RECIPIENT STORIES

Briana Nieves
Growing up in Compton, CA., Briana feels privileged to attend Copper Mountain College in Joshua Tree. Her mother was a nurse who loved her job and loved helping others. Losing her mother, Briana realized that she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse. Briana is a sophomore and has been using the laptops at the campus library to do all of her class assignments and has managed to have a 3.8 GPA while also playing on the basketball team. The L-Fund Education Assistance Program (LEAP) provided Briana with a new laptop and headphones.

Julienne Bresson
Due to the ongoing hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community, Julienne realized that she needed to take action on this issue. Her acceptance into Humboldt State University created a pathway to pursue her dream of becoming a police officer. Upon successful completion of the Criminal Science program in 2023, Julienne plans to enter into the police academy. Her ultimate goal is to lead a hate crime task force that focuses on LGBTQ+ hate crimes. Due to the loss of her mother’s job and medical expenses for her disabled sister, her family’s finances were limited. Julienne needed a laptop because she was borrowing one from her mother’s work. The L-Fund provided Julienne with a new laptop and textbooks.

Laura Russo
Through the healing process as a domestic violence survivor, Laura returned to school to finish her Bachelor’s Degree that she started 20 years prior. As a Certified Domestic Violence and Peer Support Advocate, Laura hopes to work at a shelter or crisis center educating clients about trauma and the recovery process. December 2019, Laura lost her job. Unemployment covered her food and shelter, but not her tuition. With only one semester left to graduate, The L-Fund provided $2,500 towards her tuition at Southern Illinois University.

Leslie North
Leslie was a bus driver for Morongo Valley Transit, but lost her job due to Covid. She has always had a love of architecture and interior design and Feng Shui is something she’s passionate about and applies in her own life. Once Leslie receives certification as a Feng Shui Practitioner, she plans to work with realtors, interior designers and hopes to eventually have her own business. The L-Fund provided $2,500 towards her tuition at the Western School of Feng Shui.

Marnie Hesson
Marnie has been a massage therapist for over 20 years. She lost a lot of her clients due to Covid, which severely affected her income. Marnie had previously enrolled in classes to hopefully expand her business, but couldn’t afford to continue her education due to her limited income. She wants to become certified as a Life Coach, Nutrition Coach and Weight Loss Coach. Marnie’s plan is to create a wellness business incorporating massage, personal training, nutrition and weight loss coaching, and adding in Life Coaching to help women integrate all aspects of personal health. The L-Fund provided $1,595 towards her tuition at National Institute of Sports Medicine.

Terri Wells
As Terri began her sobriety journey Christmas 2018, the concept of paying it forward and helping others became her calling. She enrolled at COD to obtain her Associates Degree in Drug and Alcohol Counseling. Terri plans to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Her tuition costs were covered, but Terri needed a more sophisticated laptop that would allow her to complete complex school assignments. The L-Fund provided Terri with a new laptop.

Shann Carr
Shann is a comdeian and 22 year resident of Palm Springs who co-hosts a podcast called I Love Gay Palm Springs. She is also a Realtor, Entertainment Producer, Radio Host, and Community Organizer and wears countless other hats that include hosting and emceeing film festivals, cruises and comedy shows. When the pandemic hit our local community in early 2020, Shann found that many of her real estate transactions stalled and gigs dried up. To add insult to injury, her health insurance quadrupled. Shann, a volunteer and big supporter of The L-Fund since its inception, all of a sudden found herself as the one in need. She never imagined she would be a Health & Wellness Fund recipient and was hesitant to ask for help but former Executive Director/CEO, Barbara Carpenter, insisted that she apply. Barbara told her, “If you don’t apply for help, I’m going to tuck money under your doormat from my own bank account!”. 

Shann is grateful for The L-Fund and that the organization was there when she needed it the most. Financial assistance from the Health & Wellness Fund helped her get quickly back on her feet. The L-Fund appreciates Shann and all of the hours she has donated to the organization so it was only fitting that The L-Fund was there for her.

Debra Rolon
While Debra was working as a Dog Bather, she watched her boss groom dogs and cats and quickly realized she wanted to become a dog groomer. Her dream is to have her own mobile dog grooming business in the future. Debra wanted to attend the American Grooming Academy, but did not have enough money in her budget. The L-Fund paid $2,500 towards Debra’s tuition at the American Grooming Academy. 

Nancy McMasters
Nancy is legally blind and hearing impaired (pictured here with her guide dog). A friend from out of town came to visit her along with their dog. The dog found Nancy’s hearing aids and chewed them to pieces. When Nancy went to put on her hearing aids, she was devastated to find them unusable! She called The L-Fund’s Mei Ling Tom crying because although she knew it was an accident, being legally blind makes it difficult for her to navigate without being able to hear. Nancy lives on a limited income from disability and knew she couldn’t afford to buy new hearing aids. Mei Ling immediately told her to go to The L-Fund website and fill out an application for assistance. In a few days, Nancy’s application was approved and the following week she had brand new hearing aids that were even better than the ones she had previously! Nancy is forever grateful to The L-Fund for enabling her to have a better quality of life, engage in conversations, and interact in society safely and confidently again.

Alexis Coffman
Alexis was a LEAP recipient in 2018. She was attending College of the Desert and needed additional money for textbooks. The L-Fund purchased her textbooks, parking permit and assisted with her health fees.

Desiree Gutierrez
Lesbian in Need (LIN) recipient Desiree Gutierrez was facing eviction for her and her teenage son after moving to Palm Springs in search of a safer and open community. Upon applying to LIN, she was approved within 3 days for emergency rent assistance. Watch this short video to hear this single mother share how The L-Fund has helped her family. In her own words, “I can breathe now.”