crescenta valley chamber of commerce:

“I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

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This past Wednesday, we had the smartest colleagues in the area all gathered for the 20th annual Smart-a-thon, graciously held by the Verdugo Hills Hospital. Mary Pinola spent countless hours for the 20th year in a row assembling the “Smartest” people for an afternoon of laughter, good friends, and good cheer. Even though the IQ level in the room was exceedingly high, everyone in the room knew the smartest thing they were doing was donating to a great cause.

Thousands of dollars this Wednesday were donated by these smart people to directly benefit the The Mary Pinola/Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce Educational Endowment Fund. This fund was established as a tribute to the 1988-90 Crescenta Valley Chamber Honorary Mayor, Mary Pinola, who worked with many other dedicated community leaders to support educational programs for Crescenta Valley residents. This was her vision. This vision is a reality.

Established in June of 1990, the fund provides yearly distributions of monies to one or more Crescenta Valley educational programs. The Smart-a-Thon, where the majority of the money is raised, has come a long way since its beginning. That initial fundraiser brought in $400 to a fund that is now over $150,000. This year, a record 14 organizations received grants at the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce Installation Luncheon due primarily to this fundraiser. Non-profit groups receiving funds from the Pinola/CV Chamber Educational Endowment Fund over the years have included Children with Cancer, Children without Health Insurance, Music Programs, CCYMCA, Crescenta Valley Sheriff's educational programs, Verdugo Hills Hospital educational programs, Barkley Foundation, Crescenta Valley Library, and many other local school programs.

This years Smart-a-Thon was emceed by Mike Smith, Rick Dinger and Leslie Lesh. As the teams of four were handed multiple choice question sheets, the teams put their brains together to come up with the answers. This year the team from the Glendale Educational Foundation emerged victoriously. However all 130 people in the room emerged victoriously, knowing they are helping so many non-profit groups right here in the Crescenta Valley.


JULIA RABAGO is executive director of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at (818) 248-4957.

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