The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has topped the $3 million mark this year, Weekly Publisher Bill Johnson announced recently at a reception for donors and funded agencies. Since its inception in 1993, the fund has distributed grants to local nonprofit agencies serving children and families.
One hundred percent of contributions to the Holiday Fund are given to the agencies; the Palo Alto Weekly covers the administrative costs.
This year, the Holiday Fund gave $260,000 to 38 community organizations (listed below) in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and surrounding areas, as well as to high school scholars.
The funds were donated by 600 community members during the drive, which ran from last November through January.
In addition to surpassing the $3 million total, the fund this year initiated multi-year grants. Two agencies received $25,000 each, with the potential of receiving similar sums for two more years.
"We sought a vehicle for making a greater impact in the community, and we believe the three-year, $25,000 grants will enable well-run nonprofits in our area to pursue larger visions for serving critical needs," Johnson said.
The two agencies included YES Reading, which is establishing a new site for its literacy program in the Ravenswood City School District and Kara, Inc., the Palo Alto-based grief-counseling agency, which is expanding services its Youth and Family Services Program to East Palo Alto by providing a part-time Spanish-language coordinator.
Other services receiving grants range from an after-school sports program for at-risk youth to breast-cancer support groups for Spanish-speaking women to a program that fosters children's appreciation of nature. In addition, the fund is offering scholarships for college-bound high-school students.
Funds were matched by grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Arrillaga and Peery foundations, doubling each contribution. The Holiday Fund is part of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Speakers from three nonprofits that are receiving grants -- Jim Bronson of KARA, Michael Lombardo of YES Reading and the Eileen Richardson of Downtown Streets Team -- discussed their agencies' work and the impact of the funding at the reception.
This year's recipients include:
• Adolescent Counseling Services: $7,500 for on-campus counseling of middle- and high-school students in Palo Alto.
• All Saints' Episcopal Church: $5,000 to upgrade the kitchen where Urban Ministry serves two hot meals each week to the homeless.
• American Red Cross, Palo Alto Area Chapter: $3,000 for Safe Ride program, which provides rides home for teens who have been drinking.
• Art in Action: $10,000 to support the cost of art-education programs for an additional 200 students at Costano Elementary School in East Palo Alto.
• California Family Foundation: $2,500 to support parenting classes at Beechwood School in East Palo Alto.
• CAR (Community Association for Rehabilitation): $5,000 to support a developmental program called "Leaps and Bounds" with the purchase of equipment and to train staff and parents.
• Challenge Learning Center: $5,000 to support two overnight leadership retreats for at-risk teens.
• Cleo Eulau Center: $5,000 to pay for individual counseling sessions for at-risk teens who have had at least one encounter with the law.
• Collective Roots Garden Project: $5,000 to support K-6 garden-based education at East Palo Alto Charter School.
• Community Breast Health Project: $5,000 to support the formation of a support group in Spanish for Latina women with breast cancer.
• Downtown Streets, Inc.: $10,000 to purchase vouchers for food and shelter to reward the participants for cleaning streets and planting flowers.
• East Palo Alto Family YMCA: $7,500 to support the 2007 Youth and Government Delegation for teens from East Palo Alto and east Menlo Park.
• East Palo Alto Kids Foundation: $7,500 to provide small grants to teachers on a quick turn-around basis.
• Environmental Volunteers: $3,000 to support educational materials and resources for two programs related to the Baylands Interpretive Center.
• East Palo Alto Children's Day Committee: $5,000 to underwrite Children's Day in the Park, a free, fun-filled day with activities for families.
• Family Service Agency of San Mateo County: $5,000 to purchase materials and furniture to support the Family Service Child Development Center.
• Foundation for a College Education: $5,000 for the College Bound Program, including special workshops on various college preparedness topics.
• Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo: $5,000 to maintain the East Palo Alto Science Outreach Program, which provides hands-on classes to East Palo Alto students.
• Hidden Villa: $5,000 to support the animal program, an integral part of the summer camp program.
• Jeremiah's Promise, Inc.: $5,000 for social services and programming for emancipated youth at the Jeremiah's Promise home in Palo Alto.
• JLS PTA: $3,500 for additional teacher support at the existing "Homework Habitat."
• Jordan Middle School PTA: $3,500 to help support the Jordan Homework Center; an after-school study program.
• Kara, Inc.: $25,000 to expand services of the Youth and Family Services Program to East Palo Alto by providing a part-time bilingual coordinator.
• Mayview Community Health Center: $5,000 to waive the $35 co-pay for 150 under- or uninsured adults.
• Music in the Schools Foundation: $2,500 to expand the in-school music program, which provides three classroom music teachers to four schools in East Palo Alto.
• My New Red Shoes: $2,500 to support the Clothing for Confidence program goal of dressing 1,000 homeless and low-income children in 2007 for the first day of school.
• New Creation Home Ministries: $5,000 for a residential program that helps young single mothers learn to live independently.
• Nuestra Casa: $10,000 for the salary of the Adult ESL Program Coordinator.
• Palo Alto Art Center Foundation: $7,500 for the Cultural Kaleidoscope art education program, which works in Palo Alto and Ravenswood schools.
• Parents' Nursery School: $4,300 to replace the old lawn area with new sod.
• Peninsula Stroke Association: $1,500 for a daylong rejuvenating retreat for people who care for stroke survivors.
• Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.: $5,000 to help subsidize the meals prepared and delivered annually to homebound seniors, the handicapped and AIDS patients in East Palo Alto.
• St. Elizabeth Seton School: $5,000 for an after-school sports program.
• St. Vincent de Paul Society: $5,000 for emergency rent, rental deposits and utility assistance.
• Teach for America Funds: $5,000 to recruit, select train and offer ongoing support to corps teachers in the East Palo Alto area.
• TheatreWorks: $5,000 to expand the activities of the TheatreWorks for Schools program, by subsidizing the Playing With Poetry program.
• YES Reading: $25,000 to establish a new site in the Ravenswood City School District.
• Youth Community Service: $7,500 to continue the support of two programs, Summer of Service and Service & Leadership Programs, as well as a new initiative called River of Words Watershed Literacy Program.