Mother’s Day Reflections | BH Courier

Mother’s Day Reflections

From The Publisher Marcia Wilson Hobbs

Every Mother’s Day, I reflect on my mother and her mother and the virtues and values they both lived and tried very hard to instill in me as I was growing up. My grandmother, who was born in Los Angeles into an immigrant family that subsequently prospered, was quite insistent that “much is expected of those to whom much is given” and she inducted me into charitable projects from the age of 4 onward.

My mother was a stalwart member of many groups including The Music Center’s Blue Ribbon support group and was very proud when I joined and we became the first mother/daughter duo.

Today, I would like to introduce two more dynamic duos from the Blue Ribbon, who are friends and colleagues of mine on various boards. Both duos are well known for their stellar contributions to so many philanthropic projects.

Joanne Kozberg (mother of Lindsey Kozberg)

•Were you brought up to appreciate the value of giving back and, if so, who instilled this spirit in you?

I was born in Canada and came to the United States with my parents at a very young age. My father was very grateful to be an American. I think that just increased his belief in the importance of giving back, which he shared with those around him, including my brother and me. He was a cardiologist, and I would go on rounds with him to the clinic to see patients who could not receive treatment elsewhere. I could see the impact he was making on their lives, in how he talked to and treated them. He became president of the American College of Cardiology and from that position acted as a “volunteer lobbyist” pressing for federal support for coronary care units, paramedic services and advanced medical research. He served five presidents as a member of the National Institutes of Health. I saw firsthand the enormous pride that he could make and the contribution to the practice of medicine through his service as well as his one-on-one work with patients. It was another way to help save individual lives.

•How did you first go about introducing your daughter to philanthropy?

Supporting community was just part of our lives, and Lindsey was always a part of sharing all our experiences. She was a helpmate in all I did—big and small.

•What have you personally gained from “giving back?”

Knowledge and experi- ence–two things that immediately come to mind. I was fortunate to be appointed California’s Secretary of State and Consumer Services. In that role, I was so gratified when I could make a difference making people’s lives better. Through service as a UC Regent, I was privileged to gain an understanding of the majesty of our higher education system and how access to quality education opens opportunity.

•What are some of the reasons that you joined Blue Ribbon and why did you encourage your daughter to join? 

I joined Blue Ribbon at age 23 because a dear friend, Olive Behrendt – who later became Lindsey’s godmother – introduced me to The Music Center. I think I was its youngest member, but always recognized the power of the arts to build community and cross-cultural understanding. I remember the civic pride as Los Angeles was building its cultural institutions in the 60s. The Blue Ribbon has probably exposed more generations of children to the performing arts than any other organization in the community. The women are also wonderful. They share a passion for the arts, and come together from across the county in support of the performing arts.

I don’t think Lindsey really needed encouragement to join Blue Ribbon. She always felt it was important to support the arts and that’s what the Blue Ribbon is about. And she hasn’t needed encouragement to volunteer for other causes as she is an active volunteer in a number of education and women’s health organizations.

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Lindsey Kozberg (daughter of Joanne Kozberg)

•How/when were you introduced to the concept of “giving back?”

My parents introduced us to volunteering and philanthropy by bringing us along.  And they started so early I honestly can’t remember a time when we weren’t tagging along at a school, museum, or library.  A lot of that exposure was at the Music Center.  My mother put me in a tiny apron at the earliest Very Special Arts Festivals so I could help the other kids paint and glue while she was volunteering.  My father made sure we explored and felt comfortable in all corners of the community.  When donating toys and books we hopped in the car, and met and played with the children who would enjoy them.  They made it quite clear that our time and care could touch people, and that we had good fortune we should share joyfully.

•How instrumental was your mother in sharing this concept with you?

I think watching my mom in action made me equate being a “grown up” with volunteering and serving on boards and committees.  I saw how much happiness she found in her volunteer work and watched her make great friends through these organizations.  I heard people thank her for making x or y possible and wanted to emulate that.  I was 9-years old and banned from camp after catching the chicken pox when I announced I would be her “summer intern.”  We carpooled downtown all summer so I could make copies and answer phones.  My parents never asked or told us to get busy.  They showed us how.  And we followed suit.

•What have you gained by being a member of Blue Ribbon?

