Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

Each year the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund raises money to support programs serving families and children in the Palo Alto area. Read on for profiles of grant recipients, to be featured each week over the holiday season, highlighting the way each organization has used the funds this past year.

Grants are awarded each year in April to approximately 60 nonprofits serving the Palo Alto and East Palo Alto communities based on applications submitted in early January. The 2020-2021 Holiday Fund campaign raised and granted a record $680,000 to 74 nonprofits, bringing the total distributed over its 28-year history to more than $8 million.

Where learning English is 'medicine for the people'

Ever since she was a young nun, Sister Trinitas Hernandez wanted to follow the path of Rosalie Rendu, a 19th-century nun of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 26, 2021

Friends for Youth is in the business of making human connections

When Joanna Solis was 13, her favorite aunt died of ovarian cancer, and the sudden loss left Solis utterly bereft.
"She was like a second ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 19, 2021

Weekly sets $500K goal for Holiday Fund charity drive

The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund campaign to support local nonprofits that provide critical help to those in need is kicking off this week, with the aim of raising $500,000 — every every cent of which will be distributed ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 12, 2021


With camps shut down, Hidden Villa sends seeds, leaves and lessons to area youth

For more than half a century, Hidden Villa has provided its young campers with a unique blend of pastoral beauty and social justice activism. They come for the baby goats; they stay for the ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 25, 2020

Despite limitations, DreamCatchers continue to prepare students for high school

Leave it to Sarika Lansberg to get middle school kids excited about high school despite it taking place online. As a senior at Palo Alto High School, she too knows about Zoom fatigue and all ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 18, 2020

In times of grief, a culturally understanding shoulder to lean on

When Maribel Ramirez lost her baby in pregnancy several years ago, there wasn't a program available with cultural sensitivity in Palo Alto to help process her grief. "The cultural and socio-economic factors ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 10, 2020

Making child care work during a pandemic

For Karna and Arne Nisewaner and their two children, Palo Alto Community Child Care has been a lifesaver. Instead of her elementary-aged children feeling ignored and isolated at home and Nisewaner ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 4, 2020

With Live In Peace, at-risk students are given something they didn't think they had: choice

Two years ago, Carmen Thomas had a choice: Did she want to stay on board with Facebook, where she'd been interning to take a full-time job offer as a recruiting coordinator, or did she want ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 27, 2020

Catching students who are falling through the cracks

When the new academic year started at Ravenswood City School District with full distance learning, staff at the nonprofit San Francisco 49ers Academy knew there would be students who would fall through ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 20, 2020

Amid pandemic, Holiday Fund launches charitable campaign

For the past eight months, local nonprofit organizations like East Palo Alto's Ecumenical Hunger Program have been scrambling to meet the needs of their clients. In ordinary times, Ecumenical Hunger Program staff ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 13, 2020


Leveling the Playing Field

There's a video made for the nonprofit Fit Kids Foundation that warms founder Ashley Hunter's heart. In it, a 7-year-old girl wearing her favorite sequined cat-ears headband is running with a group of children at a playground at Costaño Elementary School in ... [ Read More ] Posted Jan. 3, 2020

A summer camp where time-honored traditions meet fresh ideas

When Beatrice Piceno, 17, was planning her summer, she was immediately attracted to Hidden Villa's Leaders in Training program because she knew it would give her the opportunity to find out if working... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 20, 2019

Through the art of debate, students find their voice

Jules Thomas has always been confident in his public speaking skills, but nerves got the best of him when he first entered the world of debate. During his freshman year of high school, he was intimidated... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 13, 2019

Palo Alto, East Palo Alto students connect through music

Niki Ebrahimnejad remembers how she and the other student mentors of Palo Alto Music Connection (PAMC) used to pay for basic supplies like reeds and sheet music for their elementary and middle... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 6, 2019

A celebration in the streets

Sporting a yellow T-shirt and armed with a picker and a bucket, Ruben Michael and his four-person team of volunteers gathered at a Palo Alto downtown parking lot on a recent Thursday morning to start... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 29, 2019

