Penn Serves LA Annual Social

By Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16

 Penn really MUST be the oldest university in the United States!  Our Penn Serves LA community gathered to celebrate the 312th birthday of our founder, Ben Franklin…and also to toast one another and our volunteer efforts.

Penn Serves LA hosts eight or nine service events each year, and every January we gather for social purposes. We are grateful to Elizabeth Kopple for offering her home for our festivities, and to the thirty plus people who came together to share experiences and stories, and to connect with one another. As is often the case at our events, our attendees spanned over forty years and represented all undergraduate and many graduate and professional schools.

Over wine, appetizers, and dessert, the group socialized, and each person provided a thirty-second self-introduction. People gave a host of reasons for their commitment to service, some spoke of particularly affecting events they had attended and others described non-profits they had or planned to start.

We had the pleasure of a brief talk by Richard Walden, C’68, L’72 who started LA-based Operation USA, an international disaster relief, and development agency in 1979.  A terrific story-teller, Richard explained how one idea developed into something much larger, and how he managed to get planes, warehouses and endless medical supplies donated to deliver $400 million in aid in 100 countries over the past 38 years. It was inspiring to realize that by staying small and agile, by not accepting financial support from the government and by remaining focused (in this case on education and health), a non-profit can make a world of difference.

Our founder was a man full of terrific ideas and, like Ben, our Penn Serves alumni volunteers know how to have a good time and to motivate and encourage one another to do good work to make our city a little stronger and better.

Please join us for upcoming events, mark your calendars for Ben’s bash next January, and send in any ideas you have for future projects.

Hurrah Pennsylvania!

Upcoming Events

About Penn Serves LA

Penn Serves LA logo volunteering with Penn Alumni in Los Angeles

Penn Serves LA impacts the Los Angeles community by engaging University of Pennsylvania alumni, parents and families in meaningful community service activities.

Since our founding in 2012, we have done everything from serving meals to the homeless to restoring the environment to fixing homes. Six times annually, we find another great opportunity to learn about interesting nonprofits, lend a hand and enjoy a fun experience with fellow alumni.

Join Us

We invite the Penn community in Los Angeles (alumni, parents, and kids) to join us at a future event, to help spread the word and to help us plan future activities. Join us, meet new Penn people, demonstrate what service means to your kids and friends, and help fellow Quakers make a little bit of difference in our complex city!

If you have an established nonprofit that you would like us to consider for future events or announcements, please let us know. We are looking for new nonprofits to serve in meaningful ways.

Contact Us

Questions? Want to join our email list? Reach us at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter!

The Penn Serves LA Team

Michal Clements, W’84 | Justin Gordon, W’05 | Jane Gutman, CW’73, PAR’14, PAR’16 | Leanne Huebner, W’90 | Jamie Kendall, W’04 | Irene Park, C’05 | Kiera Reilly, C’93 | Michelle Wattana, C’09 | Denise Winner, W’83, PAR’21

Read about our previous events:


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Filed under Jane G., Penn Serves, Penn Serves LA, Volunteering

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