Community Notebook: Palo Alto Community Fund awards a record $457K on its 40th anniversary

First-time recipients include Tax-Aid, Good Karma Bikes, Kid & Art Foundation

The Palo Alto Community Fund, an organization that awards grants to local community groups in and around Palo Alto, announced its 2019 grant recipients on Tuesday. Now in its 40th year, the nonprofit raised a record $457,000 for 41 local organizations.

Grants are awarded to organizations that fit into one or more of eight "impact categories": arts and culture; community development and social services; education; environment; health, mental health and disabilities; housing and nutrition; senior services; and youth and families. More than 90 organizations submitted applications for grants, according to board member Bruce Gee. Organizations that were selected received grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.

Each application is reviewed by about a dozen people to determine whether a grant should be awarded, Gee said. "It's a very difficult process, because there's so many worthy nonprofits out there. We just try to find the ones that do an exceptional job serving their local community."

First-time recipient Tax-Aid provides free tax assistance to low-income families in the Bay Area. The organization relies on volunteers with tax experience, including accountants, attorneys and local college students, to run "tax clinics" in local communities, which helps an estimated 3,500 families each year. Tax-Aid's $10,000 grant will go towards the administrative costs of the program.

Good Karma Bikes, a San Jose-based nonprofit that provides free bike repairs for homeless people, received their first grant from the PACF this year. The $10,000 grant will cover the cost of their free bike clinics. The organization also runs several other initiatives such as the "Deep Touch" program, which provides support and job training to young people who grew up in the foster care system. The program has three pillars, according to Good Karma Bikes Founder Jim Gardner: work, education and community service.

"They learn work skills in the real world, we require them to continue their education and we ask them to do community service with us," Gardner said.

The organization also offers a program called "work for a bike," in which community members can work at the bike shop for six hours in return for a free bike that can then be taken to any of the bike clinics for free repairs.

"If anyone is interested in volunteering, we're happy to entertain that as well," Gardner said.

The Kids & Art Foundation, another first-time recipient, partners with local artists to provide art therapy for children battling cancer. Founded in 2008 by Purvi Shah, the organization brings art projects to the waiting room of the oncology wards on treatment days at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. The goal is to use art to reduce the anxiety that children and their families often experience on treatment days.

"We really want to focus on being there to support cancer families through the entire process," said Executive Director Suzanne Yau. She noted the importance of including children and their families in outpatient treatment, who often have a harder time finding support. "We really try to create experiences with families to get to know each other, so kids can feel less isolated."

The $10,000 grant will help fund the weekly art projects at the hospital by covering the costs of art supplies, as well as small stipends for the artists, volunteers and project managers who run the program.

A complete list of this year's grant recipients can be found on the PACF website.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


2 people like this
Posted by W. Reller
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 13, 2019 at 12:02 pm

W. Reller is a registered user.

Great organization!
It’s leadership is the best!
an organization, likely founded 40 years ago, perpetuates PAlo Alto’s goodness.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Couple brings Chinese zongzi to Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 5,782 views

Don't Miss Your Exit (and other lessons from an EV drive)
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 1,377 views

Goodbye Food Waste!
By Laura Stec | 2 comments | 1,252 views

Can cities handle our traffic mess? I doubt it!
By Diana Diamond | 16 comments | 1,122 views

"Better" Dads and "Re-invigorated" Moms: Happier Couples
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,079 views


Register today!

​On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More