A go-to resource for supporting LGBTQ youth

Several years ago, when a transgender student wanted to transition from female to male at Fletcher Middle School in Palo Alto, librarian Kristen Lee reached out to Outlet, which provides services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 22, 2019

Holiday Fund drive for charity kicks off

Jazmin Sosa knows the power of the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund to help families breathe a little easier. As operations manager for the nonprofit Ravenswood Education Foundation, which aids the six schools of the Ravenswood City School District... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 15, 2019


Holiday Fund breaks record

Through the generous contributions of 375 donors, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund collected a record-breaking $403,889 this winter — every dollar of which will be distributed in the coming months to local nonprofits serving those in need... [ Read More ] Posted Jan. 18, 2019

Healing from a loss in native tongues

Being a grief support person can be a heavy undertaking. Just ask Lupe Lujan. As a volunteer for the Palo Alto-based nonprofit Kara, a one-on-one session with a client dealing with the death of a loved... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 21, 2018

A brighter future

The two portable classrooms behind St. Francis of Assisi Church in East Palo Alto bustled with activity in the days leading up to this week's community Posada festival. Students in the Catholic Charities Youth Club... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 21, 2018

Making music a priority

On a drizzly December afternoon, more than 25 children gathered in the cafeteria/gymnasium at Los Robles Magnet Academy in East Palo Alto. With rapt attention they shook their arms, clapped their hands... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 14, 2018

From almost dropouts to career seekers

Ten years ago, Adriana Barajas was not on anyone's list of "most likely to succeed." Then 14 years old, she was hanging around with gang members and bouncing from school to school. "I come from... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 7, 2018

Volunteers work to level the playing field

Twice a week after school, a rather mundane trailer in the midst of colorfully decorated mobile homes at Buena Vista Mobile Home Park becomes a lively clubhouse for neighborhood children... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 30, 2018

Nurturing the next generation of stewards

"Have you ever felt an earthquake?" asked Environmental Volunteers team coordinator Nancy Mayo of energetic fourth-graders sitting cross-legged Monday in a classroom at Castro Elementary School... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 23, 2018

Weekly launches annual Holiday Fund charitable drive

Inside a quiet East Palo Alto elementary school classroom last year, student Gyna Monroy and tutor Evelyn Chan-Cox huddled over a picture book from the "Elephant and Piggie" series practicing... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 16, 2018


Giving youth a voice

In slam poetry, the hands speak as much as the mouth. As Crystal Trevillion stood in front of a crowd of students and families in Palo Alto Art Center, her hands moved between her head and stomach, at one point beating the air in a curled... [ Read More ] Posted Jan. 5, 2018

Youth art creates positive impact

Chances are you've seen the work of the Mural, Music & Arts Project while passing through East Palo Alto. The colorful murals, conceived and painted by youth artists, blanket the city's parks, public buildings and schools. Each painting — depicting... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 22, 2017

Saving the homeless

Darlene Berryessa was just 40 years old when her vision began to blur. She had no idea she had high blood pressure, but she was having a stroke. Berryessa, now 54, also had diabetes, but she didn't know that either at the time. She hadn't seen a doctor... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 15, 2017

A 'force for good'

In the midst of dozens of donations for $25, $100 or $500 received earlier this month to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, one jumped out: an unsolicited and completely unexpected check for $25,000 from a first-time donor. While the Holiday Fund... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 15, 2017

Students given the gift of knowledge

The classroom sat in captivated silence in late November as science teacher Scott Bell explained the day's lesson, lecturing from a pristine textbook. Each of the 27 eighth-grade students at St. Elizabeth Seton School... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 7, 2017

Educating students, one by one

Inside a quiet classroom at Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto on Monday afternoon, Gyna Monroy reclined on a blue beanbag, carefully reading aloud from a picture book called "There's a Bird on Your Head!"... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 1, 2017

