Greetings one and all! I wanted to let everyone know that through all of the craziness that has been going on locally, in the country, and in the world these past several months, that BALEAF has been here for both sworn and civilian employees of law enforcement agencies throughout the Bay Area. We have been able to assist eighteen families, so far, this year, giving out $33,000 in assistance!
For those of you who may not be aware of the history of BALEAF, the organization was established in 1999 as a means to assist law enforcement personnel and their families in their time of need. It was initially formed to assist the widows of San Francisco Police officers who had passed away from both natural causes and line of duty deaths. Former SFPD Lieutenant, Lynette Hogue, along with former SFPD Chaplain Mike Ryan, current SFPD Chaplain Sister Lillian Repak, and Diane Wolffe, one of the SFPD's Psych Pros, put together a Grief Support Group, and reached out to as many survivors that they knew about and had contact information for, and invited them to come to a meeting. Many came, and at one point, there were approximately 20 people attending the monthly meetings at any given time. For many of these survivors, it had been the first time that anyone from the Department had reached out to them since their loved ones had died!
During those meetings, they heard story after story about how financially impacted they were upon the death of their family members. There were delays in their final payout from the Department, as well as from insurance policies they had, and they had bills to pay. It put an additional strain on them that they shouldn't have had to deal with during their time of grief. Lynette and Mike, along with former Directors of the SFPD Behavioral Science Unit, Al Benner and Forrest Fulton, began discussing the possibilty of forming a non-profit organiztion to help these family members financially, not just for the SFPD, but for all Bay Area law enforcement agencies. Mike drew up by-laws and the application for non-profit status, and they were submitted, and accepted, and BALEAF was born!
BALEAF is proud to say that 100% of your donations made to the organization go directly towards assisting, both sworn and civilian members of Bay Area law enforcement agencies! Annual donations made by BALEAF's Board of Directors, pay for all administrative costs incurred by the organization throughout the year, along with some donations that are made specifically for that purpose.
Unfortunately, due to the corononavirus pandemic, BALEAF has had to cancel all of our upcoming fundraising events, including Law Enforcement Night with the Giants, the Sharks, a potential event with the Warriors, and even the annual San Francisco Police Memorial event. We're hoping to be able to do these events again next year; however, with the pandemic, everything is currently in a holding pattern.
Now, more than ever, I'd like to encourage everyone to consider choosing BALEAF as your recipient for your donations to the upcoming City & County of San Francisco's Combined Charities Campaign, if you're an SFPD member, or to any other Combined Charities Campaign going on for your agencies other than the San Francisco Campaign. Your donations will ensure that BALEAF will be able to continue to help officers, civilian members, and their families during times of death, sustaining a serious injury, or suffering a catastrophic event.
One of the benefits about donating through a Combined Charities Campaign is that it enables people to give money every month without having to worry about remembering to do so! A one-time donation is also an option. All donations made to BALEAF are tax deductible.
Finally, many individual members, union, and Departments will set up GoFundMe pages to assist an officer or family member when they're experiencing a hardship. Please remember that BALEAF is also available to set up a special fundraising drive for those members in need. Using BALEAF for that purpose, rather than setting up a GoFundMe account, will elminate any fees associated with those accounts, will ensure that 100% of your donation will go directly to that person or family in need, and gives the donor a tax write-off, to boot!
Please stay safe, and don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or need assistance. Our email is BayAreaLE1025@gmail.com, and any donations not associated with a Combined Charities Campaign can be sent to BALEAF at P.O. Box 31764, San Francisco, CA 94131. We hope that you never need us, but we're here if you ever do.