Flintridge Guild of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was founded on February 9, 1949 at the suggestion of Mrs. James Hawkins, one of ten women who resided in La Canada. These women patterned the Guild after a model, borrowed from a noted philanthropist for Children’s Hospital, Mrs. Gabriel Duque. Their purpose was “to assist Children’s Hospital through contributions of service and funds.”
Guild member’s chose officers and planned their inaugural benefit, The Camellia Tea. From the beginning Members collected salvage for the Hospital’s Thrift Shop. In the fall of 1949 to raise additional funds for the Hospital, the Guild held a buffet supper party. In 1950 the Guild participated for the first time in Doll Fair. For many years thereafter, the Guild sold chances on a gift-filled wheelbarrow at Doll Fair. Christmas card sales were added in 1956. During the early years, many other benefits were launched. These included a “Hawaii Calls” party, dinner dances at Annandale Country Club, and outings at Dodger Stadium. In 1970 the Guild initiated a Summer Barbecue. Members’ husbands cooked yummy steak dinners for hordes of hungry La Canadans. Held annually for the next seven years, these barbecues became a community tradition.
In 1977 Flintridge Guild began sponsoring the Flintridge Amateur Horse Show, held at Flintridge Riding Club. This four day event, an enormous undertaking, required year-long planning and much hard work. During the horse show years, the Guild significantly increased its contribution to the Hospital, and the size of its membership. In 1982 Verdugo Guild merged with Flintridge Guild, bringing the combined membership to 60 ladies. When Flintridge Riding Club took over management of the horse show around 1988, the Guild once again faced the challenge of finding another major fundraiser. In the early 90s members started the “Kids Classic” golf tournament, held at Brookside Golf Course. Hoping to augment golf tournament funds, the Guild initiated several smaller spring benefits including a Murder Mystery Party, a Showcase House Dinner, and mini-benefits hosted by individual members.
In 1992 the Guild created the “Bag Lady Luncheon” aimed at supporting Children’s Hospital Thrift Shop. Luncheon guests contributed a bag of gently used items in lieu of an entrance fee. Although the theme and format of this function evolved over the years, it continued to grow. Eventually known as the “Friendship Luncheon,” this event introduced community members to the Flintridge Guild and promoted awareness of Children’s Hospital.
In the mid 90s the hunt was on for a new annual benefit which would engage the members and raise substantial funds for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The Pleasant Company offered a solution with their scripted American Girl Fashion Show and tea. Every March for 18 years, the Guild hosted this three day event which entertained more than 2,000 guests and raised significant funds for the Hospital. Unfortunately, when American Girl opened a store in The Grove, Los Angeles, which offered performances, lunch, and tea, attendance at the Guild’s event dropped steadily over several years. By 2013 after an 18 year run, the Guild’s American Girl Fashion Show was no longer a viable fundraising option. Once again the Guild faced the challenge of replacing a previously successful fundraiser with something new.
The Guild tried several approaches. Moonlight and Moonshine in the fall of 2014 at the Thursday Club, La Canada, included a Western barbeque, gambling, and line dancing. In 2014 and 2015 “A Day in May” at the California Club, Los Angeles, offered a ladies’ luncheon, shopping from a variety of vendors, talks given by physicians and patients at Children’s Hospital, and something new, “The Sweet Shoppe”, with a large assortment of homemade and beautifully packaged candies, cookies, and snacks. In the fall of 2016, “A Day in May” morphed into “A Thankful Heart Luncheon” at the Altadena Country Club. This luncheon still includes boutiques, speakers, and the always fresh and ever expanding Sweet Shoppe which now sells handmade, ornamented boxes and trays, and even personalized pumpkins. After hosting Moonlight and Moonshine for three consecutive years, the Guild decided to move on. A renewed search for a major fundraiser began.
The Great Chocolate Race, now known as The Chocolate Race was born. Since its inception in 2016, this annual family affair has grown with each successive year, reaching 600 participants in 2018. The Chocolate Race offers a 2.5K and 5K walk/run through beautiful residential neighborhoods with chocolate treats and water at each pit stop, a breakfast following the race in Memorial Park, La Canada, a silent auction and fun activities for kids provided by Teens for the Advancement of Children’s Hospital.
With two very successful fundraisers on the horizon, “A Thankful Heart” Luncheon and Boutique on Wednesday, November 14, 2019, and The Chocolate Race on Sunday, May 3, 2020, Flintridge Guild of Children’s Hospital is able to easily meet its annual commitment to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Guild Members feel that their efforts are paying off in a worthwhile contribution to a very worthy cause.