Despite Palo Alto's well-deserved reputation as the home to some of Silicon Valley's most innovative and caring residents, there are many children and families in this community and others nearby who are barely making ends meet this winter.
Those with chronic needs are right under our noses, if we take the time to look. These are the people who get a helping hand from the agencies supported by the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, which last year awarded more than $230,000 to 42 local nonprofits.
These gifts often go to the truly needy who may need shelter or food to keep going. Other organizations, like the Red Cross, Breast Cancer Connections and Lytton Gardens, as well as the YMCA and several PTA groups, also receive support from the wide-ranging Holiday Fund grants. A complete list of last year's grantees can be found in the ad on page 42.
Beyond the altruistic reasons, there are other good reasons for choosing to contribute to the Holiday Fund. For starters, your tax-deductible gift will be doubled by the matching funds provided by the Hewlett, Packard, Peery and Arrillaga foundations, as well as the proceeds from the Weekly's Moonlight Run.
In addition, the Weekly and Silicon Valley Community Foundation cover all administrative costs, so every dollar raised goes directly to work in the community.
Organizations that receive grants submit proposals for a wide range of projects, including many from East Palo Alto where need is great. For example, earlier this year the East Palo Alto Kids Foundation received $5,000 to provide small grants to teachers; East Palo Alto Youth Court received $3,000 to support a diversion program for young people who have committed a minor crime by using a peer jury to determine an appropriate sentence, and East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring received $5,000 to support a new assessment program called JustREAD, which will aid in assessing a student's reading levels. Other grants were given to help East Palo Alto organizations such as Art in Action, Bread of Life, Cleo Eulau Center (counseling for at risk teens), and the Music in the Schools Foundation.
Grants to Palo Alto nonprofits included $7,500 to Adolescent Counseling Services for programs serving middle and high school students; $5,000 to Friends of the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, $5,000 to the grief counseling program Kara, $15,000 to the Downtown Streets Team and many more.
The Holiday Fund will run through mid-January, with a goal of raising $250,000, which will be a challenge in this year's tough economy.
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 40 nonprofit organizations in our communities.
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
Donate online at www.paloaltoonline.com/holidayfund.