Ada's Café gives people with disabilities a chance to grow

Wodd Cerf never saw himself as a leader, but he's now a manager-in-training at Ada's Café in Palo Alto. He opens up most mornings with card access to the building, one of his many duties since getting promoted... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 24, 2017

Junior Museum and Zoo brings hands-on science to the classroom

"I did it!" said Brian, a second-grader at the Los Robles Magnet Academy in East Palo Alto, as he balanced on his finger an upside-down paper cutout of a man. He was the first student in Monica Banuelas' ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 17, 2017

Weekly launches 25th year of charitable-giving campaign

This week marks the start of the 25th Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund drive, a charitable-giving effort that annually raises about $350,000 for local nonprofit organizations serving children, families ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 17, 2017

Editorial: Give for the kids

Don't let the booming Silicon Valley technology-driven economy lull you into thinking that there isn't a continuing divide, even in the affluent Palo Alto area, between those riding high and the many families... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 17, 2017


Getting justice and a safe home

Jose Cabrera cranked up the heater to full blast in his duplex unit to keep his wife and three children warm. It wasn't the coldest day of the year, nor was the winter excessively frigid. But he was willing ... [ Read More ] Posted Jan. 3, 2017

TheatreWorks encourages playful learning, creativity

"All the world's a stage," according to the king of theater, William Shakespeare. TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has taken that concept to heart by fostering theater skills and creative thinking throughout ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 27, 2016

Jasper Ridge Farm connects kids with animals

After 14 brain surgeries over the past three years -- including three this past month -- few things can get 11-year-old Austin Morgan to jump out of his hospital recovery bed and leave his wheelchair ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 16, 2016

Children's Health Council aims to aid community's teens

Earlier this year, the Palo Alto Children's Health Council launched the CHC Teen Mental Health Initiative, designed to meet the needs of teens affected by mental health issues -- anxiety and depression ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 13, 2016

Tennis coaches, tutors give kids a leg up

The East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring (EPATT) program has long sought to show disadvantaged students new possibilities in life, whether a new sport, better academic skills or a local college. It's also... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 9, 2016

Keeping art in East Palo Alto schools

As first-graders spilled into Amy Modrich's classroom, they marveled at masks set out on desks, picking them up and eagerly asking what they were going to do in class that day. Modrich called the students... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 25, 2016

Local family gives $100,000 to Holiday Fund

A Palo Alto family has made a $100,000 donation to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund in hopes of inspiring other donors to join them in supporting local programs for kids, families and individuals in ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 16, 2016

Editorial: Give for the kids

Don't let the booming Silicon Valley technology-driven economy lull you into thinking that there isn't a continuing divide, even in the affluent Palo Alto area, between those riding high and the many families... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 2, 2016

Palo Alto Weekly's annual Holiday Fund kicks off

Support for the homeless population. Training for developmentally disabled employees. Summer camp for low-income children facing life-threatening illness. Tutoring. Counseling. Science lab materials... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 18, 2016

Apply for a Holiday Fund Grant

Nonprofits serving children and families may apply for funds by downloading our Grant Application Guidelines and Grant Application Form. Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 14, 2022.

Make a donation
2021 Recipient Agency

All Students Matter$25,000

Ada's Café$25,000

Youth Community Service$25,000

DreamCatchers$25,000

East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring$20,000

Pursuit of Excellence$20,000

Ravenswood Education
Foundation
$20,000

WeHOPE$20,000

East Palo Alto Kids Foundation$15,000

Foundation for a
College Education
$12500

Buena Vista
Homework Club
$10,000

CASSY$10,000

Community Legal Services
in East Palo Alto
$10,000

Nuestra Casa$10,000

San Francisco 49ers Academy $10,000

St. Elizabeth Seton School$10,000

YMCA - East Palo Alto Branch$10,000

Fresh Approach$10,000

Hidden Villa$10,000

Reading Partners$10,000

Rise Together Education$10,000

Peninsula Volunteers$10,000

Adolescent Counseling Services$7500

East Palo Alto
Academy Foundation
$7500

Kara$7500

Learning Home Volunteers$7500

Live in Peace$7500

Midpeninsula Community
Media Center
$7500

Peninsula
HealthCare Connection
$7500

WomenSV$7500

Acknowledge Alliance$5,000

Art in Action$5,000

Art of Yoga$5,000

Bay Area Friendship Circle$5,000

Alta Housing $5,000

Bayshore Christian Ministries$5,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters$5,000

