Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Legacy makes a difference in people's lives

Lucette Moramarco

Associate Editor

Legacy Endowment Community Foundation held its fifth annual Endowment Celebration Nov. 16 for both donors and beneficiaries in Pala Mesa Resort's Ballroom.

Executive Director Jean Larsen gave an update on the foundation's investment status; Legacy has $14 million in invested assets and has granted $10 million to area nonprofits since 1994.

The funds are invested for long-range perpetual yield, Larsen said, so they are surviving years' long bounces in the financial market. "I love doing this [event] around Thanksgiving," she added, "We're giving thanks,"

This year, the event was moved to the ballroom to accommodate the growing number of recipients of grant awards and annual distributions. Current board president Rachel Mason said that besides providing grants, the foundation also helps them with financial expertise including grant writing. To show how grant support is making a difference, two of the recipients told the audience about their nonprofits.

Boys & Girls Club of Oceanside CEO Jodi Diamond talked about their Real Options for Adults with Disabilities program (ROADS), saying, "We're super grateful to Legacy; its support has enabled us to provide programs for adults with developmental disabilities."

Ten years ago, these adults had no place to go during the day and since club members were in school then, the staff decided to teach the adults life skills including cooking and shopping, three days a week. After three months, an 80 year old mother called to let them know her 50 year old daughter had made breakfast for her, for the first time!

The program is now five days a week and the adult students also take classes at MiraCosta and put on two performances a year. The B&GCO now has a culinary center/arts center (created in 2018, with a teaching kitchen) that offers ways to collaborate to make a big difference in people's lives.

Another nonprofit that is making a big difference is K9 Guardians. CEO and founder Leisa Tilley-Grajek said, "It is an honor to be here; Legacy is so supportive." She said that it was about eight years ago when she learned 22 veterans commit suicide every day. That cry for help touched her heart and with inspiration from her father, who was a Colonel in the Marines, she decided to raise her German shepherds specifically as therapy dogs for veterans.

Many vets ask for German shepherds which are natural guard dogs. She does temperament testing and trains the best ones. Vets apply through her website and it takes two years to train a dog; she has placed four dogs with vets this year. She also raised her first seeing-eye dog.

Recognizing that there are more charities per capita here, Tilley-Grajeck said, "Thank you for allowing me to do my passion, helping veterans."

Mason then presented checks to all of the recipients present while Larsen read their names. Those also included, Elizabeth Hospice, Fallbrook Food Pantry, Fallbrook Land Conservancy, Fallbrook Music Society, Fallbrook Senior Center, Fallbrook Youth Rugby, Foundation for Senior Care, Good Dog!, REINS, San Luis Rey Mission Parish, D'Vine Path, and WAVES Project, Inc.

Other beneficiaries of fund distributions include Boys and Girls Club Stromsoe Fund, Palomar Family Counseling Services, Inc., ProtoStar Foundation, Salvation Army, St. Madeleine Sophie's Center, and VetCTAP.

For more information about setting up a trust or applying for next year's grants, visit or email [email protected].


Reader Comments(0)