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Around Pleasanton: Holiday Fund helps Cultural Arts Council help others

 

Pleasanton's Cultural Arts Council is one of 15 nonprofits that will benefit from the Pleasanton Weekly's 2018 Holiday Fund campaign now underway. And deservedly so.

Incorporated in 1979, the nonprofit promotes arts, provides facilities for arts activities and creates an environment where residents can pursue and enjoy a wide range of cultural opportunities.

Even before its incorporation, founders of the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council (also known as PCAC) lobbied in 1976 to establish the Pleasanton Community Concert Band, raised money and promoted in-kind donations to build the Pleasanton Cultural Center on Black Avenue and even raised funds to donate a race horse to the Chamber of Commerce for auction.

Since then, PCAC has supported the arts community by providing public relations and strategic planning seminars for local arts groups through its quarterly newsletter, an arts calendar and programs it sponsors.

These have included classical piano concerts by Rueibin Chen, Tamriko Siprashvili, Temirzhan Yerzhanov and Klara Frei, dance and singing performances by April Verch.

PCAC also has funded the Big Draw and provided students in a local Y-Camp with art experiences. This year it is also providing Arts in Action grants to Amador Valley and Foothill high schools for their spring musical, a new potter's wheel for Village High School, a multidimensional art garden project at Mohr Elementary, and helping with funding the piano tuning and dollies for the pianos at Foothill.

"Our organization gives grants and money awards to students for their creative passions and talents," said Kelly Cousins, PCAC's president. "We had the 'Youth Excellence in Arts,' or YEA, awards in September with local high school students who were judged by professionals in their field."

The YEA awards of $500 each, given annually, go to students in writing, visual arts, music and performing arts categories. The program is supported by individually donated endowment monies and now from contributions made to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund.

But the Cultural Arts Council, like the 14 other charities the 2018 Holiday Fund is supporting, is bracing for less outside donations this year as its directors watch the effects of last year's tax law. An article in the Nov. 28 issue of The Wall Street Journal by Richard Rubin stated that the law "sharply reduced the number of people who get deductions for contributions to nonprofit groups."

"The tax law pushed millions of upper-middle-class households from itemizing deductions into a larger standard deduction," Rubin wrote. "That shift could change the annual pattern of December donations that charities count on."

According to an article by Marcy Gordon in Markets Associated Press, a central pillar of the tax law doubled the standard deduction used by two-thirds of Americans to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples.

"That means many taxpayers who now itemize deductions will find it's no longer beneficial for them do so," Gordon wrote. "They'll find that the deductions they normally take, including for charitable giving, don't add up to as much as the new standard amount."

That's why contributions to the Holiday Fund are so important. Most donors give $50, $100, $200 or even larger amounts without concern for tax deductions. They donate because they genuinely want to help support local nonprofits, such as the PCAC.

Also benefiting from this year's Holiday Fund are Agape Villages, Axis Community Health, CityServe, Hope Hospice, Museum on Main, Open Heart Kitchen, Pleasanton Military Families, PPIE, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, Sunflower Hill, REACH, Valley Humane Society and ValleyCare Charitable Foundation.

Editor's note: Jeb Bing is editor emeritus for the Pleasanton Weekly. His "Around Pleasanton" columns typically run on the second and fourth Fridays of every month.

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Nominations due by Sept. 16

Pleasanton Weekly and DanvilleSanRamon.com are once again putting out a call for nominations and sponsorships for the annual Tri-Valley Heroes awards - our salute to the community members dedicated to bettering the Tri-Valley and the lives of its residents.

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