Pleasanton in top 3% for charitable giving

Holiday Fund great way to start philanthropy

Philanthropy is often an integral part of an overall wealth plan because those who've been blessed find ways to make a positive impact in the world.

It's no surprise then that Pleasanton ranks 316 out of 11,522 U.S. cities for charitable giving, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. That puts us in the top 3% nationwide, a testament to the quality of people who've chosen to make this city their home. It's worth looking closer at why we give so generously.

We've been blessed

When you look at everything we have in Pleasanton, it's easy to find many things to be grateful for:

* Schools that rank among the highest in the state and in the nation.

* A healthy housing market, weathering the recession better than many of our neighbors.

* Household incomes that are among the highest in the nation for cities of our size.

* Youth sports leagues for almost every team sport with coaches who volunteer countless hours of their personal time.

* An enchanting downtown area that continues to attract quality retailers and entertainment.

* Cultural activities at the Firehouse Arts Center, and free community events such as the First Wednesday street parties, Friday night concerts in the park, free movies in the park and free Shakespeare in the park.

* A beautiful park system, including Augustin Bernal Park atop Pleasanton Ridge.

Happier people give more

Research by Harvard Business School found that happier people give more, and giving makes people happier, creating a positive feedback loop. I continually hear how friendly the people in Pleasanton are. That's not to say we don't have our political or neighborhood squabbles from time to time, but overall we're happy people who like to make good things happen.

Other research has shown emotional, spiritual and even physical health benefits that come from contributing meaningfully to the lives of others. Some simply think of it as "good karma," believing that whatever we give to help others will eventually be returned to us.

Regardless of the research, charitable giving makes us feel good, and it makes sense.

But we're not all prospering

For the most part we don't see poverty here, but there are Pleasanton families who are silently struggling to make ends meet, due to tragedy, severe illness, job loss or any other setbacks. In some cases, basic family needs aren't being met. Many are looking to improve their situation, but don't have the means to pay escalating college costs.

The Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund

With so many needs in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley, a donation to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund is a great way to get started in philanthropy or to expand the reach of your current plans. Seeing the positive impact in our own backyard is especially rewarding.

Sure, there are tax breaks for many who donate, but the primary motivation is to help others. We give because we recognize our blessings, we have compassion for those less fortunate, and helping others makes us happier.

Gary E.D. Alt is co-founder of Monterey Private Wealth in Pleasanton. Send questions or comments to


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Posted by statistically speaking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2013 at 10:19 am

Absolutely, please support the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, a very worthy cause, but know that the statistic used to highlight Pleasanton's overall generosity is misleading. Using the same data source cited, Pleasanton ranks only at 8,565 of 11,522 cities when you look at the percentage of income given, which is a better measure of philanthropy. Pleasantonians donate 3.2% of their income, vs overall Californians at 4.4%, and the US as a whole at 4.7%.

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Posted by lies and statistics
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

source for your dubious claim, statistically speaking? Why do you seek to demean the generous citizens of our city? What purpose does that serve and do you really think you can guilt peeople into contributing more based on your assumptions?
How about some statistics about donations based on political affiliation? With all the bleeding hearts in this area, one would think there would no poverty in this area.

Like this comment
Posted by ????
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm

How do we know what the incomes of Pleasantonians might be?? Who classifies by town or zip codes??

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Posted by Leland
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I give less and less because it seems that more and more my tax money goes to support liberal causes, like helping poor people. So why should I be expected to give more? I'm a rugged individualist, well, actually, I'm not very rugged, but I am an individualist who believes in holding on to what his ancestors bequeathed to him. So, give me a break with this poor mouth stuff! I don't see any poor people among my neighbors or, for that matter, even the Pleasanton bottom dwellers who live at the bottom of my hill.

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Posted by Right
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2013 at 7:36 am

Leland, I have no doubt about one of your descriptions of yourself: I'm sure you're not very rugged. The growing amount of limousine liberals contributing to Obama so he won't confiscate as much of their inheritance speaks volumes about the typical elitist hypocrites on the left

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Posted by Leland
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 28, 2013 at 1:08 pm

I can't imagine why you think I'd vote for Obama. All he does is tax what my Daddy gave me and force people to get health insurance. And then I'm expected to kick in for others who weren't the rugged individualists that my Daddy was? Pulleeze!

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Posted by Right
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2013 at 5:50 pm

Leland, read my post again. I never suggested you voted for the liar occupying the peoples house. Unless you are one of those limousine liberals, in which case you'd just be like the other rich, liberals protecting their ill gotten booty while guilting others into giving up their earnings to the unproductive.

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Posted by Leland
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 29, 2013 at 10:15 am

Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)

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Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Dec 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

Wow, this is scary. Something as simple people caring for one another turns it to the mean conversations above. Being kind and caring about the less fortunate makes people feel good within. If you don't want to contribute, then don't. Leland, not to be mean, but you sound like a spoiled, selfish person who should stick your money under your mattress and hide it until you grow old.

How does this turn into a politically driven conversation. This is helping one another in our own town not about the government.

Like this comment
Posted by Hmmmm...
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm

And yet they can't pass a parcel tax to support their own schools. Well played, Pleasanton.

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Posted by Louise
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jan 13, 2014 at 8:41 am

Leland from Ruby Hill...shameful. God has blessed your family and given you many beautiful things. One day hopefully it will be appreciated when it's gone and you haven't anywhere to go or anyone to help you because you didn't know what you had.

What's a $1000 to someone who has Millions....because for someone who has nothing, a $1000 feels like a million. You will never know true love or joy until you make someone happy for nothing in return.

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Posted by Leland
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 13, 2014 at 9:09 am

Whether its private giving (charity) or government entitlements (another form of charity), both simply encourage poor people to remain poor, undereducated, and unemployed. If you don't have the gumption to do well in school, or have one's Daddy do well, well then you've got a lot of nerve expecting me to give you something. My Daddy made most of my money, but he taught me how to hang on to it and not waste it on a bunch of liberal bleeding heart causes.

I bet Louise is one of those types who doesn't have money herself but wants me and the government to foot the bill for everyone else.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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