Santa Monica businesses are giving back to the community during hard times

By Kamala Kirk

While maneuvering the road to recovery, Santa Monica is recognizing and celebrating some of the businesses that are shining bright with the best intentions and putting “good work” into their reopening efforts. From hotels and museums to cafes and coffee shops, these are some of the local businesses that are doing for others:

Shutters on the Beach. The hotel has created Chrysalis kites to raise money and awareness for Chrysalis and the great things they do to create job skills and opportunities. Chrysalis is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the resources and support needed to find and retain employment. Chrysalis has five centers and locations in Southern California, including a Santa Monica center. Shutters on the Beach and Hotel Casa del Mar have been longtime hiring partners with Chrysalis. Shutters on the Beach guests and locals can support Chrysalis by purchasing a kite for $25 and all proceeds will go to Chrysalis. Kites are available for purchase at the Beach Activities Center located on the sand behind Shutters on the Beach.

Cayton Children’s Museum. The museum believes all children should have access to play opportunities and arts education, regardless of their background or abilities. They have designed the space to be a welcoming place for all children, youth and families to gather, share and learn. Cayton wants their young visitors to understand that they are all responsible for each other. Cayton’s guests will have the opportunity to visit the museum through the Cayton’s timed entry system, as well as the museum’s new pay-as-you-wish admission model for LA County residents. The new admission model will help the Cayton fulfill its mission of making play accessible for all. General admission tickets are $16 for non-LA County residents and can be purchased online. The Cayton is an initiative of ShareWell, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring creativity, social responsibility and empathy through arts education and discovery-based learning. For more than 30 years, ShareWell has strived to improve access and bring arts education with themes of social responsibility to all communities through museum programming and youth outreach.

La La Land Kind Café. Aside from coffee specialties, teas and an expansive food menu, the café serves kindness with the purpose of hiring foster youth plus spreading kindness. After learning about the staggering statistics of what happens to foster youth who age out of the system, La La Land executives were shocked into creating the We Are One (WAO) project in 2017. They set out to provide everything youth needed to become self-sustaining, happy adults. This meant providing help with housing, job placement, mentorship and therapy. For every city where there is a La La Land, there is a flagship store that runs eight-week internship programs for foster youth. During those eight weeks, they learn life skills, on the job training, customer service training and mentorship. At the end of eight weeks, youth can decide what they are passionate about and what career fields they want to go in. They are forever part of La La Kind Café’s WAO program to help them with job placement, housing, schooling and therapy.

Crudo E Nudo. Lenny’s Coffee and Commune at Crudo E Nudo is a vision brought to life by co-owner Leena Culhane. Lenny’s is a neighborhood outpost for caffeine, community, and a minimal but delicious breakfast menu. Proceeds from the morning program at Crudo E Nudo benefits nonprofits in need of their support, especially those combating food deserts, working to end the hunger crisis, and supporting intersectional environmentalism.