Firm: Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC
City: Los Angeles
“If I didn’t have to work for a living, this is what I would do fulltime,” says Mitchell Pindus, referring to his commitment to the Water Buffalo Club (WBC) in Los Angeles. (And yes, the reference to “The Flintstones” is deliberate.) The 24-year-old non-profit organization, whose goal is to provide financial support to children and organizations that fall under the radar screen of traditional giving, has raised $2.5 million since it’s inception in 1989.
Mitchell, who joined WBC over 20 years ago and has served on the board for 13 years (as well as served as board president), joins 74 other men annually who select organizations to receive materials that WBC calls “evergreen items”—those items that will help children over a long period of time—such as vans, computers, copiers and art supplies. So far this year, WBC has supported diverse charities, such as Outward Bound Adventures, EmpowHer and Reading to Kids. In the past, the organization has completely rebuilt and stocked six libraries in elementary schools in some of the most economically depressed parts of Los Angeles, as well as built playgrounds in underserved areas. Moreover, WBC not only provides grants, but also takes children from underserved communities and exposes them to events, such as baseball games at Dodger Stadium, movie screenings and visits to the Santa Monica Pier and Griffith Observatory.
WBC not only counts on the generosity of its members, but also on the success of its fundraisers. Mitchell is the founder of one of WBC’s most popular fundraising events: its Annual Texas Hold-Em Poker Tournament. Now in its eleventh year, the tournament was held in May and was the most successful tournament to date. And, WBC’s fundraising efforts are multiplied many times over, due to in-kind matching contributions that WBC solicits to augment its gifts. The result? A huge impact on the community.
“Even before I had kids, I always got involved with charities that focused on children. And, WBC has helped more than 15,000 children per year through outreach programs, tutoring, mentoring and college assistance—helping to take children from the gangs to college. Our goal now is to make it a sustainable organization. We want to pass it along to younger people and make sure it goes on way past our lifetimes.”
Photograph by: Faye Ershadi