Editorial: Holiday Fund gifts focus on those in needBeyond the trim, tree-lined streets of Palo Alto are families with children who may not have enough to eat, or adequate clothing or may have a shortage of appropriate books to read. These and many others who just need a helping hand are among those reached every year by one of the 50-plus nonprofit organizations that are supported by the Weekly's annual Holiday Fund drive, which last year raised more than $350,000 from readers and generous foundations.
We urge readers to continue their strong support of the Holiday Fund, which is underway now, for despite the slowly improving economic conditions in the Silicon Valley, there is need for help right here in our own community or in neighboring East Palo Alto. Donations received before mid-January will help us reach our goal of $350,000.
A key advantage of supporting the Holiday Fund is knowing your gift will be doubled by matching funds provided by the Hewlett, Packard, Peery and Arrillaga foundations, as well as proceeds from the Weekly's Moonlight Run. Due to this generous help the Holiday Fund can help make a significant difference in a broad array of organizations, like the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula and Breast Cancer Connections. The successful grant applications received last year survived a thorough vetting process conducted by the Weekly. Fifty-five organizations made the final cut and received grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 all the way up to $20,000 for Project Safety Net for a specific project.
We believe our readers are up to the task. In terms of value, both human and financial, there is no better investment. All grants benefit children and families, and there are no overhead costs — so 100 percent of every donation goes to grants, and matching funds double the value of the donations. Make this the year that you either continue donating to the Holiday Fund or begin a lasting relationship that will help support more than 50 nonprofit organizations in our community.
For example, Collective Roots received $7,500 to teach adults in East Palo Alto about self-sufficiency, nutrition, cooking and how to start a home garden. Other grants went to Mayfield Community Health Center ($10,000) for an obesity prevention program using a new electronic health records system that can monitor patients at risk of obesity and related health problems; East Palo Alto Youth Court ($3,000) for an alternative youth-run mock court program for first-time juvenile offenders referred by the East Palo Alto Police Department with youth serving as attorneys, judge, jury and bailiffs; and Palo Alto Youth Collaborative ($10,000) to stage youth-oriented events and forums designed to train students in ways to respond to friends in crisis, and to develop an online youth calendar of events.
Whether through the Holiday Fund or directly in other ways, we hope our readers will pause to help those in need and support the good work of our local nonprofits.