This past weekend the Harold Robinson Foundation held its fifth annual Pedal on the Pier event, which raised over $800,000 to send inner-city kids to summer camp. My friend Lisa Brisse and her State of the Heart Fitness teams raised almost $7,000 for this great cause.

Fundraising is a time-consuming, physically draining process. I remember when I had to raise $3,500 to do the Montana AidsVaccineRide, I spent many hours on the phone talking to people to get them to donate. Then there’s the issue of whether you’re¬†donating to a good cause that really¬†helps or just giving money to some nonprofit that is actually just a front for a family of scam artists.

We’ve all recently seen the headlines alleging that one family was running four “cancer” funds, and they scammed thousands of people out of millions of dollars. It’s very difficult to suss out the truly helpful foundations from the ones that are just scams clothed in frothy emotional appeal and pictures of sick children. There are online resources like Charity Navigator, Givewell.org and CharityWatch.org, but even those I have to question because who’s to say they aren’t being bought off?

Charities are run by people, and sometimes those people are slimy.

Which is why in finding a charity to back, it is most helpful to know the people involved or who have had experiences with a particular charity. That’s why I like what my friend Dr. Jacqueline “Jackie” Yaris is doing this coming weekend at SoulCycle in Beverly Hills.

As a general practitioner Jackie loves to get into people’s lives and help them lead healthier, longer, happier lives. Sometimes she takes that on the road and goes to areas of the world that have little or no access to medical care on a regular basis. Jackie has been to Nepal on three different medical missions with Himalayan Healthcare. When the earthquake hit Nepal, she had friends who were hurt, lost homes, and have suffered terribly under the destruction that happened. She knew that she had to do something to help out.

Initially there was a lot of conflicting information coming out of Nepal, but as the dust cleared it became evident that decades worth of work had been destroyed, and they were going to need long term help rebuilding, literally from the road up. Jackie decided to help by raising funds for Himalayan Healthcare. The goal is for them to continue their missions and get medical supplies and help in to the earthquake damaged areas.

Jackie is an avid fitness lover, so she decided to do combine her passions and created a “ride” for Nepal. She approached SoulCycle to co-sponsor the event, and then she went to her employer One Medical, which¬†eagerly jumped on board to co-sponsor. One Medical is an innovative model in healthcare providers. They are leveraging the technology of today to increase patient-doctor communication, with an emphasis on building relationships and avoiding the ‘production line’ feel of many medical offices today. They are scheduling more time with their patients such as 45-minute physicals and 30 minutes for a normal appointment ‚Äî it’s a pleasant change for many patients. One of the greatest benefits of One Medical is they make great efforts to refer you to doctors that are in your insurance network, so that they and you aren’t wasting time on deadends.

One Medical is set to open an office this summer in Santa Monica at 525 Broadway with Dr. Richard Lee, who is a UCLA medical school graduate. Dr. Lee has a very warm and engaging personality and¬†took time to meet with me. “We’re really looking forward to opening this new office.” I saw the drawings and it has a clean but not sterile feel of hip style. The Beverly Hills office felt like I was in the lounge of a sophisticated European hotel. It was very calming and reassuring.

If you want to join One Medical in supporting Dr. Yaris and Himalayan Healthcare, you can sign up for a bike here. Click on the PayPal link to get your bike or even if you just want to make a donation. Write SoulCycle in the comments section. Bikes are $250 each, but any donation will help out this great non-governmental organization bring medical care to the deserving. The event is this coming Sunday, June 7, at 2 p.m.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles divorce and child custody lawyer¬†specializing in fathers’ and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.

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