Life-skills classes for at-risk youth, an art program to bring East Palo Alto and PaloAlto kids together to learn from and understand one another these and dozens of other nonprofit programs are made possible each year through contributions to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund.
This week, the 22nd annual charitable-giving campaign is launching with a goal of raising $350,000 between now and early January.
Since its inception, the drive has distributed more than $5 million to local nonprofits such as Palo Alto Community Child Care, Ravenswood Education Foundation, St. Vincent de Paul and East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring. They were among 54 organizations that received grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 this past year.
Every dollar donated to the fund goes directly to services; no overhead costs are deducted because they are absorbed by the Palo Alto Weekly and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which manages the Holiday Fund. Donations are tax deductible.
Charitable giving through the Holiday Fund is also supported by several local foundations. Dollar-for-dollar matching grants have been pledged by the Packard, Hewlett, Arrillaga and Peery foundations, as well as by a local family that wishes to be anonymous.
"We are so inspired every year by the community-mindedness of all of the sponsoring foundations as well as the vast number of individuals who give, year after year, to make this a better place for everyone," said Bill Johnson, publisher of the Weekly. "We know from the agencies and their clients that these generous donors are helping to sustain a safety net of services for kids and families and are making a significant impact in so many lives."
The nonprofit organizations that receive funding must apply for the grants, which are vetted by a committee that examines impact of services, management of programs and fiscal responsibility.
As part of the campaign, each week, the Weekly will publish stories of the progress being made by the supported agencies.
A list of this year's grant recipients can be found on page 4 of this edition. Donations to the Holiday Fund can be made at PaloAltoOnline.com/holiday_fund.