Editorial: Weekly Holiday Fund kicks off

Money raised benefits programs serving families, children in Palo Alto area

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 living on the edge or in need of social services.

The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, now in its 22nd year, provides everyone in our community the opportunity to make a donation with the knowledge that it will combined with hundreds of others and disbursed to approximately 50 carefully vetted local agencies, mostly in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto.

There are two important reasons why giving to the Holiday Fund uniquely leverages your donation: First, every dollar raised is given away (in the form of grants to nonprofits that apply for funding), and the Weekly and Silicon Valley Community Foundation underwrite all the expenses. So none of your money is spent on overhead or other administrative costs.

And second, thanks to the support of the Packard, Hewlett, Arrillaga, and Peery foundations and a Palo Alto family that wishes to remain anonymous, any donation you make is doubled in size. So if you give $100, the Holiday Fund is able to grant $200 to a worthwhile program serving children and families in our area.

Over the next eight weeks, we'll be asking for your donations and publishing the names of those who contribute to help inspire others to give and be publicly thanked.

The list of organizations the Holiday Fund supported this last year include groups in Palo Alto and East Palo Alto that are providing counseling, tutoring, mentoring, reading programs, environmental education, health services, child care, food, shelter, music, art and science curriculum, and much more.

Whether you give $25 or $25,000, it is a powerful statement when hundreds of local people unite around a common philanthropic objective, and combine their giving to raise $350,000 or more in one year to give back to the community.

Many donors make a Holiday Fund gift in memory of a loved one or to honor a friend. To donate, visit Along with the thousands of kids and families who ultimately benefit from your gift, we are grateful for your help.

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3 people like this
Posted by Santa is Sure to Come
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 6, 2015 at 12:27 pm

A great way to ensure that Santa comes to poor kids homes too. This donation helps support services and goods for the very low-income. Worried families without a stake in the Silicon Valley boom can call on Santa to deliver to their children's homes! without relying on a broken toy or someone else's child's name written on it. I will surely donate this year!

2 people like this
Posted by reality checkit
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 9, 2015 at 10:00 am

[Portion removed.]

In this holiday season--let's take a moment to reflect on what it is we are really trying to accomplish in life. [Portion removed.] The right to live should be for ALL to enjoy-- and this is a good season to take a moment and soul search to find what is life all about-- each of us has to make our own decisions--but, for every conclusion--put yourself as the subject of your conclusion. if you are for beheadings or mass killings or abductions or human trafficking-- how would like to be the one beheaded, etc. if you are for abortion--how would like to be the one aborted? think about the meaning of this holiday season. giving money isn't necessarily the answer--it is what is one's heart through and through. it could be something as simple as saying "hello" to someone you don't know. It could be something as simple as getting off your cell phone or computer and notice people around you. take time to reflect on the meaning of the holiday season and share it with others. That will go a long ways towards making this a better place to live. it starts with YOU. it starts with ALL of us--one person at a time.

3 people like this
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Nov 9, 2015 at 10:11 am

The holiday fund I assume operates as a charity so where can we get access to the document showing how the money collected was distributed in the past ?

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 9, 2015 at 11:54 am

Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund 2014 Grant Recipients -- Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Nov 9, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Thanks musical, but I am looking for an official document that show how much was raised and how much was distributed. You have Provided is just a page put out by the weekly. I thought that charitable organizations had to
File documentation with that information

1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Maybe someone official will elucidate. Looks like the messy accounting and tax details are outsourced to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a multi-Billion dollar umbrella organization. Here's a link to their latest IRS Form 990 that I could find -- Web Link -- scroll down to Schedule I for the list of grant recipients. All our local grantees are mixed in with the rest of the United States. Worldwide distributions are summarized in Schedule F.

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Posted by donate direct
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 9, 2015 at 4:38 pm

I prefer to donate directly to the recipient. When middle-men organizations are used, sometimes even if one checks the box (if there is one) about preferring not to be contacted again by the middle-man organization...then this does in fact happen with future solicitations from the "umbrella" organization. Just a hint to the wise.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Johnson
publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly
on Nov 9, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Bill Johnson is a registered user.


The Holiday Fund is a donor-advised fund at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. All donations are processed and held by the foundation until our grant committee reviews about 100 applications for funding from 501(c)3 non-profits providing services to families and children in the Palo Alto area. The committee's recommendations are then submitted to the foundation, which issues checks to the organizations that are presented at a reception for grantees and donors the Weekly hosts in April. The Weekly doesn't get involved in the receipt or processing of any of the funds, except for the money we raise by putting on the annual Moonlight Run and Walk.

If you wish to verify the grants and donations, they are filed each year with the IRS by the community foundation, as required by law. Given the volume of philanthropy the foundation oversees, researching all this would be a big job. If you have specific questions or concerns I'd be happy to answer them or provide you with the reports we receive documenting donations received and grants made.

As to not being contacted by the groups the Holiday Fund supports, these grant recipients simply get a check in the amount of the grant that is being awarded. They have no access to any of the donor information, other than what the donor has given permission for us to publish in the paper.

Thanks to the hundreds of people who support this community fundraising effort each year.

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