ABOUT US

OUR MISSION

To address daily survival and the truths that cause homelessness we focus on the first mile

The Giving Spirit provides direct tangible aid and educates communities on how workable solutions informed by direct community engagement and our common humanity can alleviate and ultimately end homelessness leading the “first mile” of care and learning.

The first mile of care provides immediate, tangible aid to the unhoused by serving through direct outreach in the form of diverse “survival kits” containing essential life-sustaining aid

The first mile of learning, engages, and educates individuals, businesses and communities through curated platforms on the human face of homelessness, its myths and realities. Our programming brings faces, stories and powerful relevant data to better inform communities on the root causes of homelessness.

OUR STORY

Upon moving to Los Angeles in 1996 from Washington DC, Tom Bagamane realized that his efforts in serving the homeless every winter in DC were desperately needed in his new hometown. Engaging three other volunteers in December of 1999 he set out to serve 40 individuals in West Los Angeles to help them survive and to learn why, in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, thousands were abandoned by society with no apparent value.

His compassion to serve the poorest of the poor with hope and sustenance and his thirst for knowledge to empower and engage others combined with his successful entrepreneurial experience continues to impact Greater LA in the organization’s 25th year. The Giving Spirit has directly served over 94,000 lives with the help of 24,000+ volunteers and staff.

Come Join Us! #theyareus

IT TAKES AN INFORMED VILLAGE

The homeless crisis is a complex problem it takes an engaged community to solve it. That’s why The Giving Spirit continues to prioritize a trailblazing approach to homelessness by building understanding and community involvement through innovative educational programming for individuals, groups, and businesses.

We are proud to say that we remain one of the most successful and respected organizations serving LA’s unhoused and their communities.

OUR FOUNDER: TOM BAGAMANE

Tom founded The Giving Spirit in 1999 and has led as CEO ever since – mobilizing stakeholders and volunteers. Tom leads the charge, providing them with a comprehensive platform to meet the needs of our unhoused neighbors.

With over 30 years of entrepreneurial executive experience, venture capital, private equity, and owner-financed product companies, Tom has used his diverse set of business skills to grow The Giving Spirit from a local initiative into a renowned organization. He received his MBA from George Mason University’s School of Business and his BA from Virginia Tech University. Both of Tom’s alma maters have recognized him for his humanitarian work with the unhoused community, and he’s received commendations from the Office of the Mayor and the City Council of Los Angeles in 2015 and 2019.

OUR GROWTH IN IMPACT

1999 

2001 

2002-2016 

2017 

2015-2017 

2019 

2020 

Covid-19 

2021 

2022 

2024 

1999

Winter Outreach is born – Tom and three volunteers serve 40 lives over a week in West LA

2001

The Giving Spirit is granted 501c3 (nonprofit) status

2002-2016

The organization expands its Outreach and educational efforts surpassing 55,000 lives served and 15,000 volunteers engaged

2017

We expand to introduce educational outreach and empathy building, encompassed by our “First Mile of Learning.” We launch our Companion Animals Program, based on studies that show that companion animals play an important role in their homeless caretakers’ survival. Learn More <<Link>>

2015-2017

Begin transition from all-volunteer leadership to hiring first staff members

2019

We surpass 70,000 lives served and the 20,000 volunteer mark

2020

Declared First Responders by the City of Los Angeles we re-engineer our model to increase impact despite lack of volunteers and no direct outreach

COVID-19 didn’t stop us from making history…

  • 10,000 Lives Project – Served 10,000 unhoused lives with robust Health+Safety kits full of rare PPE, hygiene, personal care items – and 10,000 handmade Friendship Cards sent from all over the state and country – through LAHSA, the YMCA and the United Way. Serve all 4500+ inhabitants of City’s Project Room Key program. Personally recognized by Mayor Garcetti and Councilman Bonin.
  • Launched our LAUSD Homeless Student Program in partnership with the Home Education Office of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Served 3000 unhoused K-12 student with Essential Learning Kits – curated backpacks filled with essential age-appropriate, school supplies, PPE and hygiene and personal care items for remote students and their families. Learn More <<Link>>
  • Launch our Women+Girls Initiative to serve the unique needs and provide understanding of LA’s growing female homeless population. We directly serve 3000 unhoused women and girls with Health+Personal Care Kits. Learn More <<Link>>
  • In total – during the height of the pandemic The Giving Spirit expanded its operation to serve 20,000+ unhoused human and animal lives – with handfuls of volunteers and a CDC-compliant protocol

2021

The first Giving Spirit Youth Council cohort is Chartered.  Five accomplished youth leaders committed to service, invested in the alleviation of poverty in Los Angeles and devoted to the mission of The Giving Spirit. Learn More…

2022

Began research and development of proprietary digital curriculum on poverty and homelessness

A Professor and a Dean from Harvard Business School offers to advise and counsel on the development of the innovative learning model. “if (The Giving Spirit) gets (the learning model) right, you will change the way people learn,” Professor Burns-Thompson.

Present Restarted Public Outreach – volunteerism has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Focusing on one public event each December and multiple curated private events throughout the year.

2024

Launching of first course “Youth Homelessness” in our curriculum

  • Launch proprietary digital learning platform besocialchange.us

Pope Francis’s secular organization, Scholas Occurrentes is our first partner on the platform