William Lavoie

Beach Cities No. 753
Former Chairman of Engineering Department
at Los Angeles Valley College

By Ian A. Stewart

Read more interviews with generous donors to the California Masonic Foundation here.

California Freemason: I understand you give back to several organizations. What inspired you to get directly involved with these groups?
William Lavoie: After I retired, I just decided it was time to give back. My wife and I have been very lucky, and we wanted to give back to the community and issues we care about. I love to hike with the Sierra Club, so I donate my time to that. I’m involved with Interconnection Outdoors, which takes young people on hikes to introduce them to the outdoors, so we give to that. We set up a family foundation because we wanted to give back and that’s a good way to do it; it forces you to give your money away. Because it can be easy to not do it.

CFM: What other organization have you been involved with?
WL: There are probably around 50. Things like Heal the Bay, World Central Kitchen, Save the Redwoods League, the Sempervirens Fund. Doctors Without Borders, California State Parks, Feeding America, the International Bird Rescue, Marine Mammal Center. And several Masonic charities: We gave to the Shriners Hospital in L.A., and to the California Masonic Foundation during the fires in Northern California.

CFM: It seems like you have a soft spot for environmental and conservation efforts.
WL: I’ve always loved the outdoors. My mother and father used to take us camping in a little Pullman 15-foot trailer. Big Sur, Big Basin, the Redwoods, Yosemite. Just everywhere. I remember we visited the International Bird Rescue to release a pelican and some seals. We named her Poly the Pelican. I stuck my head down next to the entrance to the cage, opened it up, and said, You can go now! She didn’t want to come out.

CFM: What advice would you give someone who wants to give back but doesn’t know where to start?
WL: I’d tell them the best thing in the world is to give from the heart. To give to something they care about, whatever it is. Donate your time, whether it’s to the Rescue Mission of L.A. or the children’s hospital or the Shriners Hospital or rescuing birds and cats. This country wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for people who get out there and help.

To donate to the California Masonic Foundation, please visit masonicfoundation.org

Sye Williams

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