After Becky Nguyen’s brother-in-law lost a difficult battle with cancer, she strived to learn more about the illness in her community. She soon discovered that the Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation was the only organization that served her community with culturally and linguistically appropriate information and services.
Today, Nguyen serves as the executive director of the Vietnamese American Cancer Foundation, a small nonprofit geared toward the Vietnamese community in Orange County. Last year, the organization served over 2,200 people through various health screenings for breast and cervical cancer as well as hepatitis B and C.
“The clients we serve are from lower socioeconomic backgrounds,” she said. “We needed to reach out to others who can give back to the community and lend a helping hand so we can continue to educate the community about cancer and early detection, and provide services to those living with cancer.”
When Nguyen learned that Southern California Edison (SCE) was holding a community forum and capacity building workshop in Garden Grove recently, she jumped at the chance to learn about funding opportunities and to network with other nonprofits.
SCE’s community forums support diverse and underserved communities by providing information on its various programs and services, including energy efficiency, grants, advanced technologies and supplier diversity opportunities. The workshops are open to community organizations, faith-based groups, small businesses and residential customers.
“I’ve had several SCE representatives approach me and offer to support our work. This is a whole new experience for us,” said Vicki McGuinness, a first-time participant at one of the forums.
McGuinness is the executive director of Disaster Resource Alliance, which supports a network of churches in Orange County on disaster preparedness. She found the panel on SCE’s emergency preparedness and public safety programs, the Prepare SoCal panel and the Garden Grove Police Department’s CERT program most relevant to her organization’s mission and goals.
Tammy Tran, SCE senior community liaison of Strategic Engagement, emphasized the importance of making connections at the forums.
“Through our panels, capacity building workshop and the information booths we have set up for SCE programs and our community partners, participants are able to make real connections here,” she said. “That’s what we want for the community forums. It’s about making those connections so people can build and develop relationships with one another.”
SCE’s recent community forum also included a grants panel, which allowed participants to learn about fundraising strategies and meet potential funders, including Edison International.
Since 2010, SCE has hosted 48 community forums in the utility’s service area. The next community forum will take place in Long Beach on Oct. 17 at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Houssel’s Forum from 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
“SCE enjoys being part of the community and partnering with nonprofit groups,” said Larry Labrado, SCE director of Local Public Affairs. “We hope that our communities know that we are here for them whenever they need and are supported by SCE.”
To learn more about SCE’s community forums, visit www.sce.com/CommunityandRecreation.