Chapter Spotlight: Los Angeles

The UN needs help with funding now more than ever. The UNA Los Angeles Chapter saw this as their opportunity to show how a small chapter can make a big impact. Raising $2,000 for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in only five days was no small feat, but it has since inspired the chapter to do more. Chapter President Jillian Boardman, Vice President of Communications David Garcia, and Fundraising Chair Paraag Lal all shared their experience fundraising during a pandemic. 

“COVID hit and everything changed,” Jillian said. “As a new chapter, we had to be nimble and adaptive to new programming. Our new solidarity challenge is a direct result of how coronavirus impacted our work.”

In April, UNA-USA launched the COVID-19 Chapter Solidarity Challenge, calling on chapters across the country to help raise funds for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund which directly supports the World Health Organization’s response to the virus. UNA Los Angeles’ goal was to promote the solidarity challenge in a way that addressed misinformation, maintained sensitivity for those who were struggling, and offered a reward that would draw excitement from all over California. All who donated to the fund were entered in a raffle to win a Napa Valley getaway. 

“It’s all about finding the right messaging, for the right audience, at the right price point, Paraag said.” 

They were more than astonished with the outpouring of support and interest in the challenge, but all stressed how they see in real-time the effects of COVID-19 around the world. They made sure the trip would not expire until 2022 to ensure proper social distancing guidelines and worked with several companies and brands to enhance the trip as much as possible. 

The UNA Los Angeles Chapter has since expanded a new online series called Chapter Chats. The idea was conceptualized by Donna Parker (VP of Advocacy) David and Jillian in response to COVID-19 as a way to redirect our programming, specifically UN75 Consultations, online and quickly developed into a safe space for the LA community to discuss what is going on in the world, and how different issues align with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Chapter Chats chats are spearheaded by David as our chapter’s leading communications and outreach effort.  They are partnering with local non-profits such as the Urban Voices Project which focuses on reducing poverty. 

“We are building the plane and flying it at the same time. Now with COVID-19, it’s impacted how we communicate to our community. We are all working hard to adapt to our new situation,” David said.

All chapters are learning how to navigate this challenging time together. By working collaboratively, we can all make a difference in this world.