Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

Our 2023 Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund campaign raised and granted $793,000, an all-time record in the Weekly's 30th year of raising money for local nonprofits serving families and children. Almost 400 donations of all sizes from individuals, local foundations and family foundations, including many anonymous donations, and the proceeds from the annual Moonlight Run & Walk made it possible to make grants to 81 organizations, also a record number.

A list of the grantees and donors are to the right, and articles written about previous grant recipients over the years are below.

A unique feature of the Holiday Fund is that every dollar raised is given away each year in grants, with no administrative or marketing costs. The Weekly covers all the expenses and donates all the advertising. The program is a joint effort of the Embarcadero Media Foundation and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. A team of Palo Alto Weekly employees and retirees review and evaluate all the applications.

It is a tribute to the caring people of the Midpeninsula that almost $10 million has been raised and distributed over the history of the Holiday Fund -- all of it to local nonprofits working hard to serve those most in need in the Palo Alto and East Palo Alto communities. It gives us great joy to connect donors with grantees so that so much good work can be done to make lives better.

Make a Holiday Fund Donation

Cultivating a love of swimming

Morning and evenings, weekdays and weekends, Mila L.-F. can be found in the swimming pool. "Have you seen those 80-year-old people swimming? I want to be one of those," the 17-year-old Menlo-Atherton ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 24, 2023

Nonprofit empowers parents to be their kids' first teachers

From plié and pirouette to carretilla and zapateado, the enchanting performance of this year's "Nutcracker" by the students of Mannakin Theater and Dance Company's en Avant School of Dance will bring two worlds of ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 17, 2023

Palo Alto Weekly launches annual Holiday Fund campaign with $800K goal

The annual Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund campaign is getting underway this week with the aim of raising much-needed funds for local nonprofits that provide a safety net for families, children and adults in need on ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 10, 2023

Nonprofit empowers parents to be their kids' first teachers

Two years ago, Claudia Diaz was worried that her son Geraldo wouldn't be ready for kindergarten. He didn't seem to be developing vocabulary skills as quickly as she expected, so the East Palo Alto mom decided to enroll in ... [ Read More ] Posted Jan. 6, 2023

Able Works wants to break the cycle of poverty, one youth at a time

When Valentina Rivera moved from Cali to California six years ago, her hopes and dreams far eclipsed her resources and connections. Growing up in Cali, a coastal city in southwest Colombia, she was accustomed ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 24, 2022

'Bee Brave' program teaches kids to manage fear

"Flap your wings really fast!" Miss Jennifer told the class of first graders at The Primary School during a recent December morning. The 16 first graders, assembled on ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 16, 2022

Inspiring and connecting kids by making the arts accessible

Menlo Park resident Carmen Visser's two daughters, 11-year-old Sofia and 10-year-old Eloisa, loved to work on crafts and watercolor paintings at home but did not have access ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 9, 2022

Women's shelter gives guests a place to stay during the year's coldest months

Dec. 16, 2017, is a day forever etched into Christina Pressley's memory. That's when she found Heart and Home Collaborative, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit that she now calls her family. Everyone there ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 2, 2022

Community Legal Services defends tenants in need

Bonnie Louisa Ball-Mendoza was out of work during the pandemic and relying on her Section 8 housing voucher and COVID-19 rent relief funds to help cover her monthly rent. The problem was ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 25, 2022

Building friendships where schools and community organizations leave off

Nine-year-old Geoff doesn't talk much; he has difficulty communicating verbally. But his eagerness to go to camp this past summer was palpable to his father, Steve Davis. Every morning Geoff would place his father's ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 18, 2022

Annual Holiday Fund drive kicks off

Lending a much-needed helping hand to those in crisis and strengthening our community have always been the aims of the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund. Now in its 30th year, the annual charitable giving drive is kicking off ... [ Read More ] Posted Nov. 18, 2022

Pursuit of Excellence offers college grants, mentors to teens in need

The likelihood of Zulema Garibo going to college seemed pretty slim: English was not her native language. No one in her family had ever attended college. And her status as an undocumented ... [ Read More ] Posted Jan. 7, 2022

Palo Alto's tree nonprofit branches out beyond city borders

It was a perfect day for planting, with overcast morning sky giving way to afternoon sun, as 10-year-old Reyansh Malla massaged a knot in the tangled roots of a water gum tree that his group ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 24, 2021

What's out there for the blind or visually impaired youth? At Vista Center — a whole lot

In elementary school, when Max Murray played hide-and-seek, his friends quickly disappeared.Not so much because they excelled at the game of self-concealment, but more due to a combination of Murray's ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 17, 2021

Rich May Field offers youth a place to play, get exercise through sports

Angel Tafolla has big dreams. The 13-year-old soccer player hopes to one day play for one of the world's most renowned teams: Futbol Club Barcelona. And thanks to the 2-acre Rich May Field in East Palo ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 10, 2021

Taking a Fresh Approach to expanding access to healthy, high-quality foods

Balvina Ramirez has long had an interest in growing her own food but simply didn't have space in her apartment. Things changed when she got involved with Fresh Approach roughly five ... [ Read More ] Posted Dec. 3, 2021

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 12, 2023.

