The Pleasanton Weekly distributed checks this week totaling $73,307.76 to 12 Tri-Valley nonprofits that were the beneficiaries of this newspaper's 2015 Holiday Fund.
Joining with publisher Gina Channell-Allen and editor Jeb Bing in the awards ceremony at the Rotary Club of Pleasanton luncheon were Anubha Jain, manager of corporate responsibility for Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and her associate Sean Rico Fisher. The Foundation partners with the Weekly in handling the Holiday Fund each year.
It was a timely luncheon, as representatives of these charitable organizations told the Rotary members that their organizations are still facing diminished contributions as a result of a waning recession and yet needing increased funds to meet a growing number of those in need.
"Even though the Tri-Valley is seeing an economic rebound, the good times have not reached the nonprofit caregivers that depend on public contributions to serve our community," Channell-Allen said.
Sue Compton, chief executive of Axis Community Health, summed it up: "This donation allows us to provide additional medical visits for the growing number of low-income and uninsured families who are coming to us for care."
Contributions to the 2015 Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund were distributed in two tiers, with 65% of all dollars raised going to Axis, Open Heart Kitchen, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, Valley Humane Society and Stanford Health at ValleyCare.
Another 35% of the contributions went to Agape Villages Foster Family Agency, Hope Hospice, Museum on Main, REACH, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley and Sunflower Hill.
Accepting checks for $9,530 were Charlotte Salomon, chairwoman of Axis Capital Campaign, Axis Community Health; Linda McKeever, executive director, Open Heart Kitchen; Melanie Sadek, executive director, Valley Humane Society; Joyce and Bob Shapiro, co-chairs, ValleyCare Health Charitable Foundation, and Susan Hayes, director of PPIE Foundation.
Accepting checks for $3,665 were Jennifer Oxe, executive director, Agape Villages; Pleasanton Police Capt. Craig Eicher for Hope Hospice; Jim Gulseth, board member, Museum on Main; Eileen Manger, tenant coordinator, REACH; Sandra J. Wing, founder, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation; Marlene Petersen, director, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, and Susan Houghton, president, Sunflower Hill.
Manger said REACH, an acronym for Resources Education Activities Community and Housing for special-needs adults of the Tri-Valley, uses funds collected through the Holiday Fund to enhance the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities. It uses these resources to support education programs, for activities and to provide housing opportunities, with nine homes in the Tri-Valley serving 26 people with disabilities that range from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome to autism.
McKeever said Open Heart Kitchen now serves six low-income senior centers, has added more schools to its children's box lunch programs and has added longer hours and additional sites to its hot-meal programs. "The Weekly's Holiday Fund has been extremely helpful in allowing us to expand programs and keep up with the growing need in the community," she said.
Hayes, whose PPIE Foundation contributes to the needs of Pleasanton students and educators, agreed, saying, "We appreciate the generosity of the community whose donations through Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund have helped us achieve our goals."
Petersen added that the Holiday Fund enables her Senior Support Program to help seniors go through the aging process, such as dealing with the loss of a loved one, friends, the ability to drive and hear well, and many other meaningful experiences we often take for granted.
In presenting the Holiday Fund checks, Channell-Allen pointed out that by partnering with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which handled all finances related to the Fund, all donors could take advantage of a tax deduction for the dollars they contributed through the foundation's 501(c)(3) status to the fullest extent of the law.
Also, with the Pleasanton Weekly handling all costs of the campaign, every dollar goes directly to the 12 nonprofits with no administrative expenses, she added.