Honoring Elegant Design: LA Diaper Drive

Caroline Kunitz is the leader and co-founder of LA Diaper Drive. She presented on behalf of the organization at the 2011 Social Innovation Fast Pitch competition and won the $20,000 Judges’ Award and the $20,000 LASVP Investee Award. Pictured Clockwise from Top-Right are: Caroline Kunitz, Elyssa Elbaz (LASVP co-lead Partner for LADD), Donella Wilson (LASVP co-lead Partner for LADD), and Diane Helfrey (LASVP Executive Director).

Caroline Kunitz is a cheerful, energetic, and dedicated mother of two who saw others in need and decided to take action. Over the last seven years, Caroline and the team of volunteers at LA Diaper Drive have created the second largest diaper bank in the country and the only one that uses diapers as an incentive to get low-income parents into life-improving classes.  And on May 18th, Caroline was recognized by The C.H.I.P.S. (The Colleagues Helpers in Philanthropic Services) for her dedication and service to children and families in need.

In a letter from The C.H.I.P.S. president, Cara Leonetti Esposito, Caroline was informed that each year The C.H.I.P.S. honors an individual who “exemplifies the dedication and sheer determination to assist children and families in distress.” She went on to say that Caroline “epitomize[s] the very best qualities of an individual who assists communities which manifest a deep need, often for services and products that we take for granted.” And Caroline herself says that she once took diapers for granted until she learned that one-third of all mothers in LA are struggling to provide diapers for their babies. “I had everything going for me as a mom.  I had a supportive husband, was financially stable, had taken every class and read every book, and being a mom was still the hardest thing I had ever done. I couldn’t imagine also having to worry about if I was going to feed my baby dinner or put a diaper on her. I couldn’t imagine doing all this [parenting] work and having these concerns on top of it.”

Caroline’s dedication to creating change in the lives of low-income families was honored at The C.H.I.P.S. annual spring luncheon featuring the Michael Kors Fall 2012 Fashion Show benefitting the Children’s Institute, Inc. at The Montage in Beverly Hills. While Michael Kors is known for creating minimal, sporty, and elegant designs, the elegant design of LA Diaper Drive comes from its simplicity.  Caroline says, “All I have to do is get diapers and pass them on. I just need to get the diapers. The [life skills] classes are already there.” Success for Caroline and LA Diaper Drive means, “Getting diapers to kids and getting parents to the classes they need and really want to go to.” Caroline says that some of these parents are working two jobs and using the diapers as an incentive is the extra push that gets them into the classes they want. “They’re good parents who want to be better parents.”

Caroline ended her acceptance speech saying, “On behalf of tushies across Los Angeles, thank you for all that you do for low-income families in this city.” Well, on behalf of the future of families in Los Angeles, thank you, Caroline.

You too can aid this amazing work by donating to LA Diaper Drive through their website. Thanks to connections they have made with the larger community, LA Diaper Drive receives a 75% discount on diapers they purchase. $1000 given to LA Diaper Drive can keep 29 babies in diapers and 29 parents in classes for an entire year. That works out to be less than $35 for an entire year’s worth of service to a family.

If you would like to get involved in LASVP’s efforts to help LA Diaper Drive get to the next level, contact Sarah at sarah.hill@lasvp.org.  Another fun way to help is to attend LA Diaper Drive’s 1st Annual Poker Tournament on June 16.

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