Holiday Spirit

Brentwood Academy student Gyna Monroy and reading tutor Evelyn Chan-Cox read an "Elephant and Piggie" book together in 2017 during their weekly reading period at the East Palo Alto school as part of the All Students Matter volunteer program. File photo by Veronica Weber.

Posted November 16, 2018

Weekly launches annual Holiday Fund charitable drive
Campaign celebrates lives transformed by grants to local nonprofit agencies

by Palo Alto Weekly staff

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 Gyna's skills at reading out loud during their one-on-one time.

After sounding out the letters in "idea," Gyna strung the whole word together, excitedly.

Meanwhile, over at Palo Alto's Mitchell Park Library, 31-year-old Todd Cerf was helping customers at Ada's Cafe, a workplace established to employ and train people with disabilities in the food-service industry.

While the espresso machine hummed, Cerf explained how he likes to joke with his customers.

"If they ordered a big drink order, I just tell them, you know, 'Sounds like someone needed to get their buzz on,'" he said with a shy grin. "I can joke with them in a way that makes them want to come back."

Todd Cerf and Gyna Monroy are but two of the people whose lives have been changed for the better through local nonprofits supported by the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, which is launching its annual charitable-giving campaign this week.

Last year, community members in the Palo Alto area donated a record-breaking $403,000 to the Holiday Fund, enabling grants to 60 nonprofits helping children, families and others in need.

Established in 1993, the Holiday Fund has as its goal the transformation of lives through strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations. Among the successes that the Fund's grants have enabled: Kids struggling with literacy have turned into confident readers, unemployed adults with disabilities have become productive and proud workers, and the dreams of a future generation have been ignited through a hands-on science program that remakes classrooms into planetariums and ordinary materials into lessons on kinetic energy.

Other services funded range from medical care for the homeless and arts programs for disadvantaged youth to parenting training for teen mothers and environmental education for youth and adults.

In the Holiday Fund's 25 years, it has raised $6.3 million for nonprofits and child care centers.

Because the Palo Alto Weekly and its partner, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, pay for all of the costs of running the charitable drive, 100 percent of every donation — which is tax deductible — is distributed directly to a nonprofit serving Palo Alto and East Palo Alto.

As in years past, the 2018 campaign got its kickstart through the proceeds from the Weekly's annual Moonlight Run in September, which was supported by 10 corporate sponsors. In addition, major donations to the fund have already been pledged by the Hewlett, Packard, Peery and Arrillaga foundations, which are contributing matching grants so that every donation to the fund by a community member is automatically doubled.

The Holiday Fund's goal this year is $350,000.

"I'm so grateful that the community, year after year, steps up to give so generously to these well-run nonprofits," Palo Alto Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson said. "These organizations are serving thousands of Midpeninsula residents who are struggling amid the high costs of living, those who work in our community and are part of the fabric of life here. I'd like to invite everyone who shares the Holiday Fund vision — of a unified community that offers opportunities and support for everyone — to donate this year."

One local leader whose nonprofit is a beneficiary spoke at the April reception for Holiday Fund grantees about the impact of the public's support for the families living in Palo Alto Housing, the city's low-income-housing program. The $4,000 Holiday Fund grant for the newly started "Family Reading Club" enabled Palo Alto Unified School District librarians and teachers to spend time leading creative and educational activities for children and their parents living in the apartments.

"We're making family reading time fun. We're making interacting with teachers cool — giving (residents) tools and a safe place to ask questions," said Kate Young, vice president of resident services.

"Through your donations and this grant, we have the chance to mentor and partner with and nurture the families who live with us," Young said. "Thank you all so much for your support."

More information about the impact of the Holiday Fund, including stories about funded nonprofit agencies and instructions for donating online, can be found here.

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 13, 2023.

