Charities Information

As a faith-based non-profit organization, Lake Avenue Community Foundation is unleashing the God-given potential of youth and families in vulnerable communities, providing the tools necessary to thrive academically, emotionally, economically, and spiritually.

Our four key goals with neighborhood youth are:

  1. Academic Success – to help students excel academically and attend college
  2. Emotional health – to help students exhibit sound judgment, good problem-solving skills and meet daily challenges that aid in their success and emotional well being
  3. Economic stability – to help students become economically responsible and stable adults
  4. Spiritual growth – to help students develop a thriving relationship with God.

The programs we provide for youth and families are:

  1. STARS After School Programs
  2. Mentoring
  3. Family Support
  4. College Readiness
  5. Kids Reading to Succeed
  6. SKILLZ Summer School
  7. Elementary Summer Camp

Go to and like us on Facebook at to learn more.

Side Street Projects is an entirely mobile artist-run organization that gives artists of all ages the ability and the means to support their creative endeavors.

Since 1997, we have taught design and fabrication through a mobile tool-based woodworking curriculum to literally thousands of children throughout L.A. County. Alternate Routes’ goal is to teach children creative problem solving and how to use tools safely, effectively, and (ultimately) independent of adult assistance. All classes are held in renovated transit buses and trailers where students learn about art, design, and engineering using only hand tools, raw materials, and their imagination. All classes are taught by professional artists. The program has now expanded to include other tool based curriculum including sewing and electronics.

Read more about Side Street Projects:

Northwest Neighbors of Pasadena (NWN) is a faith-based public benefit non-profit serving the Villa Park area of Northwest Pasadena.  NWN seeks to transform our community, raising up indigenous leaders through the intentional development and holistic Christian discipleship of children and youth.  We have offered mentorship, after-school programs, summer enrichment programs, and leadership development to youth in Pasadena since 1995.  Our engagement with the neighborhood comes from these core values:


First and foremost, we live in the neighborhood in which we serve.  Every staff member lives in the square mile area known as Villa Parke – a vibrant Latino community also home to neighborhood gangs, drugs, and poverty.  It is our belief that we can only truly love our neighbors when we are walking alongside them in their everyday struggles.  Living in the neighborhood means being present when a child knocks on the door crying at midnight, caring for a neighbor who was mugged, shopping at the local Latino markets.  We work for the transformation of the city, but never at the expense of the people and their culture.


We pursue, through programmatic and relational means, reconciliation between neighbors of different ethnicities and social classes.  We believe that God has created us to be one family, embracing, encouraging, and understanding one anothers’ differences.  And it is through this reconciliation that we can be “salt and light” to those around us.  As an organization, we encourage the relocation and retention of achieving and educated individuals and families of all ethnicities into our neighborhood.


Our hope is not simply to develop church-goers or friends who enjoy spending time with us, but we strive to raise up disciples and leaders in our community who will grow in their maturity in being obedient to Jesus’ every leading.  Through Bible studies, prayer times, worship gatherings, and personal discipleship meetings, we strive to assist even our youngest children in developing an authentic relationship with Jesus.


While we live in the city, we seek the mutual transformation of our community, as well as ourselves.  We work to bring resources and education into our communities, while expecting to receive new understanding and blessings from those around us.

Read more about Northwest Neighbors of Pasadena:


The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation strives to build a society in which all persons, regardless of their disabilities, will have full and equal opportunities to express their talents and to be successful in the Arts.

The Special Academy’s mission is to increase public awareness, appreciation and recognition of the creative talents of people with disabilities by providing opportunities that encourage, promote and showcase their artistic expressions. Weachieve our mission in three principal ways: (i) organizing and administering open-call competitions to encourage those in the special needs community to express themselves through various media of Art; (ii) arranging for scholarships, cash awards and other financial support for artists with disabilities to promote their further participation in the Arts; and (iii) hosting web-based virtual galleries of Art and producing exhibitions and videos to showcase the artistic expressions of artists with disabilities.

The Special Academy’s website,, showcases the artistic talents of more than 75 “artists in residence” where we continue to increase our online collection of paintings, short film, photographs, creative writing, and other works of art by artists with disabilities that we feature on our website. This year we completely revamped our website so that it is much more user friendly with easier navigation and shorter periods of time loading pages and includes a virtual three dimensional (“3D”) art exhibition gallery to enhance appreciation of the art. Each month the virtual art galleries featured on our website are seen by thousands of unique visitors and help make dreams come true for many of our artists. With the ever changing technology, we continually invest in our website so that the creative talents of our artists in residence will be available for the entire world to appreciate.

The Special Academy also arranges for the financial support of artists with disabilities to further their participation and progress in the Arts. We provide scholarships and cash awards annually to artists with disabilities though our web-based opportunities for those in the special needs community to express themselves in competitive short film, creative writing and visual arts projects. We award college scholarships to traditional college-aged students with disabilities pursuing their studies in the Arts, in addition we seek to endow a Working Artists Fund which would focus on adult artists with disabilities needing financial assistance for specific work projects.

For questions or additional opportunities, please contact us as follows:

Michael Dergar

President & CEO

Jerry J. Ruiz

Director of Administration

(323) 253-7380

Patsy Herrera Loya

Director of Development

Academy of Special Dreams Foundation

115 W. California Blvd. Suite 326

Pasadena, California 91105

The Academy of Special Dreams Foundation is a tax-exempt IRC 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. You can follow the work of the Academy of Special Dreams Foundation by subscribing at, by becoming a fan on Facebook at or by staying in touch with us on Twitter at

Door of Hope is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, faith-based organization whose mission is to equip homeless families to rebuild their lives. Since 1985, Door of Hope has been providing transitional housing and a restoration program especially designed for homeless families with children.  With 3 facilities, Door of Hope has served as a vehicle of hope and transformation for hundreds of families over the past 29 years.

Read more about Door of Hope:

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