In 1982, a group of Laguna Beach citizens were drawn together by a common concern for frail seniors in the community who were struggling to remain independent in their homes. A move to institutional living was on their horizon because they no longer had supportive transportation to medical appointments or to shop for food and other essentials. Many of these seniors had given a great deal to others in their lives, but now lacked family members who could provide support and transportation.
The idea of providing a transportation service for these frail seniors on a regular basis so they could remain in their homes and retain their independence and self-esteem was conceived by three community members. This group included Trudy Oster, with Assistance League Homemaker Service, Jane Mortimer, who had extensive experience with Laguna FISH group, and Walter von Gremp, who had read about the challenges facing seniors in the local newspaper.
They were joined in this enterprise by Liz Gapp, who volunteered her time and family station wagon to start the program. Soon it became apparent that the need was extensive and could not be met on a regular basis simply by volunteers. Walter and Ann von Gremp generously provided significant financial support to hire part-time employees and the new non-profit was named Sally’s Fund in honor of Walt’s beloved mother who had recently died. It became a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity in 1986.
Sally’s Fund rapidly became a prominent senior service organization in Laguna Beach. With donations and financial support from local churches, service clubs, corporations, businesses, foundations, individuals, and the city of Laguna Beach, today Sally’s Fund has developed into a full-time service organization with three employees and three vehicles.
For over thirty four years, Sally’s Fund has operated efficiently and economically. The staff work within a budget and do not practice deficit financing. The mission has steadfastly been, “To make it possible for the seniors citizens of Laguna Beach to continue living independently by providing transportation and other essential services, thereby enhancing the quality and dignity of their lives.”