Around Pleasanton: Museum on Main to benefit from Holiday Fund donations


Among the 15 local nonprofits that will benefit from this year's Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, the Museum on Main is counting on its share of your contributions to meet its financial needs in 2019.

"Thank you for including us in the Holiday Fund Drive this year," Jim DeMersman, the museum's executive director, wrote me last month after our Holiday Fund recipients were announced.

"We are deeply appreciative and it makes a difference as we strive to provide programs for the entire community," he added.

The good news for DeMersman is that as of this week, we have passed the $44,000 mark in contributions to the 2018 Holiday Fund. That's a welcome achievement at a time when charities and nonprofits across the country are finding it's a tough time to attract donors because of the sweeping tax code changes Congress passed last year.

That tax reform law doubled the standard deduction that taxpayers can take on their taxes when they file their 2018 returns.

The Tax Policy Center predicts that the number of people who itemize their charitable contributions will drop by half. This could include many in Pleasanton and the Tri-Valley who formerly found tax relief by itemizing their charitable contributions.

That could have a significant impact, which is why we're bolstering our effort to make sure our donors increase their levels of giving to help the Museum on Main and the 14 other nonprofits we're supporting this year. We want to make sure they have the funds they need in the coming year. The Museum on Main deserves your support. It is the steward of our community's historical treasures.

Founded in 1963, it carries out its mission with permanent and temporary displays in its museum building at 603 Main St. in downtown Pleasanton.

Pleasanton Weekly's Holiday Fund will help pay for museum programs that include MoM's Reading time (a preschool reading time with activities), family days, special tours for school groups, scout troops, and other youth and adult organizations and special events such as Wines and Valentines and Ghost Walks.

Perhaps its most popular among those programs is the tribute to the late Ed Kinney, called "An Afternoon or Evening With ..." More than 4,200 people attended last year's series. The program brings guest lecturers to the stages at the Firehouse Arts Center and Amador Theater.

Sarah Schaefer, the museum's director of education, said the speaker series for 2019 will include Chautauqua actors portraying famous historical individuals, such as England's King Henry VIII, aviation pioneer Bessie Coleman, British leader Winston Churchill, President Harry S. Truman, artist Pablo Picasso and entertainer George Burns.

Also, in 2019, the museum will rely on membership fees and donations as it embarks on a reinstallation of its permanent history gallery that will allow greater accessibility to its collection in a 21st century way.

The other nonprofits that will benefit from 2018 Holiday Fund donations are: Agape Villages Foster Family Agency, Axis Community Health, CityServe of the Tri-Valley, Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, Pleasanton Military Families, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, Sunflower Hill, Tri-Valley REACH, ValleyCare Charitable Foundation and Valley Humane Society.

For information on how to contribute, check out our online donation page. All donations will be acknowledged in print shortly after being received.

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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