The Pleasanton Weekly wrapped up its 2009 Holiday Fund Friday with a record-high $93,346 raised in direct contributions and matching funds totaling $373,386.
The 4-to-1 matching funds are being provided by the Weekly's Holiday Fund partnership with the 2009 Tri-Valley Regional Initiative, a collaborative economic recovery initiative sponsored through the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, the Tri-Valley Business Council and Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.
That means that $466,732 will be available to provide assistance to some of the poorest families in the Tri-Valley.
The funding coalition is adding $4 to every $1 contributed directly to the fund, taking advantage of federal stimulus funds designated for temporary assistance to needy families, including a strong employment development component. The funds will be used to identify and evaluate the needs of families hardest hit by the economic downturn and help them directly with housing, job training, medical care and other basic necessities.
In this time of economic crisis, the Pleasanton Weekly and its Holiday Fund contributors were able to take advantage of the opportunity to receive federal funds to assist the largest number of families and individuals in the community, explained Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly and Embarcadero Media's East Bay properties.
In addition to a wider base of needy recipients, she added, the Weekly's Holiday Fund is also providing grants to Pleasanton and Tri-Valley nonprofit organizations that provide "wrap around" services for families as approved by the Tri-Valley Regional Initiative: Axis Community Health, Open Heart Kitchen and Tri-Valley Haven.
"This year, these groups will benefit more than ever by the match of your contributions to help them provide necessary services to families in need," she said.
The 2009 Holiday Fund will be used to help stabilize families in Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and Sunol living below 200 percent of the federal poverty line in two ways: by helping the wage earners in these families strengthen their job-seeking skills and re-enter the workforce through subsidized employment, and by providing families with emergency assistance that meets critical short-term or one-time needs.
With the assistance of Haggerty's office, the Pleasanton Weekly and the Tri-Valley Community Foundation have completed the project design process with Alameda County. Contracts are being drawn to authorize the federal stimulus funding for the project. Robert Half International has joined the project as a major sponsor and expert consultant for the subsidized employment portion of the project.
The Foundation expects to roll out the project by Feb. 1 under the name "American Family Recovery Project," with dedicated office space adjacent to the Tri-Valley Community Foundation offices.
As part of the Weekly's campaign, the Foundation will be working closely with Alameda County's Social Services Agency to stay current on evolving federal rules for stimulus money funding.
According to the latest federal advisory, federal stimulus money will pay for 80 percent of the wages and payroll taxes of wage earners hired through the Foundation's American Family Recovery Project through Sept. 30. Staff of the American Family Recovery Project also will link qualified families to Tri-Valley organizations under contract with Alameda County to provide emergency services. These will include rental and housing assistance, gas and electricity shut-off prevention, emergency food, school supplies and emergency "Season of Sharing" grants.
Matched by stimulus dollars, 2009 Holiday Fund donations will also allow project staff to provide vouchers to qualified families for water shut-off prevention, car repairs and emergency clothing
To qualify for the American Family Recovery Project, job seekers must be parents of a child under 18 (even if they do not live with the child), and their last month's income must meet specific earning limits. In addition, residents must be able to show proof of the right to work in the U.S.
Employers and job seekers interested in learning more about the American Family Recovery Project can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. After Feb. 1, look for information at amfamproject.tvcfoundation.org.