This evening we got to spend some time with Charity, a lovely friend who I made years ago when she worked in the development department at Pacific Asia Museum – with Suzette (see April 8). Not only does she have the best name for working in the non-profit world, but she is also clever, cute and charming, qualities that are invaluable when trying to convince wealthy, sophisticated people to support a particular cause. For over a decade now, she has worked cultivating donors for Center Theater Group, an organization that presents some of the best dramatic and comedic productions in Los Angeles. Not only does her work involve lunches, parties and events with some of the city’s major cultural philanthropists but also organizing international trips, like a recent trip to the UK to enjoy theatrical performances in London and at the Edinburgh festival. And she is good at it too. Her top-notch organizational skills, cultural savvy, and her cheeky sense of humor have won her the trust and affection of many supporters an helping the organization to grow.
It is those qualities that have also made friendship with her so enjoyable. I usually meet her for a girls’ night out with Suzette a couple of times a year. We catch up on news, but often we share stories of odd and often comical things we’ve observed or experienced, and this evening when we met up with her at an arts fundraiser in Pasadena, organized by Suzette and her colleagues, we continued in that vein. At one point, Charity discreetly pointed out to us a man who she calls “Freddy the Freeloader.” A heavy-set man in his 50s, he apparently crashes all the arts events in the LA area, pretending to be one of the names on the guest list – a different one at each event. Indeed, I’d seen him when I was an event at LACMA with her last year. She explained that he had shown up at one of her high-ticket events, insisting that he was a guest and making up a name that wasn’t on the list. She had recognized him, alerted her staff and quickly figured out a way of asking him to leave without shaming him publicly and causing a fuss. Charity may be cute, but she’s classy too, and she’s nobody’s fool.
Today, I wanted to give Charity something to honor her cute, playful side. So I chose a black and white button ring that’s a little stylish and should go well with Charity’s many black outfits. I hope she continues to be impressive and awesome at her job and in the wider world too, but I hope that however old she gets (and she doesn’t seem to get old either!), she never loses that playful, sweet part of herself.