For me, the Blue Ribbon has two dimensions.  One is giving children across Los Angeles access to the world-class music, dance and drama I was fortunate to grow up with – which is ultimately what the Blue Ribbon and its members do.  The second is being part of a group my mother helped to lead, and my godmother, Olive Behrendt, helped to found. Olive was 100-percent dedicated to giving everyone in Los Angeles the inspiration of ballet, symphony and theater.  Every time I see a little girl dancing in her seat, or catch an usher keeping time with the music in the aisles at Hollywood Bowl, I feel a little closer.

•What have you learned from your mother about philanthropy that you hope to pass on to your children?

I’m not a mother, but fortunate to have some wonderful children in my life. I hope I’ve already started to help them understand there are families in Los Angeles who are food insecure, and whose neighborhoods aren’t safe places to live and play.  I don’t want to undermine their sense of safety, but want them to think about whether those children have ever felt the sand in their toes in Santa Monica or run their hands across the velvet seats at The Music Center.  And I want them to see there’s room for them to help.  At the moment I think it is easier for them to understand needs further from home.  So I’m helping them find their own joy from caring about and helping other children, whether from across town or around the world.  Last Mother’s Day my godchildren and I went online to find something fantastic to give their mother. We settled on a scholarship through Room to Read, which builds libraries and sends girls to schools in Asia and Africa. They clickedI paid.

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Beth Lowe (Mother-In Law of Christy Lowe)

•Were you brought up to appreciate the value of giving back and, if so, who instilled this spirit in you?

I can recall in the first grade “trick or treating for UNICEF” and feeling glad to help children less fortunate in the world in lieu of candies. As a Brownie Scout, we filled baskets of turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving for families who would not have had a feast otherwise. This belief was nurtured by my parents, teachers and my community.

•What have you personally gained from “giving back?”

Personally, I have gained a greater understanding and appreciation of the human condition and how gratifying it is to do one’s part in trying to enrich the lives of others. I am especially committed to do what I can to provide children with the means to achieve their potential. Arts experiences are sure to enhance their lives.

•What are some of the reasons that you joined Blue Ribbon and why did you encourage your daughter-in-law to join?

I joined the Blue Ribbon to nurture the arts in Los Angeles. Particularly, I am interested in the children’s programs the Blue Ribbon supports in addition to The Music Center’s residential companies. The Blue Ribbon members are talented, creative and committed to making a difference and I enjoy their companionship as we work together on our goals.

My wonderful daughter-in-law Christy Lowe is, just as I have described, amazingly talented, creative and committed. She has a history of giving back through involvement in the arts. I felt she would be an asset to the organization and enjoy the women as much as I do. She has the opportunity to connect with women from our county who represent a broad spectrum of interests and I have the added pleasure of working with her in a common pursuit of encouraging the enrichment of all souls.

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Christy Lowe (daughter-in-law of Beth Lowe)

•How/when were you introduced to the concept of “giving back?”

My parents and grandparents both were great examples for me in giving back. Growing up, we were active in our church’s youth program which included various activities helping the elderly and less fortunate. I remember my mom devoting many hours to raising funds and awareness for the arts in my hometown of Miami.

•How instrumental was your mother-in-law in sharing this concept with you?

My mother-in-law sets an amazing example for me, giving her time generously to several causes–always with a smile on her face. In addition to the tremendous work she’s done with First Five LA, promoting free preschool education, she has also been a supporter of the arts through the Blue Ribbon, among other organizations. I have always been a supporter of the arts and have contributed since my move to L.A. through involvement in the Venice Family Clinic’s Venice Art Walk.

•What have you gained by being a member of Blue Ribbon?

Beth and I always enjoy going to the theater together each year, which was how I became aware of the Blue Ribbon and the impressive contributions the organization makes. My favorite Blue Ribbon event is the Children’s Festival. Hundreds of school children from across the city descend upon The Music Center to see a performance –many for the first time. It is a real treat to watch the kids have that experience. The Blue Ribbon volunteers all look forward to that event and really make a difference for those youngsters.

•What have you learned from your mother-in-law about philanthropy that you hope to pass on to your children?

Beth is a model for my family and our children. She and Bob take each of our kids to Washington D.C. for one week in the year when they turn 8. They get a chance to learn about our government and understand how we can serve our country. That is an experience they will never forget and uniquely designed by a thoughtful set of grandparents.

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