CASA of San Mateo County$5,000

Canopy$5,000

Environmental Volunteers$5,000

Family Connections$5,000

Girls To Women$5,000

Music in the Schools Foundation$5,000

Musikiwest$5,000

Morrissey-Compton
Educational Center
$5,000

Palo Alto Art Center
Foundation
$5,000

Palo Alto Chamber
Orchestra
$5,000

Palo Alto Players$5,000

Rich May Foundation$5,000

Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange$5,000

East Palo Alto Library $5,000

Street Life Ministries$5,000

TheatreWorks$5,000

Vista Center for
Blind & Visually Impaired
$5,000

Fit Kids Foundation$5,000

Friends of Junior Musuem & Zoo$5,000

Herban Health$5,000

Jasper Ridge Farm$5,000

Karat School Project $5,000

Magical Bridge Foundation$5,000

Marine Science Institute$5,000

Palo Alto Music Connection$5,000

My New Red Shoes$5,000

Pacific Art League$5,000

East Palo Alto Library$5,000

Peninsula Bridge Program$5,000

Rebuilding Together Peninsula$5,000

Rosalie Rendu Center$5,000

Silicon Valley
Urban Debate League
$5,000

St. Francis of Assisi
Youth Club
$5,000

Christmas Bureau$3500

Friends for Youth$3,000

Blossom Birth$2500

Pets in Need$2500

Child Care Grants

AbilityPath$10,000

All Five$10,000

Children's Center of
the Stanford Community
$5,000

Grace Lutheran Preschool$10,000

Palo Alto Friends Nursery School$10,000

Parents Nursery School$10,000

The Learning Center$10,000

Scholarship

HS scholarships$16,000


As of November 23rd, 54 donors have contributed $34,832 to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund.
* indicates amount withheld

5 Anonymous660
New Donors

Ellmann Family 100
Richard Alexander1,000
Ann and Don Rothblatt500
Keith Clarke*
Roger Smith400
Roger Warnke300
Elizabeth Bechtel150
Tess & Eric Byler100
Barbara Harriman Spreng500
Bruce campbell200
Phillip Hanawalt1,000
Michael Havern5,000
Sylvia Gartner100
Lisa Akselrad25
M D Savoie500
Judith Ousterhout150
Joan Jack100
Page & Ferrell Sanders100
Mahlon & Carol Hubenthal350
Tom & Patricia Sanders*
William Debord2,000
Robert Aulgur1,000
Jeanne & Leonard Ware*
Ellen & Tom Ehrlich250
Jan & Freddy Gabus250
Gwen Luce*
Barbara & Robert Simpson*
Priscilla & Tony Marzoni*
Dorothy Saxe*
Kay & Don Remsen*
Roy & Carol Blitzer*
Mindy & David Sitzer*
Marilyn Simbeck*
In Memory Of

Carol Berkowitz*
Pam Grady250
Lily & Phillip Gottheiner*
Kathy Morris*
August King*
Duncan Matteson1,000

Changes or corrections to listings may be made by contacting Gwen Fischer at [email protected]
Apply for a Holiday Fund Grant

Nonprofits serving children and families may apply for funds by downloading our Grant Application Guidelines and Grant Application Form. Application deadline: 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 14, 2022.

Past Holiday Fund Grant Recipients

2018-2019 | 2017-2018 | 2016-2017 | 2015-2016 | 2014-2015 | 2013-2014 | 2012-2013 | 2011-2012 | 2010-2011 | 2009-2010 | 2008-2009 | 2007-2008 | 2006-2007 | 2005-2006 | 2004-2005 | 2003-2004 | 2002-2003 | 2001-2002 | 2000-2001 | 1999-2000