In these times of chronic deficits and belt-tightening in which we're too often told that to continue to operate in the fashion that our expanding government has become accustomed, we have no choice but to pay more and receive less for even the most basic of government services, it's refreshing to highlight an old-school approach still occurring in countless communities. It's one that takes a "what can I do," rather than an "it will cost you" approach.

This bedrock American value has rewarded our communities with economic growth, prosperity and charity, making our country what it is today. What "outdated" approach is this? It's the unleashed power of the individual, coupled with the entrepreneurial, innovative and generous spirit of the local business community. Rather than waiting for others to act, these local leaders march forward to serve our local communities.

While such efforts are frequent, their stories are too often untold. A local group, Costa Mesa United, http://www.cmunited.com, of which you may not be aware, is impacting lives of many young people in our community through its foundation, which awards monetary or in-kind grants to Costa Mesa nonprofit youth sports organizations for projects of a permanent nature.

Its motto is, "When our sports have the fields, nets, backstops, lights and access to training facilities — they succeed." To date, Costa Mesa United has raised more than $1 million, enriching our community with more than $600,000 in grants. Those benefiting from new weight facilities at Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools, and many other youthful sport participants, can thank Costa Mesa United for its efforts.

All of this has been accomplished through the tireless work of a diverse group of local individuals: business, philanthropic and community leaders, working with others who want to serve and make our community better for the next generation.

The primary funding for these efforts comes from Costa Mesa United's annual golf tournament and banquet, the largest youth fundraising event in the Costa Mesa community. Last year, it raised $146,000, and this year, the 2013 Mesa Verde Classic Charity Golf Tournament, set for Monday, hopes to do even better. Much time, treasure and talent are contributed to make this event the success that it has become.

Refreshingly, these unique American institutions of local business and civic-minded residents continue to ask not what their city can do for them, but what they can do for their city. For this, Costa Mesa and its young residents are the richer.

TIMOTHY SESLER, an attorney, was recently appointed to the Costa Mesa Planning Commission.