City Approves New 'LoveMB' FoundationFeb 06, 2024 10:54PM ● By Jeanne Fratello
The Manhattan Beach City Council has approved and given seed money to a new foundation, LoveMB, that would oversee private donations for civic projects, beginning with a long-discussed new city pool.
The foundation, a literal labor of love for the residents who have worked for more than two years to research and draft the framework for such an organization, would serve as a city-affiliated public/private partnership 501(c)(3) vehicle "for community members, business enterprises, or other interested parties to easily donate to improvement opportunities on a tax-deductible basis for the benefit of the city and its community."
City Council voted, 5-0, to move forward with the proposal. However, although the LoveMB committee had requested $104,900 in start-up costs for the first year (for administration, marketing/branding, and an executive director and grant writing) and $73,700 for each of the two years thereafter, the council balked at committing that amount from the city's coffers.
Councilmembers agreed to an amended proposal allowing for $50,000 in start-up costs, and a review by City Council in six months. City Council also directed the foundation to focus its work for now on raising funds for a new community pool.
Reflecting on the success of such nonprofits as the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation and MB/X Foundation, Mayor Joe Franklin said, "Don’t underestimate the effort of determined people, especially parents, who want to have better facilities and better schools. I think it's appropriate to form a nonprofit like this with [such] determined people."
Public/Private Team Worked to Develop Concept
The city of Manhattan Beach previously had a program that had generated donations primarily to support the planting of new trees and the addition of park benches. That program was put on hold in 2018. Larger donations to the city have been made through other specific private 501(c)(3) corporations established for projects on an individualized basis, such as the recently installed Catalina Classic sculpture and the upcoming renovation of the Manhattan Beach Community Center.
Meanwhile, while the tree and park bench program has been on hold, a committee made up of Parks and Recreation Committee members and Parks and Recreation Director Mark Leyman has worked on creating the non-profit 501(c)(3) donation program.
The LoveMB Foundation will be able to receive tax-deductible donations from individuals, businesses, and other parties. It will have its own governing board, administrative team, operating budget, and website.
In researching the options for creating the foundation, the committee evaluated 18 similar foundations and interviewed representatives from the cities of Palos Verdes, Santa Barbara, and Boulder, Colorado.
There is no competing foundation for this space in Manhattan Beach, according to organizers, and the organization could energize and inspire a committed base of local donors who wish to see civic improvements such as the new pool project.
After councilmembers appeared skeptical of the idea of a three-year, $250,000 commitment, Mayor Pro Tem Amy Howorth proposed the $50,000-with-six-month-review compromise, to which the rest of the council unanimously agreed.
"This will be really important to have for a lot of different reasons," said Howorth. "Trees, benches, plaques; they all come into this. But for now it’s about the pool, which Manhattan Beach will love...I think this will benefit our community and city for years to come."
Following the vote, committee members expressed enthusiasm for moving forward.
"The way you get things going in the '90266' is by bringing smart, creative and enthusiastic people together," said committee member Karen Komatinsky. "We have built an initial 501(c)(3) foundation structure and business plan, and with City Council support, we can now successfully launch the LoveMB Foundation. It is our plan that LoveMB will generate funds to support projects and programs that will enhance and enrich the community spirit in Manhattan Beach for all residents."