The pandemic has forced changes in how people and companies work, and has encouraged many to lend a hand. One Los Angeles entrepreneur found a way to do both through his business.
As COVID-19 hit Los Angeles last March, Daniel Smith, founder of JIMMYCASE (a wallet iPhone case) was eager to do his part. When Los Angeles County put out a call for help to make masks, Smith accepted the challenge. The former Hollywood executive pivoted from phone cases to mask production via a few local connections—including an introduction to a famous fabric supplier. Smith’s team quickly began production of masks, and then took their work one step further: to giving back to the community.
Covering the Community
When Smith learned that CommonSpirit had Community Health programs serving vulnerable populations were in desperate need of masks, he wanted to help. He was already a believer in the organization’s mission, as well as a fan of CommonSpirit’s Hello HumanKindness message. “I love it because it’s such a powerful way to connect people with the organization’s vision,” Smith says.
He worked with Ji Im, system senior director of community and population health, to donate and provide masks at a discount to critical community organizations providing essential services in the pandemic. More than 3,200 masks were provided to housing service providers and emergency food banks across California, Washington, Arizona and Nebraska.
“The safety of our community partners was a critical priority. These are individuals who are risking their lives to serve those experiencing homelessness or were food insecure or socially isolated when everyone had to shelter in place. Having expedited access to quality masks during the crisis meant keeping them safe and showing our appreciation for their service,” Im says. “Dan and the JIMMYCASE team worked urgently to deliver the masks to our partners. I can’t think of a better person to work with than Dan. He cares.”
Forging a Path for Giving
Once mask production ramped up across the nation and the shortage subsided, Smith found another way to serve: by giving directly to organizations in need, aided by connections from CommonSpirit Health.
“We were an organization that knew we wanted to connect better with the community. We had limited relationships with community organizations but hadn’t yet found our mission,” Smith says. “Our friends at CommonSpirit helped us on the journey to figure out what we could do and how to offer the best support.”
Im put Smith in touch with various local organizations, where they could make cash contributions based on their sales and keep supporting Los Angeles wherever possible.
“The impact on our organization of connecting with the community through CommonSpirit Health has been incredible,” Smith says. “It put us on a path that’s joyous, and we now have the infrastructure to be able to effectively give back.”