Pleasanton Weekly

Column - December 31, 2010

Help us reach our 2010 Holiday Fund goal

by Jeb Bing

W

e crossed the $80,000 mark this week in contributions to the Pleasanton Weekly 2010 Holiday Fund in our effort to achieve our $100,000 goal this year. With the Tri-Valley Community Foundation matching every dollar contributed one-for-one, that means we need just $10,000 to provide the $20,000 still needed in this year's campaign. Five nonprofits have been selected as this year's recipients of the eighth annual Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund and $100,000 means these beneficiaries -- Axis Community Health, Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Valley Humane Society and the Ryan Comer Cancer Resource Center at ValleyCare Health Systems -- would each receive $20,000 in needed funds to meet their growing demand for services in 2011. That means more meals for Open Heart kitchen to serve, more funds for Axis to provide increased pediatric care for uninsured children, updated resources for those seeking cancer guidance at ValleyCare, added grief counseling at Hope Hospice and more services at Valley Humane, which is expanding its Pleasanton facilities.

Even though we're seeing some improvement in the local economy, many here are still without adequate health insurance or sufficient incomes and need our help. Although Pleasanton is ranked as one of the wealthiest cities of its size in the nation, there are thousands who rely on charitable organizations for individual and family assistance, emergency aid when they're suddenly without jobs and health care. Not everyone is wealthy here, not everyone has a job, not everyone has health insurance. These are the people who need our help.

Whether we're employers or among the employed or in business for ourselves, each of us has been affected by fast-rising costs in health care, for gasoline, for basic food and milk. Those on the bottom rung of the employment ladder may have a job, but they don't earn enough to meet these ongoing higher living costs. They often have inadequate or no health insurance at all. Some have lost their jobs or their benefits, or both, because of corporate downsizing, layoffs and benefit reductions. Just last month, more than 1,000 were laid off by employers, according to the Tri-Valley Community Foundation. That's an organization that knows what the needs are as it works with the Weekly's Holiday Fund and many other charitable groups to help serve those organizations' financial needs. The Holiday Fund can put money to work very quickly whereas it might take quite a long time for these organizations to partner up with donors themselves. So this is a much more effective and direct way to get money to work in the community by giving to the Holiday Fund.

Unlike most other fundraising drives by individual organizations, the Holiday Fund has no administrative expenses or other overhead. The Pleasanton Weekly donates all the support services so all money raised can support local nonprofit groups. All funds are held in trust by the Tri-Valley Community Foundation and are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Besides the matching funds provided by the Community Foundation, every dollar contributed will go directly to this year's five beneficiaries. Unlike contributions that may go to national organizations where administrative costs can skim 15-20% off the top, every dollar contributed here stays here. Also, funds contributed to national charities often don't make their way back here again—to the Tri-Valley or even California. Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley are not on anyone's list as a demographic area in need of public aid. But many are. Unemployment is just as severe here as in other parts of the region. Even many with jobs have taken pay cuts and severe reductions in their health care plans. They need our help.

This week's Weekly lists donors to the 2010 Holiday Fund. If you're not yet on the list, I hope you'll fill out the contribution form on p. 21 and send us your check (or bring it into our office at 5506 Sunol Blvd.) so that we can add your name next week.

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