Note from Neil:

Thank you to everyone who sent me notes after the Ventura County Star article this morning.


There’s been a bunch of questions, which I thought I would just answer here.

The City of Westlake Village is giving $500 to the charity of my choice. And, I have selected the Triunfo YMCA’s Strong Kids campaign (formerly known as Family to Family). This program focuses on those who cannot afford to send their kids to camp, or take part in Indian Guides, or any one of the programs the Y offers. It’s local, and it’s about kids … and that just screamed out to me as the right place to direct the donation.

This week, and over the past year and a half, I’ve gotten scores of queries about donations, ads or offering subscription fees to Westlake Revelations. I’ve never wanted to do this, and still do not want to, as Westlake Revelations is simply my contribution to the community.

But there are ways to give back. So, if you have valued Westlake Revelations or some other effort, you are welcome and encouraged to make a tax deductible donation to this kid-focused program (Strong Kids) as well. Any and all amounts are appreciated.

Simply go to ( or you can call the Y directly at 818-707-9622, and make a donation over the phone.

More information below from the Y about their Strong Kids Campaign.

Youth of the Year

It’s important to note that there is a “Youth of the Year” voted upon as well.
Andrew Schmidt will receive this year’s Youth of the Year Award. Andrew is in his senior year at Agoura High School where he’s an honor student. Additionally, Andrew is a Boy Scout and was recently inducted into the Order of the Arrow, honor organization. He is a charter member of the Agoura High Schools’ Interact Club and volunteers for Meals on Wheels. Andrew will receive a $500 scholarship as part of this recognition.


The presentations for these awards will be made at the City Council meeting on Wed, May 14th, 2008, at 6:30pm. The Council Chambers are at Westlake Village City Hall, 31200 Oak Crest Drive, Westlake Village, CA 91361.

This is a public meeting, so you are welcome to come.

About the Triunfo YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign

Here’s information from the Y about the Strong Kids Campaign.

“All around us we see images of children in need. These needs come in many forms — from food, clothing and shelter, to guidance and support. Whatever the needs, the Triunfo YMCA is committed to improving the lives of the children and their families in our communities by providing safe places, caring and trained staff, and programs that teach life skills. The Strong Kids Campaign ensures that all children who wish to participate in the Triunfo YMCA’s programs are able to do so.

Frequently asked questions:

Is my contribution to the Strong Kids Campaign tax-deductible? Yes, all gifts to the YMCA are 100% deductible for any individual who itemizes his/her deductions. For those who do not, these tax savings have already been included in the standard deduction.

Why does the YMCA charge fees for its programs? It is the philosophy of the YMCA that those who can afford to support the cost of a program in which they participate should pay a fee, and those who cannot should be provided with assistance. This allows the YMCA to offer a much wider range of programs than it could if it relied solely on contributions. Annual support contributions, including those made to the Strong Kids Campaign, make it possible for everyone to participate regardless of their ability to pay.

Can gifts to the Strong Kids Campaign be made over the course of a year? Yes, for many, a pledge is the preferred method to make a generous gift. It allows a donor to pay now or later, or spread payments over a period of time. Pledges can be paid monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or in one lump sum any time during the year.

How much of what is contributed to the Strong Kids Campaign stays in the community? All of it! All contributed dollars are used for programs in the communities served by the Triunfo YMCA. This includes Westlake Village, Oak Park, Agoura Hills and Calabasas.

Who decides how contributions to the Strong Kids Campaign are to be used? Volunteer board members — people who live and work in the Triunfo YMCA area — approve the annual operating budget and regularly monitor revenues and expenses over the course of each fiscal year.

May I visit the programs that you are asking me to support? Yes, donors are welcome to visit our program sites. We will gladly arrange a tour of child care, senior programs, or others that may be of interest to you.”

Simply go to ( or you can call the Y directly at 818-707-9622, and make a donation over the phone.