Friends Outside in Los Angeles County (FOLA) mourns the loss of two of its long-time supporters.

Fr. Roger Wood served as a Volunteer Jail Visitor, financial supporter, and member of and president of the Board of Directors over a span of some 30 years. As a Jail Visitor, Fr. Wood visited males incarcerated at Men’s Central Jail. The words of one of the inmates he visited exemplify how Fr. Wood made a difference. “I’m writing to thank you for those encouraging visits back in the dark days of 2004. I followed your advice. In 2005, I was one of the first inmates accepted into a college correspondence program. When I parole in 2008, I will be transferring 25 units with a 4.0 grade average! I’m also enrolled in a vocational program that is preparing me for work as an electrician’s apprentice. Thanks again for the helpful information and encouragement when I needed it most.”

Fr. Wood graduated from Stanford Law School in a class that included two Supreme Court Justices (Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor). Fr. Wood decided that his true calling was to become an Episcopalian priest and he was ordained in 1957, eventually becoming a canon. During the memorial service, the presiding priest said that Fr. Wood had told him that he wanted to be buried in the most unpretentious clothing they could find. A garment was identified but had been made in India. Fr. Wood only accepted it after he was assured that the person(s) who made it had been paid a fair wage.  It says worlds about the life and the character of a very principled man. 

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The Honorable John Van de Kamp served FOLA as a member of the Advisory Board and financial supporter. A former Attorney General of California, Mr. Van de Kamp was recruited to add his name to FOLA’s letterhead. At that time, circa 1972, working with inmates and their families was a pretty edgy if not suspicious activity. Having prominent names on the letterhead was intended to put forth Friends Outside as a legitimate organization especially within the legal community. I spoke with Mr. Van de Kamp earlier this year to ask for his assistance to identify a law firm that might provide pro bono legal counsel as needed. He readily responded to my call  with a recommendation. 45 years later, he was still at the service of organizations in whose Missions he believed.

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Thanks to both of these two fine men for their contributions to Friends Outside in Los Angeles County and we extend our condolences to their loved ones.

Mary Weaver

Executive Director

“Reentry Through the Arts” Grant Awarded to Friends Outside in LA County in Partnership with TheatreWorkers Project

State funds support arts programming for the formerly incarcerated through new grant program

The California Arts Council announced its plans to award $90,000 to Friends Outside in Los Angeles County (FOLA) to support an expanded collaboration with TheatreWorkers Project (TWP) as part of its Reentry through the Arts pilot program.

Support from the California Arts Council will enable FOLA to expand their collaboration with TheatreWorkers Project. Led by Artistic Director Susan “Susie” Franklin Tanner, TWP’s team of artists will provide increased opportunities for the formerly incarcerated and those on work  release to redefine their personal narratives through theatre. FOLA is one of just 10 grantees chosen for this program.

FOLA’s executive director, Mary Weaver comments, “The funding allows us to add a very important component to our Dads Back! Academy, an intensive reentry fatherhood program located in Watts. The fathers value the opportunity to express feelings which, left unaddressed, can trigger destructive behavior which can be passed unwittingly on to their children.”

TheatreWorkers Project (TWP) is dedicated to providing an opportunity for working people, the unemployed and youth to tell their stories through the medium of theatre and to providing classical and contemporary theatre education that reflects and illuminates the human condition.

TheatreWorkers Project believes that all human beings possess the ability to create works of art, everyone has an important story to tell, the artist has the responsibility to address social and political issues and participating in the creative process can be a transformative experience

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

To view a complete listing of all Reentry through the Arts grantees, visit


Happy Spring!

Won’t you join us for a friendly gathering on Saturday, May 13, 8:30 A.M., on the lovely grounds of the Los Angeles County Arboretum in support of our unique programs?  This event has been sponsored by the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration of Arcadia for more than 20 years , with all proceeds going to Friends Outside in Los Angeles County.  Admission will be at no cost for this special event because of the generosity of the parishioners.    Proceed to the front door of the Arboretum, letting the staff know you are there for the Friends Outside walk.  They will direct you to the meeting space for refreshments, socializing, and a short program.   And, then we will take off to see the beautiful grounds which should be especially wonderful this year because of the rain (remember that wet stuff we finally had this year ?).  Hope to see you there! 

Or, if you cannot join us,  your monetary donation of any size is appreciated.   You can make your donation in one of the following ways:

• Your check made out to “Friends  Outside in Los Angeles County” and mailed to our administrative offices at 261 E. Colorado Blvd., Ste. 217, Pasadena, CA, 91101.

• Go to and look for the “Donate” icon by scrolling down the left-side of the Home page. 

New Proposed Federal Budget Targets California Nonprofits

There is great concern amongst nonprofit organizations about funding cuts to the federal budget as recently presented by President Trump.  Please take a few moments to read this article and take action as you see fit and wish to do. 

Thank you in advance for your efforts to ensure that the important work done by our community can continue!

– Mary Weaver

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The federal budget blueprint released by President Trump yesterday raises serious concerns for California nonprofits and the communities we serve.

A core American tenet is that a purpose of government is to provide for and promote the general welfare of the people, and that the government’s budget and fiscal policies should strive to provide sufficient resources towards that end.

This budget moves in exactly the opposite direction. It eliminates an array of programs that support the common good and the well-being and sustainability of the public. These proposed cuts include:

  • Community Development Block Grant program, which funds local governments and nonprofits in economic development and infrastructure
  • Corporation for National and Community Service (the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps), providing thousands of people with job training through community service
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Legal Services Corporation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Senior Community Service Employment Program

A compelling and impassioned case can be made for each of these programs individually. As just a few examples, together the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities cost Americans just 92 cents each, yet spark the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and are crucial to the world-class arts of which we are rightly proud.

The Legal Services Corporation gives poor Americans legal help without which they could easily be victimized. One of our members uses $60,000 in CDBG funds to pay the utility bills of very poor families in their rural community…what will happen to them if their lights go out?

In California, one in every 16 workers is employed by a nonprofit organization. Whether an orchestra, a museum, a legal aid clinic, a community center or a health clinic, the nonprofit sector is a crucial industry benefiting society economically as well as through its services.

California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits), a statewide policy alliance of more than 10,000 organizations, is the voice for California’s nonprofit community. Through our advocacy work, we protect and enhance the ability of California’s nonprofits to serve — and lead in — our state, the nation and the world.

We urge our members of Congress to closely and carefully examine this proposed budget, and act to protect California’s residents and the nonprofits that serve them.

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Thank you. Nonprofits need to make our voices heard. Please go here to take our short survey about how the new administration is affecting us as nonprofits and pass it along to others you know in the nonprofit community.

The survey, “Government in Transition; Nonprofits in Transition,” asks what you as nonprofits are concerned about in this changing policy environment, what impacts you anticipate, and how you plan to respond. Your voice is crucial — please complete the survey today so that we can compile and publicize the results as soon as possible.

P.S. If you are not yet a CalNonprofits member, we need you now more than ever. Join now to increase the advocacy voice of nonprofits and benefit from exclusive and discounted goods and servicesSign up today.

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TheatreWorkers Project’s Artists Collaborate with FOLA

TheatreWorkers Project’s artists collaborate with Friends Outside in Los Angeles County to provide opportunities for the formerly incarcerated and those on work release to begin to redefine their personal narratives through the art of theatre, movement, and writing.

Moving Forward, a program of TheatreWorkers Project in partnership with Friends Outside in Los Angeles County Dads Back! Academy is funded in part by a California Arts Council Artists Activating Communities grant.