Donor spotlight on Robert and Barbara Klein
For donors Robert and Barbara Klein, helping others has always been a priority. “We started in our local schools and with kids’ groups and spread out from there,” Barbara said. “We used a mimeograph machine to reach out on local problems. Today, who even knows what that is?”
Over the years, they were involved in many different causes and organizations, but what drew them all together was a belief that everyone has a right to live in dignity and a responsibility to help those in need. “In this richest of all societies, we cannot tolerate that some of us live without a home, running and potable water, and access to food,” Robert said.
It was when Barbara retired, though, that she discovered she could help vulnerable Angelenos in the heart of Skid Row. “I met with Mollie Lowery at LAMP and asked if she needed someone like me,” Barbara said. “Fortunately for me, she said yes.”
Now a merger between Lamp Community and OPCC, the organization is dedicated to providing homeless individuals with both housing and services designed to help them become self-sufficient and rejoin the community. Over her years as a volunteer and board member, Barbara was blown away by the incredible kindness and care displayed by the residents, even as they fought to overcome great struggles.
Perhaps the greatest gift has been seeing their children and grandchildren discover the joy of service. “We set up a fund at CCF, and every year, all of us vote on charities to support,” Robert said. “It’s wonderful to see their different interests and how they’ve learned to give.”
Most important of all, they’ve learned they have a power to make a difference in the lives of those around them. “It’s up to us to volunteer, to vote, to insist on responsiveness and attention to people in need,” Barbara said. “And, of course, tax-deductible donations don’t hurt.”
Robert and Barbara Klein are members of the Centennial Legacy Campaign, which helps donors create a permanent impact on the issues they care about most in Los Angeles County. To learn how you can create your own legacy, visit mylalegacy.org.