Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Pfaffinger Foundation is a charity

The following message arrived this morning as a comment, I feel it's worth repeating for all to see as the Newspaper division prepares to separate from the broadcasting division on Monday August 4th, 2014 from SpinCo, also known as The Tribune Company.

Anonymous said...
The Pfaffinger Foundation is a charity founded by a person separate from the Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror, the Chandler family and/or the Tribune Company. It cannot be claimed as an asset of another entity since it is fully autonomous and supported and governed by itself. It can, however, have its assets and charitable outputs misdirected by those on the board who may be influenced by the entities listed above.

When it was founded, it was for the exclusive benefit of Times Mirror Company employees (TMC) and no one else. Spending (foundation giving) on anything other than TMC employees demonstrates how its giving has been mis-guided by board members who are influenced by the entities stated above.

It is also my understanding that the support it provides to TMC employees originally was to be long term and not just short term help. The desire to provide only short term help for financially challenged TMC employees is most likely driven by the desire to have available funds to support causes that help the entities above who load the board with officers who will do as they are told and support non-employee giving.

The way the foundation is being run today seems far from the desire that Mr. Pfaffinger had when he set it up, during a time of the Great Depression when he saw thousands suffering. What he wanted to do was to help during a time similar to the past 20 years. When so many TMC employees have suffered as the print paper's relevancy is dying, bundled with the effects of the Great Recession.

The real truth seems to be that the Pfaffinger Foundation proceeds have been hijacked for over 50 years at the loss of those he really wanted to help -- TMC employees. 

6 comments:

roger smith said...

Hi Ed:
This is my personal perspective on Pfaffinger, but I’ve also been a member of the volunteer board of the foundation for a couple years. I hope this background might be helpful to Times employees, ex-employees and retirees, who are the primary beneficiaries of the foundation.
Frank Pfaffinger, the former Treasurer of Times-Mirror, began the foundation with a bequest of slightly over $400,000. Grants started in 1945. Since then the foundation has given over $100 million. It has $80 million in assets which enables it to make over $3 million in grants each year.
The primary purpose of the foundation is to help Times-Mirror employees, ex employees, retirees, and their families who are in financial need. For the past 60 years the foundation has also given grants to local charities. Since the 1990s these grants have been focused on social service organizations, many of whom may also be able to help our ex-employees and retirees.
In making grants, Pfaffinger first seeks to help employees and ex employees who need assistance to get back on their feet. This follows Frank Pfaffinger’s philosophy that more good is done helping people “get over the hump” rather than spending larger sums in permanent support. However, the foundation does recognize the need for long term help. It currently supports over 100 retirees with long term assistance.
We encourage visits to our website www.pfoundation.org, and also encourage employees, ex employees and retirees to contact us if they are facing a financial crisis. This is a difficult time in the publishing business. The Pfaffinger Foundation plans to use it assets to help as many people in the former Times-Mirror family as it possibly can.

Best,
Roger Smith
LAT editorial 1977-2013

roger smith said...

This is my personal perspective on Pfaffinger, but I’ve also been a member of the volunteer board of the foundation for a couple years. I hope this background might be helpful to Times employees, ex-employees and retirees, who are the primary beneficiaries of the foundation.
Frank Pfaffinger, the former Treasurer of Times-Mirror, began the foundation with a bequest of slightly over $400,000. Grants started in 1945. Since then the foundation has given over $100 million. It has $80 million in assets which enables it to make over $3 million in grants each year.
The primary purpose of the foundation is to help Times-Mirror employees, ex employees, retirees, and their families who are in financial need. For the past 60 years the foundation has also given grants to local charities. Since the 1990s these grants have been focused on social service organizations, many of whom may also be able to help our ex-employees and retirees.
In making grants, Pfaffinger first seeks to help employees and ex employees who need assistance to get back on their feet. This follows Frank Pfaffinger’s philosophy that more good is done helping people “get over the hump” rather than spending larger sums in permanent support. However, the foundation does recognize the need for long term help. It currently supports over 100 retirees with long term assistance.
We encourage visits to our website www.pfoundation.org, and also encourage employees, ex employees and retirees to contact us if they are facing a financial crisis. This is a difficult time in the publishing business. The Pfaffinger Foundation plans to use it assets to help as many people in the former Times-Mirror family as it possibly can.

Roger Smith
LAT editorial 1977-2013

Anonymous said...

Well this ex TMC employee received over $17,000. to pay medical bills, medical equipment and insurance, last year when my insurance wouldn't. It wont pay your credit cards. nor should it.

Edward Padgett said...


The Pfaffinger Foundation has been very helpful to many current and former employees of the Los Angeles Times.

After my grandfather passed away the foundation was always available for my grandmother up until her passing, my grandfather was a truck mechanic for the newspaper.

My mother has been contacted by the Pfaffinger Foundation many times, be it written letters or phone calls, after my father passed away two years ago, he was a truck driver for the Times.

Many positive testimonies has been published on my blog from colleagues that have been assisted, after leaving the Los Angeles Times.

The anonymous writer is simply acting as a watchdog, which has sparked the attention of many.

Anonymous said...

