Beyond business loans: FE Small Business Finance continues investment in communities by supporting P.S. I Love You Foundation
August 23, 2021
“This is the best day of my life,” a young, red-shirted child shouted from the Strand in Manhattan Beach on a recent Saturday.
Kids in general may be prone to embellishing the truth – but that wasn’t the case at all here. That euphoric line captures well the overall vibe from 300 at-risk children who fanned across the popular South Bay spot this summer for a well-deserved break to laugh, let loose and connect with mentors.
It’s a volunteer-driven group focused on nurturing at-risk youth through social and emotional learning programs, enrichment programs, and community outreach events such as this one.
For many of these youths — who came from shelters, foster-care programs and low-income schools from across Los Angeles County — they had never been to a beach before let alone take surf lessons or try boogie boarding.
And for the vast majority of attendees, they had never connected with an adult on a one-to-one mentoring level; each was matched with an adult bringing the crowd total to more than 600.
Spotlighting meaningful community impact
At FE Small Business Finance, we believe in the all-embracing impact of collaboration not only within our own nonprofit organization but also with those who share a mutual goal of helping underserved communities reach success. We routinely highlight the awe-inspiring work being accomplished in the communities we serve.
Today, we’re spotlighting the P.S. I Love You Foundation.
Armen Madatyan, a senior SBA 504 commercial lender and member of FE’s experienced TeamLA, knows first-hand the impact P.S. I Love You has had on the Los Angeles County region. Madatyan has been a long-time volunteer of “Day at the Beach” and encouraged FE — a leading small business lender — to participate as a title sponsor of the event over the last six years.
“ FE is a non-profit as well and we’re very active in investing in our communities, so whenever I have found or been part of a worthwhile cause, I have supported and encouraged our involvement,” Madatyan said.
“P.S. I Love you provides kids tools and early childhood education outside of what school provides so that they can become productive members of society,” he added.
How did P.S. I Love You Start?
The idea for P.S. I Love You is rooted in Patricia Jones’ personal connection to an elderly woman in need combined with a personal family tradition that has stuck with Jones since childhood.
About 20 years ago, Jones befriended Millie, who worked at a hospital where Jones sold medical instruments. Over time, as Jones transitioned from sales to entrepreneurship, she lost touch of Millie.
FE Small Business Finance and TeamLA are dedicated to the betterment of the Greater Los Angeles region. As a mission-based lender and nonprofit, our focus goes beyond merely issuing loans to small businesses. Part of our role in the communities in which we serve centers on on adding vitality to these areas by sponsoring worthwhile causes such as P.S. I Love You.
After some digging, Jones came to learn Millie had to quit her hospital job to help care for five great-grandchildren ages 2 to 12 after Millie’s daughter and granddaughter landed in jail together.
“If she didn’t quit work (the kids) would’ve been in foster care,” Jones said.
Seeing a friend in need, Jones contributed financially to Millie and her family, paying for rent and other day-to-day needs. She’d also occasionally take care of the children to allow Millie some much-needed downtime.
Recognizing the enormous impact this personal gesture made on one family’s life, Jones decided to give back in a bigger way.
The term “P.S. I Love You” quickly came to mind. Jones’ mom, whom she described as a giving person, would write that post script on each of her lunch bags. The message reminded her she was loved and to be grateful. Jones wanted that message to carry through to those who were less fortunate.
Over the last two decades, Jones has built up the P.S. I Love You Foundation with the help of volunteers, generous corporate sponsors, other donors, and Gretchen Downey, who joined Jones’ nonprofit 12 years ago and now serves as executive director.
What’s P.S. I Love You’s ‘Day at the Beach’?
Over the last 18 summers, P.S. I Love You has put on its annual marquee event and fundraiser, “Day at the Beach.”
The all-day, sun-soaked event was designed to bring together community members — from elected officials to business leaders — to mentor and give back to at-risk youth living in nearby communities such as Compton, Watts and Long Beach. Kids who participate enjoy a day of water sports, from surfing to boogie boarding; face painting; makeup lessons; and relay races, among other activities.
“Day at the Beach” also carves out room for the youths to spend quality, one-on-one time with a nurturing mentor — something many of them have never experienced before.
“A lot of the kids don’t have the opportunity to do something like that, to feel totally safe, and meet a new person and walk away with a new friend and mentor,” Downey said.