The UKares Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) charity whose aim is to raise money to provide emergency aid, assistance and advice to British and Commonwealth citizens living or transient in the Greater Los Angeles area who find themselves in times of hardship or distress. When No One Else Cares – UKares.
THE UKARES STORY
It all began with the story of Beth Grant* who was driving with her two children on the freeway. Without warning, her tire blew. She pulled over on the hard shoulder and got out to check on it. Unknown to her, her 12-year old son, Max, followed her and was hit by a passing car, which sped away, unidentified. Max was taken to hospital but, tragically, died soon after. His grief-stricken mother was unable to afford the hospital bills or a funeral. Amazingly, her friends pulled together to raise money to help with the expenses and give Max the proper, dignified burial he deserved. UKares could have helped.
Then we learned about Sarah Amery*, a lovely British lady who, while working freelance for a valet parking company, suddenly suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. She was hospitalized and is slowly recovering, but has a long road ahead of therapy and rehabilitation. Learning to speak again, strengthening her weakened muscles so that she can walk as before, has become her full time job. As with the young mother, friends rallied and collected around $20,000 and, whilst this relieved an enormous pressure, it was not a long-term solution. Sarah is doing amazingly well and is now walking. However, she is finding it difficult to find a job as her mental and motor skills are still weak. Her 18-year old son recently had to sell her car to help pay their rent and bills. UKares can help.
These two stories were the catalyst for a small group of concerned Brits in LA members to realize that relying on the good nature of their friends and local community wasn’t enough to provide an ongoing support network that UK and Commonwealth citizens living, working or transiting through the U.S. could turn to when a tragedy or emergency occurs out of the blue and through no fault of their own. It is our mission, with our team of talented volunteers, to put that right.
And so, UKares was born. In 2012, initial fundraising events were organized and the application for the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit status was submitted. Originally estimated to take a few months, unfortunately, the government shut-down and closer scrutiny of the flood of new applications caused an unexpected lengthy delay. However, we are thrilled to announce that approval for our nonprofit status was finally granted this past July (2014) and we are now excited to properly launch UKares during BritWeek in April 2015 and start doing some good work.
In July of this year, William Smith*, a 79 year old London man, who had lived in Southern California for years, found himself in circumstances leaving him homeless, confused and with an expiring visa. He was not in good health and needed to return to the UK but was penniless. By working with the British Consulate in LA, UKares was able to provide a ticket home. Having no family to take care of him, Mr. Williams was taken under the wing of the Social Services Department who met him on his arrival in London. UKares did help! – and, with your help, we can do more!
By making a donation (which is 100% tax deductible) to our fundraising campaign, you can help us in our mission to make sure that, when a disaster or tragedy happens to one of our fellow UK and Commonwealth citizens, we can come to the rescue when no one else can. No one expects the unexpected and it could happen to any one of us. From providing a ticket home, to helping with medical costs, to giving help and advice. When No One Else Cares – UKares.
* names changed for client confidentiality
MARC CONNEELY – Chairman and Founding Member
Marc Conneely launched MTV across the world, starting in Europe and becoming President MTV China. He also ran New Corp’s Pay-Per-View business, based in London. He launched his own business, Wedding TV, which went on to become a highly successful network and won ‘Best Specialist Channel 2008′. He is based in Los Angeles, California and is President of the home organizational product company, Ganizer (www.ganizer.com). Marc has been Chairman of the UKares Foundation since it was formed in 2012.
CRAIG YOUNG – President and Founding Member
Craig Young was born in Nottingham, England and moved to the U.S. in 1999 after successful careers as a recording artist and as a television actor. Having experienced the challenges of moving abroad firsthand, in 2007 Craig established the online social community Brits in LA, which quickly became a resource for recent expats, bringing together the British community in Los Angeles. UKares was inspired out of necessity when Craig was contacted directly (and often) by individuals who were in need of assistance.
Craig is dedicated to the cause of UKares and is extremely proud of the team that continues to work tirelessly on its behalf. His goal for UKares is to ensure that individuals or families from the UK and commonwealth countries have a helping hand through assistance and guidance in times of difficulty and transition.
Craig has enjoyed a career both in front of the camera and behind it with more than 40 TV credits to his name, including CHARMED, LOST, NCIS:LOS ANGELES and HAWAII 5.0. More recently, he has moved into directing and producing. Craig also worked in TV development for five years with Mike Sullivan Productions.
FIONA HARDEN – Chief Executive Officer
Fiona and her family made Los Angeles their home in 2012, having spent over 30 years living and working in the UK, Cyprus, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. Passionate about getting involved and making a difference in these diverse countries, Fiona became heavily involved in community projects and organizations (including the Tokyo International Players, Tokyo British Embassy Choir, International Festival Singapore Chorus, St. David’s and St. George’s Society). Heading up and being part of various boards she helped raise funds for important local charities and larger global ones, such as Make A Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF.
A qualified Interior Designer for many years, Fiona has recently acquired her California Realtor license. She loves the creative, entrepreneurial spirit of Los Angeles and is excited to work with such a talented team who share the vision of building a much needed foundation that can support fellow UK and Commonwealth compatriots, whilst also giving back to the local community.
MARINA PAGANUCCI – Chief Operating Officer and Founding Member
Marina Paganucci was raised in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore and considers herself a true ‘citizen of the world.’ She now calls Los Angeles home, along with her husband, teenage daughter and two rescue dogs. She is an enthusiastic founding member of the UKares team and hopes to make a great impact on fellow expatriates in the City of Angels. Marina has been living in Los Angeles since 2008.
She is also owner of 360digitaltalent, an executive search firm focused on digital media talent based in Los Angeles. During her career, she has worked for major international recruitment companies and has been a corporate leadership trainer, career and life coach to many. One of her other key goals is to build and develop transformational coaching programs for kids and teens.
SANDRA MCCLEAN – Treasurer and Founding Member
Sandra was born and raised in Colchester, England and lived in London and Hong Kong before moving to LA ten years’ ago. She spends much of her time fundraising for local LA charities and is currently on the board of the Southern California Counseling Center, an organization committed to providing professional counseling services to families and individuals in an affordable, compassionate environment and FreshstArt, a one -night art exhibition and sale which funds programmes that provide arts-related therapies to children designated “at risk”. It also provides potential art collectors with a personal collection to both established and emerging artists.
She spent her first employment years working in advertising agencies in London then embarked on a 15-year career in magazine publishing working on such illustrious titles as Cosmopolitan, Smash Hits, Q, Empire and Premiere culminating in her being Publisher/board member at Emap Metro.
Sandra can be found skiing powder in winter and playing tennis in summer. She lives happily with her three children and two dogs in West LA.
WE’VE JUST GOT OUR 501 (c) 3 STATUS! PARDON OUR APPEARANCE WHILE WE WORK ON BRINGING YOU a BRAND NEW WEBSITE
“When No One Else Cares – UKares”