“Relocating Assets” for Pasadena Magazine

Former councilman Sid Tyler finds a second career in philanthropy

January 2010

After working for three Fortune 500 companies and serving 12 years on the Pasadena City Council, Sid Tyler is now lending his financial expertise to the Pasadena Community Foundation.

A hot commodity, Tyler was recruited by the foundation upon announcing his city council retirement in 2009 and began serving on the board in January 2010.

The Pasadena Community Foundation has also made a significant impact on the city since beginning in 1953. Most notably, the foundation awards yearly grants to various local non-profits, but it also helps people set up charitable funds such as endowments and memorial funds.

Tyler was chosen to be on the foundation’s Financial Committee and the Audit Committee, each responsible for different aspects of the $24 million in assets over 200 charitable funds. The general board also reviews and makes site visits to grant applicants.

“I’m not an accountant,” says Tyler, “but I learned a lot (at my previous jobs) with respect to accounting and financial management, fiscal controls and working with auditors to understand how financial statements are constructed and how they can be constructed to mislead.”

Specifically, Tyler hopes to promote the charitable funds people can set up through the foundation, as opposed to the costly and time-consuming alternative of setting it up themselves.

“Many of those funds are invested in the market and the Finance Committee is in charge of the relationship with our investment management firm to prudently invest the assets and hope they benefit from market growth over time,” says Pasadena Community Foundation executive director Jennifer DeVoll. “The committee also has a role in establishing the foundation budget, which addresses operations and grants. Sid has a very strong business background where he has dealt with a lot of these issues before and we value that as well as his community experience and knowledge of the community,” says DeVoll.

Two years ago the foundation defied its usual one-year grant tradition and allocated $150,000 a year for three years toward a youth initiative to help reinvent John Muir High School, following reports of a high drop out rate and Muir possibly undergoing sanctions for poor performance.

Because sleep is overrated, Tyler also chairs the Oversight Committee for the Measure TT bond that passed on the Pasadena ballot last November, contributing $350 million to PUSD’s deteriorating school campuses.

“He knows what some of PUSD’s priorities are in terms of investing in infrastructure of different schools,” says DeVoll. “In our involvement with John Muir High School specifically it is good to have his perspective on the money they are being sent to invest in the schools.”

On the other end of the age spectrum, the Pasadena Community Foundation also supports organizations that benefit seniors.

Funds have assisted, among others, an organization that provides daycare for family members suffering from Alzheimer’s and an affordable housing apartment building in Pasadena that received upgraded technology for seniors.

“Those grants touch on healthcare and Sid has experience in corporate healthcare and in the city council, since the city has a senior commission,” says DeVoll.

So don’t expect to see Tyler in the bingo halls just yet. He very well may be the busiest person in retirement.

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