The Palo Alto Weekly awarded $353,000 in grants from the 18th annual Holiday Fund Drive to 55 nonprofit organizations at a reception Monday night, April 30.
The money raised included an anonymous $100,000 donation from a Palo Alto family foundation. The gift is largest donation ever received by the Holiday Fund.
"One of the most fabulous things that's ever happened in the 19 years we've been doing this just landed on our doorstep right as the year was coming to a close," said Palo Alto Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson.
He said the fund focuses on organizations that support children, youth and families. This year there were about 90 applications to grants.
"We easily could have funded twice as many, so these were not easy decisions," he said.
Funding recipients included the Downtown Streets Team, which received $15,000; grief-counseling organization Kara, which also received $15,000; and Mayview Community Health Center, which received $10,000.
Amy Drolette, co-chair of $20,000 grant recipient Project Safety Net, spoke at the reception. Project Safety Net aims to respond to teen suicides by developing a mental health plan for overall youth well-being.
"The greatest gift we can give to students is time," she said. "It's very vivid that we have a community that's very dedicated to helping the children of Palo Alto."
Drolette also introduced the project's new program director, Cristina Llerena.
Other speakers at the event included Jim Santucci of Kara, Liz Schoben of CASSY, an elementary school mental health counseling service, and Sarah Mummah of DreamCatchers, an organization that provides tutoring for low-income middle and high school students.
All three organizations received grants of $15,000. For nonprofits Kara and DreamCatchers, this year represents the first year in a three-year grant.
A lot of people don't realize that there are low-income families in Palo Alto whose parents didn't graduate from high school or middle school," said Sarah Mummah, executive director of Dreamcatchers. "This is a really impactful grant for us … It's really going to do wonders for our ability to continue to scale and improve our work within the Palo Alto community."
The Holiday Fund is a fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which serves as its fiscal agent, and receives support from the Packard, Hewlett, Arrillaga and Peery foundations in the form of matching grants.