http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/11/16/2012-holiday-fund


Pleasanton Weekly

Cover Story - November 16, 2012

2012 Holiday Fund

Give now to help others in our community

by Jeb Bing

Today marks the start of the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund campaign, a time when we ask our readers to turn their thoughts to supporting local nonprofit agencies and services that care for those in need year round.

Our goal again is $100,000, with contributions to be disbursed in two tiers, with 75% of all dollars raised going to Axis Community Health, Open Heart Kitchen, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, Valley Humane Society and ValleyCare Health System. Another 25% of the contributions will go to Hope Hospice, Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, REACH, Sandra J. Wing Therapies and Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley.

The Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund is a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. A contribution to this fund allows your donation to be tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Although there will be no matching funds as we had before through the now-closed Tri-Valley Community Foundation, SVCF and the Pleasanton Weekly will handle all costs of the campaign. That means that every dollar will go directly to the 10 nonprofits with no administrative expenses.

"It's our most ambitious campaign ever," said Gina Channell-Allen, president and publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly. "Despite a modest economic recovery in the Tri-Valley, these are still-troubling times with unemployment in Alameda County, alone, at more than 8%."

"The agencies we have targeted for assistance have found that they now have many more to serve and often fewer dollars from their regular donors who have found themselves at times facing financial, employment and health care challenges and uncertainties," she explained.

Last year, when the state of the economy was perhaps even more dire, Pleasanton Weekly readers rallied to the call and contributed $104,000 in direct donations to the Holiday Fund. When the campaign ended, and with more organizations seeking financial assistance, the Weekly provided four more recipients with a share of the donations.

Silicon Valley Community Foundation is a comprehensive center of philanthropy. Through visionary leadership, strategic grant-making and world-class experiences, it partners with donors to strengthen the common good locally and throughout the world. The community foundation is a catalyst and a leader for innovative solutions to the region's most challenging problems with more than $2 billion in assets under management and 1,600 philanthropic funds.

The community foundation, headquartered in Mountain View, is no stranger to Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley. In recent years, the community foundation and its donors have awarded grants to Amador Valley and Horizon high schools, Axis Community Health, PPIE, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies, Tri-Valley Animal Rescue and the Valley Humane Society.

"We welcome the opportunity to join with Silicon Valley Community Foundation as part of our 2012 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund," Channell-Allen said.

"What's important about giving to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund is that, in partnership with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, we can identify these programs and activities that need our help and serve our entire community," she added.

"We know what the needs are locally because of our expertise in covering these nonprofits in the Weekly's news columns and through the community foundation's programs to help serve their financial needs," she explained.

"We can put money to work very quickly whereas it might take quite a long time for these organizations to partner up with donors themselves," she added. "So this is a much more effective and direct way to get money to work in the community by giving to the Holiday Fund."

Axis Community Health

Among this year's recipients in the Tier One group is Axis Community Health, the Tri-Valley's sole provider of medical care for the area's working families who do not have health insurance. Axis provides services for more than 12,000 Tri-Valley residents, including 3,500 children and teens.

"This year, more than ever, many of our friends and neighbors need help," said Sue Compton, chief executive officer. "We are very grateful for the support of the community through the Pleasanton Weekly's Holiday Fund."

Open Heart Kitchen

Open Heart Kitchen is another Tri-Valley charity that is again on the Holiday Fund list for 2012. It expects to serve more than 200,000 meals in its current fiscal year, according to Linda McKeever, executive director. Open Heart, which serves meals in Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, has seen a 25% increase in demand for free meals, far greater than the pace of donations directly to the organization.

"Open Heart Kitchen is often the 'bridge' that enables a family to stay on its feet from week to week," McKeever said.

"Last year's generous grant from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund went directly to support our hunger relief programs," she added. "Your funds helped purchase food, supplies and the direct cost of preparing and serving meals."

Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation

Also in line for Holiday Fund help this year is Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, an organization that has a collaborative relationship with the Pleasanton Unified School District and contributes to the needs of Pleasanton students and educators, while also partnering with the business community. Founded in 1985, its goal is to raise funds in order to protect programs threatened by state budget cuts, relying on the generous support of the extended community, including the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, to help schools maintain excellence by meeting classroom needs unfunded by other means.

Valley Humane Society

Also receiving financial assistance this year from the Holiday Fund is the Valley Humane Society, an all-volunteer group that rescues, treats and finds homes for abandoned or injured animals. It does not euthanize unless health problems dictate. Its mission also includes educating others on responsible pet ownership. Last year, the organization moved into a new center on Nevada Street and continues to need funding to furnish that facility.

ValleyCare Health System

Since 1961, ValleyCare Health System has provided not-for-profit health care to the Tri-Valley and surrounding communities, expanding and adding services as the needs of the community have grown. Its highly skilled physicians, nurses and staff, combined with state-of-the-art technologies, allow ValleyCare to provide comprehensive health care. It's come a long way since its beginning as St. Paul's Hospital in Livermore in the 1950s. A nonprofit institution dependent on fees, grants and public contributions, including community assistance such as contributions from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, ValleyCare has expanded to include new and remodeled buildings in Livermore, Pleasanton and Dublin.

Hope Hospice

Beneficiaries of the Holiday Fund in the second tier, which will receive 25% of the contributions made this year, include Hope Hospice, a Dublin-based organization that serves patients and families in Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore, Alamo, Blackhawk, Castro Valley, Diablo, Danville, San Ramon, Sunol and surrounding communities in the East Bay. The organization is known throughout the Valley for the special kind of healthcare it offers. It's unique because it works to not only meet a dying patient's physical needs, but supports the emotional, social and spiritual needs of the surviving family as well. Hope Hospice care is provided regardless of the ability to pay and relies on contributions such as those raised by the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund to provide services.

Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council

With all of the cutbacks, the arts are always the first to suffer, which is why the Pleasanton Weekly has chosen the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council as a second tier beneficiary of its 2012 Holiday Fund. For more than 35 years, the PCAC has supported the visual, literary and performing arts and arts facilities in Pleasanton, reaching thousands of school-age children with arts education programs, scholarships and funding concert bands in the elementary and high schools.

REACH

Also slated to receive funds in this year's Holiday Fund campaign is REACH, an acronym for Resources Education Activities Community and Housing for special adults of the Tri-Valley. Established in 1990 by a group of concerned family members of developmentally disabled who wanted their loved ones to be able to live locally, the group's goal is to provide safe, quality living environments where residents learn self efficiency and live with dignity and respect.

Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation

Again on the Holiday Fund's list of beneficiaries is the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation. Funds that go to this organization help provide cancer patients with the benefit of complementary therapies to help alleviate the side effects caused by radiation and chemotherapy. The group is supported entirely by generous donations, including those from the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.

Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley

Also benefiting from the Holiday Fund this year will be Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, an independent, non-profit agency serving seniors over 60 in the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Sunol. The group was established in 1981 as a "Friendly Visitor" volunteer program serving 35 seniors. It has since grown to include programs that annually serve more than 1,600 seniors in the Tri-Valley area, along with providing about 5,000 information and referral calls and visits.

As the Holiday Fund is a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation, please direct your donations to:

Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund

c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation

2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300

Mountain View, California 94040

Checks should be made payable to Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

There is also an opportunity to donate through Pay Pal online at www.siliconvalleycf.org/pleasantonweeklyholidayfund.

All donations will be acknowledged shortly after being received.

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