Around Town | May 27, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 27, 2022

Around Town

RECORD YEAR OF GIVING ... Dozens of local nonprofits have been selected to receive financial support from the Palo Alto Community Fund, which awarded a record 96 grants that total $1.7 million, the organization announced this week. The funds support a variety of causes on Peninsula, including education, families, and improving community relations and vulnerable groups. "We are buoyed by the bold generosity of our donors and the courageous commitment of the ecosystem of our local nonprofit community," Executive Director Lisa Van Dusen said in a May 23 press release. "Through our trust-based approach, PACF provides all-too-rare general operating support that gives our grantees the flexible resources they require to be nimble and responsive to the evolving needs of those they serve." Most of the beneficiaries received annual grants. For the first time, the Community Fund awarded 15 two-year grants. This year's distribution includes five Dave Mitchell Impact Grants, which are dedicated to nonprofits working to address housing security, mental health, food security, child care and education equity in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park. Those grants were given to Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen, Palo Alto Community Child Care, Palo Alto University, the Ravenswood Education Foundation (for Ravenswood Talent Initiative) and United Hope Builders. Three organizations were picked for Cammie Vail Executive Director Grants, which is named after the fund's former director who retired in June 2020: Center for Excellence in Nonpofits, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits and Thrive, The Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County. For a full list of grantees, visit

READY FOR AN UPGRADE ... Palo Alto quietly advanced this week its plan to replace the aged and undersized fire station near Mitchell Park, one of the few remaining projects in the City Council's 2014 infrastructure plan. While construction won't kick off for some time, the council on Monday approved a $797,178 contract with the firm Brown Reynolds Watford Architects for design services associated with the $10.7 million project. Fire Station 4, which is located at 3600 Middlefield Road, was one of two fire stations that was identified as in need of a replacement. The other one, Fire Station 3 near Rinconada Park, was completed in March 2020. A report from the Department of Public Works notes that the structure, which was built in 1954, "does not serve the current needs of the Fire Department and does not effectively use the current 0.6-acre portion of the property." Much like Fire Station 3, the new Mitchell Park station will have drive-thu bays for Fire Department vehicles and a training room for firefighters. Brown Reynolds Watford Architects was selected from a field of eight proposals, according to staff. According to Public Works staff, one of the firm's references lauded the firm for designing a fire station that "fit well into the neighborhood by complementing the surrounding areas" while another shared positive experiences in "value engineering" so that the project could fit within the agency's budget. The council approved the design contract unanimously, with no discussion. If things go according to plans, Palo Alto expects to kick off construction in spring 2024.

UNITED FOR UKRAINE ... It's been over three months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and there appears to be no signs of the conflict ending anytime soon, but local support for the war-torn country hasn't waned. On May 8, the Ukrainian Student Association at Stanford held a Lighthouse event, one of many held around the world. The local gathering raised more than $20,000 to support various missions in Ukraine. The event featured food, art, music and speakers, including Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia and director of the university's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). "In my opinion, Putin has already lost this war. ... He may win some battles but the big war, the objectives, he's already lost," McFaul said. He appaluded attendees for their support of Ukraine and stressed that the fight isn't over. After his remarks, organizers presented McFaul with a statue of a trident, which is featured in Ukraine's coat of arms. Other attendees included Francis Fukuyama, an FSI senior fellow at Stanford, and Dmytro Kushneruk, consul general of Ukraine in San Francisco.


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