Cal and Stanford—besties? Yes, according to CAA’s Los Angeles chapter president Gerald Nicdao ’08. “We reached out to Stanford alumni with an invitation to join our Big Game viewing party, and a couple hundred Golden Bears and Cardinal fans got together for the Big Game. We want to broaden and deepen our connection to a traditional rival.”
In addition to other social events with young alumni and viewing parties throughout football season, the rival alumni have formed a partnership for community service. “We’re planning more community service events in partnership with Stanford this coming year,” says Gerald, “including volunteering with the local food bank and participation in our partnerships with non-profit organizations, where we help students in areas like South Central, East LA, and Watts succeed academically.” The Cal–Stanford partnership helps make admission to top universities possible for students from these low-income, underserved communities, many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college. Alumni tutor students and serve as mentors and motivators.
The Cal Alumni of Los Angeles chapter actively engages in community outreach to increase its membership, growing its numbers by an impressive 200-plus alumni between October 2016 and January 2017. “We’re trying to build an extension of the Cal family. The Los Angeles chapter is the second largest of Cal’s alumni chapters and is a robust network,” Gerald believes. “We represent all major industries in Los Angeles, including entertainment, government, law, and non-profit organizations. We’re not just about social events, we’re also about Berkeley alumni caring about the community.”
In 2016, the Los Angeles chapter received the Loyal Company Outstanding Volunteer Group Award, which recognizes a chapter committed to Berkeley and to community service. Members represent all age groups, from 21 to beyond 70. They dedicate their time to organizations such as Reading to Kids, increasing literacy skills at the elementary school level; a partnership with College Summit, a national group focused on helping underserved students get into and succeed in college; and Most-e, where they mentor underserved girls and provide academic support.
“We also support students through fundraising for the Kruttschnitt Aspire Scholarship Program (KASP) at our annual Spring Benefit,” says Gerald. “This will be our fourth year that we have supported KASP. So many low-income and underrepresented students can’t access a university like Cal. We support KASP because it is targeted at an underserved community.”
Cal Alumni of Los Angeles is about keeping in touch. “Cutting through the noise is a challenge. We have lots of social media presence and use email to let people know about our frequent events and opportunities to engage.” Clearly, with hundreds of new members, the Los Angeles chapter is on the move.