The Pfaffinger Foundation was setup in 1936 by Frank Pfaffinger during the great depression to assist Times Mirror employees ONLY. And to quote Ray Tanner, past Pfaffinger Board Member, Treasurer and Secretary "Exclusively for Times-Mirror employees".

The first time Pfaffinger Funds were used for non-employee giving was at the end of the 1950's, after Mina Pfaffinger died, when Norman Chandler used its funds for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Harry Chandler Cafeteria at Caltech. This information is available in LA Times articles in the Proquest system available in many libraries. So don't take my word for it.

Since then the company has loaded the board with only company executives who use much of the money for giving that is related to the company and possibly other pet charities.

I do not believe that the Pfaffinger board has read the Articles of Incorporation, the Bylaws and especially the originally Trust Document dated Nov. 28, 1936 where Mr. Pfaffinger spelled out his desire to help ONLY TIMES EMPLOYEES.

This document used to be in the archives of the Attorney General's Charity database and in the Secretary of State's Archive but is now missing form both. The only copy of this document left in exsistance is being help by Steve Meier who will not let anyone see it.

Here are some quotes from documents and articles from the 1940's that explain what the Pfaffinger Foundation was to be used for:
"Exclusively for the Times-Mirror employees." - Foundation Library

“The net proceeds of the foundation are to be used for the financial relief or assistance of needy employees and former employees of the Times Mirror Company, and their relatives and dependents, whenever, and to the extent that such relief may, in the discretion of the trustees of the foundation, appear necessary or desirable.”
- Francis X. Pfaffinger

“His entire fortune is to go to a fund in perpetuity, which, under a board of control, will afford an income for benefit of newspaper employees.” - Times Article

“When 83, Pfaffinger announced that his entire personal fortune would be place in a fund in perpetuity, which under a board of control, will afford an income for the benefit of newspaper employees.” Times article

So, has the Pfaffinger Foundation help many people? Definetely
Has the Pfaffinger Foundation misused funds for things other that TMC employees? Most likely.

The Pfaffinger Foundation is the foundation of Times Mirror employees. This is not the foundation of the Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror, Tribune or the Chandlers. The employees of Times Mirror have no real representation on the board and many have suffered....some even have committed suicide.

Anonymous said...

There are also many infractions to the Articles of Incorporation/Bylaws.

It states that there are to be a total of 9 members on the board and there are currently 10.

It states no board member can be paid, but Mr. Meier is paid.

It states that the office of the Pfaffinger Foundation must be in the Times building on Times Mirror Square, but it is not.

It states that board members can serve a maximum of three years but I believe that most the board members have been there longer.

The foundation was to do nothing other than help Times Mirror Newspaper employees through times of financial hardship, but over the past 17 years, almost 40% of the giving has gone to charities that would have otherwise come from the Los Angeles Times income statement. It seems that foundation money has been used to improve earnings for the Los Angeles Times and the rich who own the company.

Every ex-Times Mirror employee who has been on unemployment, welfare, lost a home, a car, a family, a loved one, suffered from illness whether physical or mental should have been helped, not just for a month or two but until they could get back on their feet.

Millions and millions of dollars have been spent by the foundation for causes that were against the wishes of Frank Pfaffinger who wanted nothing but to help those suffering like the suffering he saw during the Great Depression.

It really doesn't matter whether they have used the money to help kids go to camp or help build the music center. The money was to go to the common newspaper employee who was at risk of ending up homeless, a suicide risk, or as risk of losing their family or the life they worked so hard for.

You cannot rationalize taking money from a foundation that was setup to help financially challenged newspaper employees to be used for a music center. It is wrong no matter how you look at it. And it continues today because 40% of the foundations giving is still going to non-employee giving.

Any board member who says otherwise is either naïve, without knowledge, simply uncaring or doing what a higher company power is telling them to do and say.

There are thousands who do not read this blog who may be living on the street. The Pfaffinger Foundation should be in constant contact with EVERY ex Times Mirror employee to ensure their health and wellbeing. But their desire to pretend the need is gone and therefore, they must use the money for something. Problem is the need is not gone. The needy are out there and need to be found and helped. Not just for Cobra. Not just for medical bills. Not just for financial counciling. But for keeping food in every ex-Times Mirror employee's cupboard and a roof over their head. At least until their retirement provides them support.

This was Frank Pfaffinger's wishes. It was not his wishes to have the son of his best friend use the money for frivolous ventures supporting arts that were enjoyed mainly by the rich in Los Angeles.

The board members should include ex employees who are not executives who want to enhance their resumes but ex employees who will ensure that those in need receive it for as long as it is needed.

Look past the rhetoric. The foundation has about $3 million of income every year from investments. Administration costs are almost 25%. So for every dollar they get, a quarter goes to paying for staff, cars, supplies, bonuses and other.

Why can't they put together a database that includes everyone from Times Mirror and then those who are eligible for Pfaffinger support? Because they need to keep focused on adjusting their giving guidelines to ensure they have money to use for their pet charities. Why can't we send out a mailer to EVERYONE who is eligible and make sure they are all okay? Not living on the street, living in poverty or have an illness that disables them?

Yes, the Pfaffinger Foundation has done a lot of good, but don't be fooled. They are not doing what they are supposed to do.