Make a donation
2022 Recipient Agency

49ers Academy$10,000

AbilityPath$10,000

Able Works$10,000

Ada's Cafe$25,000

Adolescent Counseling Services$7,500

Art in Action$10,000

Bay Area Friendship Circle$5,000

Beyond Barriers Athletic Foundation$5,000

Big Brothers Big Sisters
of the Bay Area
$10,000

Blossom Birth & Family$5,000

Canopy$5,000

CASA of San Mateo County$5,000

Children's Health Council$10,000

Christmas Bureau of Palo Alto$5,000

Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto$10,000

Counseling and Support Services for Youth - CASSY$15,000

DreamCatchers$15,000

East Palo Alto Academy Foundation$10,000

East Palo Alto Charter School$5,000

East Palo Alto Kids Foundation$15,000

East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring$15,000

East Palo Alto YMCA$10,000

Eastside College
Preparatory School
$7,500

EPACENTER$10,000

Family Connections$7,500

Fit Kids Foundation$5,000

Foundation for a
College Education
$10,000

Fresh Approach$10,000

Friends for Youth$5,000

Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo$10,000

Heart and Home Collaborative$10,000

Hope Horizon East Palo Alto$7,500

Jasper Ridge Farm$5,000

Kara$15,000

Learning Home Volunteers$10,000

Live In Peace$10,000

Magical Bridge Foundation$10,000

Mannakin Theater & Dance$5,000

Marine Science Institute$5,000

Midpen Media Center$7,500

Music in the Schools Foundation$8,000

My New Red Shoes$5,000

New Voices for Youth$5,000

Pacific Art League of Palo Alto$12,000

Palo Alto Art Center Foundation$10,000

Palo Alto Community Child Care $30,000

Palo Alto Players$10,000

Peer Point$20,000

Peninsula Bridge$10,000

Peninsula College Fund$10,000

Peninsula Healthcare Connection$10,000

Peninsula Volunteers$15,000

Peninsula Youth Theatre$5,000

Pursuit of Excellence Scholarship Foundation$20,000

Ravenswood Classroom Partners$20,000

Ravenswood Education Foundation$10,000

Reading Partners
Silicon Valley
$10,000

ReadySetExcel$5,000

Rebuilding Together Peninsula$7,500

Resource Area for
Teaching (RAFT)
$5,000

Rich May Foundation$5,000

Rise Together Education$10,000

Ronald McDonald House$5,000

Rosalie Rendu Center$5,000

Sager Family Farm$5,000

Silicon Valley
Urban Debate League
$7,500

St. Elizabeth Seton School$10,000

TheatreWorks$5,000

UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival)$10,000

WeHOPE$15,000

WomenSV$7,500

Youth Community Service$25,000

Child Care Grants

All Five$10,000

Covenant Children's Center$10,000

Creative Montessori
Learning Center
$10,000

Grace Lutheran Preschool$10,000

Palo Alto Friends Nursery School$10,000

Parents Nursery School$10,000


As of December 7th, 165 donors have contributed $145,397 to the Holiday Fund.
* indicates amount withheld at donor's request

24 Anonymous7,075
Eileen & Rick Brooks1,000
Maureen O'Connor150
Martha Shirk1,200
Jennifer DiBrienza & Jesse Dorogusker1,000
Diane and Brandy Sikic*
Alicia Newman100
Dorsey & Katherine Bass300
Edie Kirkwood1,000
Micri & Bob Cardelli*
George & Betsy Young*
Diana Diamond1,000
Brigid Barton 2,000
Korol Family250
Lawrence R. Yang & Jennifer W. Kuan10,000
Anthony & Susan Wood25,000
Lynn and Andrew Newman*
Katherine Bryant100
Barbara Riper*
Sally & Craig Nordlund500
Carolyn Caddes*
Kroymann Family250
Marian Adams100
Roy & Carol Blitzer*
Elaine Hah1,500
Retired*
Julie & Dan Lythcott-Haims250
Tess & Eric Byler150
Denise and Jeff Simons*
Keith and Linda Clarke*
Harriet Benson10,000
Arthur Keller250
Cynthia Costell100
George & Betsy Bechtel200
Ellen M. Lillington200
Tom & Nancy Fiene200
Tom & Patricia Sanders*
Amado & Deborah Padilla250
Margo Sensenbrenner*
Merele McClure250
Joanne Koltnow400
Christina Kenrick1,000
Richard Johnsson5,000
Xiaofan Lin100
Bonnie and Bryan Street*
Thomas Rindfleisch*
Jody Maxmin*
Diane and Joe Rolfe*
Diane Finkelstein250
Linda & Steve Boxer*
David & Betsy Fryberger400
Jan Aarts*
Judith Appleby300
Donald Barr150
Charles & Barbara Stevens*
Edward Kanazawa300
Karen A. Latchford*
Kingsley Jack250
Richard Zuanich150
Patti Yanklowitz and Mark Krasnow100
Denise Savoie and Darrell Duffie*
Elizabeth Salzer & Richard Baumbartner*
Marcia & Michael Katz200
Scott and Jan Kilner500
Dorothy Saxe100
Kieschnick family1,000
Barbara Klein*
Dorothy Deringer200
Art and Peggy Stauffer500
Ed & Linda DeMeo500
Penny & Greg Gallo500
Scottie Zimmerman100
Fran Codispoti250
Ted & Ginny Chu*
The Dong Family200
Bill Reller*
Harry E & Susan B Hartzell100
Ann Burrell & Charles Smith*
Janis Ulevich*
Theradep Technologies500
Jack and Susan Thomas*
Julie and Jon Jerome*
Andrea B. Smith100
Leif and Sharon Erickson500
The Havern Family5,000
Gwen Luce and Family*
Bruce Campbell*
Freddy & Jan Gabus250
Richard & Pat Douglas50
Susan & Doug Woodman150
Donald Price*
Judy Ousterhout*
Judy Kramer*
Kingston Duffie & Elizabeth Schwerer500
Roger & Joan Warnke300
Jerry & Bobbie Wagger*
John Keller100
Mahlon & Carol Hubenthal*
Margaret Forsyth and Glenn Rennels*
Charlotte Johansen200
Leo & Marlys Keoshian250
Donna Silverberg100
Paul & Jane Millman250
In Memory Of

Walter Dean*
Er-Ying and Y.C. Yen250
Jack Sutorius750
Michele Wilson*
Bob Donald350
Leonard Ware*
Robert Spinrad100
August King*
Bob Simoni500
David W. Mitchell*
Paul Seaver*
Gerald Berner300
Ian Halliday250
Ray Bacchetti300
Marie and Don Snow200
Andre Jones *
Jim and Dottie Mellberg*
Ruth & Chet Johnson*
David Sager100
Ted Linden200
Lily & Philip Gottheiner150
Chet Brown*
Phil Zschokke200
Nellie Perna Bartello100
Bob Donald*
Steven T. Ross100
In Honor Of

Marilyn Sutorius750
Darla Tupper3,922
Leo & Sylvia Breidenbach and Thomas & Louise Phinney1,000
Polly Caddes*
Joe Simitian*
Gabby Perez & Logan Marsh250
Dr Ron Radzilowski*
Businesses & Organizations

Angelo Family Foundation 5,000
Palo Alto Business Park*
Hearts & Minds Activity Center75
Alta Mesa Cemetery & Funeral Home2,500
Peery Foundation10,000
Arrillaga Foundation10,000

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