June 18, 2017


A message from our Founder and Chairman, Brian WerdesheimBrian Werdesheim

Since 2005, The Summa Children’s Foundation has enjoyed a proud tradition of supporting Los Angeles based charities dedicated to improving at-risk youth through their highly targeted funding for organizations. These foundations lacked the fundraising muscle and visibility to grow and accelerate their educational, social and health driven initiatives.

As with any organization, we discussed our changing world and sought a new direction for our work.  And so, with a new name and a new mission, The Banyan Foundation was born. We are excited to launch the organization’s first Youth Leadership Council in the Fall of 2017.

The mission of the Youth Leadership Council is to promote sustainable improvements in our community through youth leadership, philanthropy and social enterprise.  Our new mission moves away from fundraising for charities and engages in grant-making for organizations that make sustainable, measurable and scalable change in LA. We move away from adult leadership towards youth leadership with adult mentorship and we move away from event based fundraising towards philanthropy as a way of life.  In addition to identifying individuals and organizations making an important social impact in Los Angeles, the Youth Leadership Council will collaborate and create their own social enterprise designed to address significant social or environmental problems in LA County.

We believe that today’s youth are a great source of insight and knowledge about issues affecting community well-being.  Consequently, we provide our Youth Leadership Council members with authentic opportunities to voice their opinions, test their ideas and make meaningful decisions.  This is a bold mission but we are uniquely suited to take it on.  Our board members and strategic advisors bring a wealth of experience, resources and access to proven business leaders, philanthropists, educators, community activists and highly specialized professionals.  These individuals will provide hands on experience to our Youth Leaders by facilitating workshops and providing direct mentorship.

On behalf of the Banyan Foundation, I am pleased to invite you and your family to join us in our new mission.  Our Youth Leadership Council will be comprised of like-minded students with various interests and skill sets who care deeply about their community.  It will be a unique opportunity for your child to develop important personal and professional skills through mentorship, peer networking and community engagement.  If this sounds like something that your child should be a part of we should talk.

As we build our membership, we acknowledge with gratitude the number of you that would like to contribute to our Foundation.  You can do that by clicking the Donate link on the home page, or by sending a check to The Banyan Foundation, PO Box 3336, Santa Barbara, CA 93130.

Please note our 501 (c) (3) number: 57-1222563.

Thank you!