Our History

Lighting the Way for 50 Years
In 1967, an enterprising group of women formed a nonprofit auxiliary to help raise funds for the Child Guidance Clinic of the South Bay Children’s Health Center in Torrance, California. Because their original fundraising effort was selling beeswax candles, they decided to call themselves “Las Candalistas” — The Candle Lighters. Committed to supporting children and the environment in the South Bay community, the group quickly moved beyond selling candles. The name, Las Candalistas, took on a new meaning as they became leaders in community service — expanding their fundraising activities and the philanthropies they served.

In 1969, Las Candalistas held its first fundraising event, an outdoor celebration of the South Bay’s environment and history with the theme “Walk on the Wild Side.” Held every spring thereafter, this popular fundraiser became the group’s signature and a fixture of the Palos Verdes peninsula community. The event’s continued success led the group to incorporate as an independent nonprofit organization in 1989.

Since its inception, Las Candalistas has donated millions of dollars to philanthropies focused on children and the environment in the Los Angeles South Bay community. We have also been recognized for our contributions and our ongoing partnerships with the philanthropies we serve. This recognition includes a 2012 Golden Circle Award from the Harbor-South Bay YWCA. Las Candalistas’ strong commitment to its mission continues, and we welcome new members, donors and sponsors. Please partner with us to make a difference in our South Bay communities.

Las Candalistas Receives Community Service Award

Congratulations to Las Candalistas! On May 24th, 2018, Las Candalistas was awarded the Community Service Award for 50 years of Service by the Palos Verdes Coordinating Council. Recognition certificates were awarded from the State Senate, Assembly, and Los Angeles County also.  Accepting the award are 2017-18 Chairman of the Board Shelley Pogorelsky and 2017-18 President Irene Almeida and 2017-18. Great work ladies!