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The LAist Interview: Tom Bagamane

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During the insanity holiday season, it's important that we remember to step outside of our own realm and think of others. Yes, it's cliche, but, yes, it's true. This week LAist talks to Tom Bagamane of The Giving Spirit, an Angeleno who's dedicated his work and efforts to improving the lives of others in our own Tale of Two Cities.

1. Age and Occupation:

44, Exec VP, American Health Sciences
Chairman & Founder, The Giving Spirit

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2. What inspired you to establish The Giving Spirit?

Homelessness in LA is at epidemic numbers because of the size of our population, the allure of our weather and some significant holes in our health and social services system. Simply put: we have so much; they have so little. It was easy to be inspired to act.

3. Is there anything new that you’ve learned from your constituency or that surprised you after working with the homeless population?

The profile of LA’s homeless is misrepresented. There are many more families, children and women living among the 234,000 homeless in LA than people realize. Many of the parents have lost their jobs and just want to be back to work as soon as possible.

4. What does the charity do after each December’s distribution?

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For starters, we never stop fundraising—it’s a year round function for all of our Board Members. We also evaluate the feedback we receive from clients to determine whether we provided them with the right supplies, the right amount of supplies and to see if we can give them more next time.

5. Is it hard to fundraise in Los Angeles?

No. Not if you are sincerely passionate about a very relevant issue. Granted there are a lot of people with equally compelling causes, so it can be a bit competitive. However, there is a lot of disposable income here in LA and lot of very caring people, despite LA’s self-absorbed image.