies are already feeling great strain. Many people are volunteering to help, both with funding and time to support those impacted by this pandemic.

“The business community is also mobilizing to help. We and our companies will be working with area business leaders, and local Chambers of Commerce, to encourage a strong response to this crisis. We also want to help bolster the non-profit organizations that keep our community healthy and vibrant.’’

The letter went on to say: “Many of them have had their normal fundraising efforts stymied by this crisis, which in turn threatens the support they can provide their constituents.

“For those who have not already done so, we encourage all our business colleagues to join in. The Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) is an anchor of support to local organizations, and is helping coordinate this response.’’

The letter suggests that, for more information, potential donors visit the PCF’s website at, reach out directly to one of the organizations to which the pair has already contributed (see below) “or to one of the many other organizations which are active in this effort.”

“We are all in this together,’’ the letter concludes.

The complete list of organizations to which Kutzer and Chraghchian contributed is:

* Union Station Homeless Services (

* Huntington Hospital (

* Huntington Medical Research Institutes (

* The Pasadena Fire Department (

* The Pasadena Police Foundation (

* The Pasadena Educational Foundation (

* The SoCal Women’s Conference (

* The Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena (

* Friends in Deed (

* Young & Healthy (

* The Armory Center for the Arts (

* Muse/Ique (

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