We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexandra Dwek and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alexandra, what are you inspired by?
I am very inspired by people who are interested and motivated in making a difference in other peoples lives through philanthropy. I admire people who give their time and energy to help a cause, organisation or charity.  While all organisations need financial contributions in order to operate and it is extraordinary the amounts of money that are raised through fund raising , I have a great amount of respect for those who are willing to volunteer their time and themselves.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Everyone can “give back” at whatever level they are comfortable with.  My advice is to look for an organisation in your community or city that is “grass roots” and does not have government funding.  You will be surprised what an impact you can make . If you look for smaller programs you can often fully support the program. For example:   a homeless shelter may need blankets. You can buy 500 blankets for a nominal amount of money and if you are creative you can approach stores and have them donated.

Large organisations have huge operating expenses: salaries, advertising, capital campaigns etc. so very often your money does not even go to the actual cause you think you are supporting.
I feel donating time whether it’s volunteering in a shelter, reading  to small children in foster programs or singing at the Veteran’s Hospital are extremely meaningful. These are also excellent ways to introduce your children to the concept of “giving back”.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love our beaches. Either a walk along Santa Monica beach at sunset or on a weekend when the volleyball games are being played.  You can rent a bike and cycle too. I really like Paradise Cove and the restaurant The Sunset that is on the beach.

I love Gjelina where they  locally sources all the their food. There are so many unique smaller boutiques to wander and see in the area too. The organic store Erewhon near by is always great for juices, salads and great natural beauty products.

I like to support Home Boy Cafe. They offer jobs to people coming out of prison to help them reestablish their lives.

The Farmers Market at the Grove was originally built in the 1930’s and the architecture has remained the same. There is a wonderful French store called Monsieur Marcel and they have a charming restaurant.  They are very civically minded and hire people with learning difficulties.

One of my favourite hikes is in Coldwater Canyon Park called TreePeople. TreePeople is an organisation that inspires and supports the people of LA to come together to plant and care for trees, harvest  rain, and renew depleted landscapes.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would say my involvement with the organisation The Colleagues, in Los Angeles. The Colleagues have supported The Children Institute, CII,  for many years through their fund raising, events and thrift shop.  This small group of ladies have worked tirelessly over the years in successfully raising millions of dollars for CII. I learned how both small and very large organisations operate, where there are cracks in the system, what needs to be improved , how much needs to be done to enact changes, what works and what doesn’t!

I also found so many small ways to become involved and give of my time to make a difference in someones life. I found it incredibly rewarding to be engaged. I would have to thank two ladies who I admire, Laurie MacCaskill who introduced me to the group and is one of the leading advocates for Pancreatic Cancer research and Betsy Bloomingdale who was an extraordinary philanthropist and a remarkable women.  And, lastly my Grandmother who’s example of “giving back” and being philanthropic in everything she did has had a lasting effect.

Website: WWW.FriendswithCauses.com

Instagram: Alexandradwek

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.