Today the Venice Paparazzi spotlight shines on Badge of Heart’s founder and LAPD Officer Ken Lew.
Tell us about the work your organization does and the programs you run?
Badge of Heart is a 501(c)(3) non profit that’s designed to partner with the community to help police officers sponsor families in need (financial hardship & victim’s of crime). Our focus is to provide resources and assistance to officers who come across victim’s of crime and family hardship. Badge of Heart desires to connect officers with the opportunity to help others directly with either physical or financial burdens. We strive not only to give relief, but to show compassion to the people in our community.
How did the organization start? Where did the idea or inspiration come from?
To be honest, the organization began with onsite experience and an idea. Throughout my 29 years in LAPD as a patrol officer, I’ve been to thousands of homes throughout south, west, and downtown Los Angeles. I’ve seen many families struggle financially and emotionally. These are hard working families, including single moms, that just need a helping hand. I wanted to find a way to help and motivate these families in the right direction. In 2014 Badge of Heart was created. Since then we have helped over 1,900 families. This includes our annual turkey basket giveaway that helps out 500 families per year. Our goal is to help over 3,000 families by 2020.
How did you come up with the name of your nonprofit?
I wear a badge and we have a heart, thus Badge of Heart.
What would you say is the best thing about your organization?
The ability to help those in need. The smiles, cries and thank you’s that I hear are priceless, as are the emotions that we see on an individual basis and during our events, as well as the feedback that we hear from our community and business leaders.
What have been your biggest challenges?
Like most nonprofits, raising funds and finding good people for my team is the biggest challenge. Year after year we have increased our outreach, however, the funding has remained the same. Increased funding can really propel us into helping more of our Community.
How long have you been in business, and how has your organization changed or grown over time?
Badge of Heart started in the Q4 of 2014, and we have grown every year.
What are your goals for the next three to five years?
To continue our business model and add additional events to raise brand awareness. Year after year more officers and community members are reaching out to us for resources. We will continue to provide as long as our budget allows.
What support do you need? How can one help your organization?
Any help from Venice Paparazzi is appreciated. Most of the families we help are from the areas of Venice, Mar Vista, Palms, Del Rey and Westchester.
Every week, Police Officers and sometimes the community come to us seeking assistance to help a family in need. The needs ranges from food to housing assistance. Our job would not be possible without the assistance from the community. We are seeking sponsorships/donations from individuals, business owners and corporations to establish a $50,000 endowment fund for 2019. Annual corporate sponsorship and donations can really propel us going forward. The higher the budget, the more we can help. If you are interested please email me at [email protected] Any amount will make a difference.
A FEW PERSONAL QUESTIONS:
5 keys to success: Waking up, having a roof over your head, being with your family, having a job, and food on the table.
What advice would you give someone starting their own non profit?
You must put in 40-60 hours a week. I put in 80 hours a week, including my 40 hours at work. You must be patient, persistent and never get discourage when you hear the word “no!” You must eat, breath and think about your business 20 hours a day, including in your sleep. No kidding! When I have time, I do Bikram yoga and get massages.
Favorite affirmation, mantra, or quote?
Smile, it doesn’t hurt.
Favorite book, band or movie?
- Band: Above and Beyond
- I also enjoy classical music.
Where do you find inspiration?
My Dad and myself.
How do you treat yourself on your days off?
What days off? LOL. But when I do find the time, Bikram Yoga and the gym. I also enjoy trying different foods, and like to do overnight trips.
What’s one thing we can do to make the world a better place?
Wave, smile and say thank you.
Anything else you want to share about yourself to the world? Fun facts or accomplishments.
I enjoy good food and hanging out with good hearted, funny, down to earth people.
Describe Venice: Great history, beautiful canals, wonderful people, and once a clean beach.
Describe your perfect day in Venice: Seeing the sunset and sunrise at Venice Beach on duty.
Favorite Venice go-to spots? Since I work graveyard shift most of the eating spots are usually closed. I need someone to show me good eating spots while I’m off duty. I like to let my hair down. LOL.
HOW CAN ONE FIND YOU?
- Website: badgeofheart.org
- Twitter: twitter.com/badgeofheart
- Instagram: instagram.com/badgeofheart
- Facebook: facebook.com/badgeofheart
- Email: [email protected]