Make a donation
2023 Recipient Agency
Able Works$10,000


Ada's Cafe$25,000

Adolescent Counseling Services$7,500

Art in Action$10,000

Art of Yoga Project$5,000

Aspire East Palo Alto
Charter School

Bay Area Friendship Circle$5,000

Beyond Barriers
Athletic Foundation

Big Brothers Big Sisters
of the Bay Area

Blossom Birth and Family$5,000


CASA of San Mateo County$5,000

Christmas Bureau of Palo Alto$7,500

Community Legal Services
in East Palo Alto

Counseling and Support
Services for Youth (CASSY)

Downtown Streets Team$15,000


East Palo Alto Academy

East Palo Alto Kids Foundation$15,000

East Palo Alto Razorhawks
Rugby Football Club

Eastside College
Preparatory School

Ecumenical Hunger

Environmental Volunteers $7,500


EPATT (East Palo Alto
Tennis and Tutoring)

Family Connections$7,500

Fit Kids Foundation$5,000

Foundation for a
College Education


Fresh Lifelines for Youth$5,000

Friends for Youth$5,000

Friends of the Palo Alto
Junior Museum & Zoo

Heart and Home Collaborative$10,000

Hidden Villa$10,000

Hope Horizon East Palo Alto$7,500

Jasper Ridge Farm$5,000


Lauren's House 4 Positive

Learning Home Volunteers$10,000

Mannakin Theater & Dance$5,000

Music in the Schools Foundation$7,500

My New Red Shoes$5,000

Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto$10,000

Palo Alto Art Center Foundation$10,000

Palo Alto Community
Child Care (PACCC)

Palo Alto Players$10,000

Peninsula Bridge$10,000

Peninsula College Fund$10,000

Peninsula Healthcare Connection $10,000

Peninsula Volunteers$15,000

Pursuit of Excellence
Scholarship Foundation

Ravenswood Classroom Partners$20,000

Ravenswood Education

Rebuilding Together


Rich May Foundation$5,000

Riekes Center$5,000

Rise Together Education$15,000

Rosalie Rendu Center$5,000

Sager Family Farm$5,000

Science is Elementary$5,000

Silicon Valley Urban
Debate League

StreetCode Academy$10,000

The Circuit EPA$5,000

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley$5,000

UNAFF (United Nations Association
Film Festival)

Vista Center for the Blind
and Visually Impaired



Youth Community Service $25,000

Child Care Grants


All Five$10,000

Children's Center of the
Stanford Community

Children's Preschool Center$5,000

Covenant Children's Center$10,000

Grace Lutheran Preschool$10,000

Palo Alto Community
Child Care (PACCC)

Palo Alto Friends Nursery School$10,000

Parents Nursery School$10,000

The Learning Center$10,000

As of November 30th, 91 donors have contributed $70,942 to the Holiday Fund.
* indicates amount withheld at donor's request

18 Anonymous3,220
Steven Feinberg10,000
Marcia & Michael Katz*
Roger V. Smith500
Jody Maxmin*
Kay Remsen*
Penny Barrett*
Ted and Ginny Chu*
Scott and Jan Kilner500
Andrea B. Smith100
Andrea B. Smith100
Greg & Penny Gallo500
Dixie Storkman100
Ted & Ginny Chu*
Ken Bencala & Sally O'Neil100
Richard Johnsson500
Bruce & Jane Gee1,000
William Debord2,000
Barbara Klein*
J. W. Morton100
Dan Pappas250
Ellen Turbow500
Bonnie Packer & Robert Raymakers1,000
A.C. & Kathryn Johnston250
Barbara Riper*
Paul & Sarah Donahue2,000
Judy & Tony Kramer*
R Zuanich200
Chris Kenrick1,000
Veronica Tincher*
Cynthia Costell150
Leif and Sharon Erickson500
Julie & Jon Jerome*
Ed & Linda DeMeo500
Joyce & Gerry Barker*
Sallie and Jay Whaley*
Marjorie Bridges25
Jean Dawes1,000
Arthur Keller500
Jesse Dorogusker and Jennifer DiBrienza1,000
Charles Williams200
Martha Shirk1,300
Kroymann Family250
Bonnie and Bryan Street*
Bonnie and Bryan Street*
Tess & Eric Byler100
Keith and Linda Clarke*
Faith Braff500
Judy Ousterhout*
Jeanne Ware*
Larry Hyde*
Michelle and Omar Baldonado100
In Memory Of

Ruth & Chet Johnson*
Nancy & Robert Lobdell*
Bob Donald*
Kathy Morris*
Bob Kirkwood*
Darla Tupper3,922
Dan Logan100
Aaron O'Neill*
Werner Graf*
E Yanosh ALT20
Jenna Hilleary750
Jack Sutorius750
Thomas and Louise Phinney*
Leo and Sylvia Breidenbach*
Jackie Boner*
Ray Bacchetti300
Andre Jones*
In Honor Of

Bill Johnson*
Marilyn Sutorius750
As a Gift for

Sally Werling100
Businesses & Organizations

Arrillaga Foundation10,000
Peery Foundation 10,000

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