Record-high $150,000 in donations to Weekly's Holiday Fund | January 20, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - January 20, 2012

Record-high $150,000 in donations to Weekly's Holiday Fund

4 new nonprofits added to 5 initial beneficiaries

by Jeb Bing

With the Pleasanton Weekly 2011 Holiday Fund posting record-high contributions, the fund is adding four more nonprofits to share part of the $150,402 readers have donated in the two-month campaign that ended last Friday.

The four are Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation, Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, PPIE, Senior Support, Resources Education Activities Community and Housing for Special Adults of the Tri-Valley (REACH), and the Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation. Each of these organizations will receive $5,000 from the Holiday Fund.

The five organizations initially designated as recipients in the campaign will share equally in the distribution of the balance of $130,402. They are Axis Community Health, Hope Hospice, Open Heart Kitchen, Valley Humane Society and the Ryan Comer Cancer Resource Center at ValleyCare Health System Foundation.

The actual amount to be distributed to these five nonprofits will be based on a final audit of Holiday Fund contributions by the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, which provided $50,000 in matching funds.

Donations ranged from $25 in individual contributions to as much as $14,000 from one donor. The total amount exceeded contributions given in the 2010 Holiday Fund campaign, which ended at this time a year ago and totaled $147,000, also setting a record.

"Given the continued uncertainty in the local economy, the fact that our readers rallied to the call and contributed $100,000 in direct donations over and above the Tri-Valley Community Foundation's match is truly a credit to the passion our community has for helping those in need," said Gina Channell-Allen, president and publisher of the Pleasanton Weekly.

"Our goal this year was a conservative $100,000 with the match," she added. "We're pleased that this generous giving by the community enables us to share some of the donations with another four nonprofits that also need financial assistance."

Contributors to the Holiday Fund also have the assurance that every dollar they donated will go to these nonprofits. Unlike most other fundraising drives by individual organizations, the Holiday Fund has no administrative expenses or other overhead. The Pleasanton Weekly donated all the support services so all money raised can support local nonprofit groups.

All funds were held in trust by the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, which is now undertaking a final audit, and were tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

David Rice, president of the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, said giving to the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund this year was more important than ever.

"Although Pleasanton is ranked as one of the wealthiest cities of its size in the nation, there are thousands who rely on many of these organizations for individual and family assistance, emergency aid when they're suddenly without jobs and health care," Rice said. "Not everyone is wealthy here, not everyone has a job, not everyone has health insurance. These are the people who need our help."

"Whether we're employers or among the employed or in business for ourselves, each of us has been affected by fast-rising costs -- in health care, for basic commodities and food, even for highway and bridge tolls," Rice said.

Rice added that although the 2011 Holiday Fund campaign has ended, the public should continue to support other fundraising efforts during the year, such as through the Red Cross and similar charity organizations.

"Direct contributions to the nine organizations that will share in Holiday Fund donations also are appreciated all during the year," he said.

Among the Holiday Fund recipients are the Ryan Comer Cancer Resource Center at ValleyCare. The center is located inside the ValleyCare Health Library and offers personalized reference assistance and access to medical databases, some in other languages, including Web sites and articles, plus books, videos and models.

"Funds received from the 2010 campaign have been instrumental in keeping our cancer support groups running," said Stephanie du Pont-Pensa of ValleyCare's Ancillary & Outpatient Services. "We were even able to add another support group for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients."

Open Heart Kitchen, another Tri-Valley charity that was again on the Holiday Fund list for 2011, expects to serve more than 200,000 meals in its current fiscal year, according to Linda McKeever, executive director. Open Heart, which serves meals in Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, has seen a 25 percent increase in demand for free meals, far greater than the pace of donations directly to the organization.

"Open Heart Kitchen is often the 'bridge' that enables a family to stay on its feet from week to week," McKeever said.

Axis Community Health, another recipient of this year's campaign, is the Tri-Valley's sole provider of medical care for the area's working families who do not have health insurance. Axis provides services for more than 12,000 Tri-Valley residents, including 3,500 children and teens.

"This year, more than ever, many of our friends and neighbors need help," said Sue Compton, executive director. "We are very grateful for the support of the community through the Pleasanton Weekly's Holiday Fund. It truly makes a difference for many members of our community."

Another beneficiary of the 2011 Holiday Fund campaign is Hope Hospice. The organization, headed by Larry Lakes, is known throughout the Valley for the special kind of healthcare it offers. It's unique because it works to not only meet a dying patient's physical needs, but supports their emotional, social, and spiritual needs as well. Hope Hospice care is provided regardless of the ability to pay and relies on contributions such as those raised by the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund to provide services.

Once again, the Valley Humane Society was on the list of recipients for the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund. The nonprofit organization rescues, treats and funds homes for abandoned or injured animals. It does not euthanize unless health problems dictate.

Of the four organizations added to share a part of the Holiday Fund donations, PPIE provides financial support to Pleasanton schools and education programs. Senior Support program is an independent, non-profit agency serving seniors over 60 in the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, and Sunol. REACH for Special Adults of the Tri-Valley is a marriage of HOUSE, Inc. and Tri-Valley Special Needs Fund, working to provide homes locally for those developmentally disabled so that they can live close to their families. The Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation, currently beginning its fourth year, provides immediate relief to cancer patients by helping them pay for complementary therapies -- such as therapeutic massage, acupressure, acupuncture and more -- during their cancer treatments.

"Thanks to the generous support of the community, the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund, in partnership with the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, can serve more of the financial needs of these nonprofits," Dave Rice explained.

"We will be able to put money to work very quickly where as it might take quite a long time for these organizations to partner up with donors themselves," he added.


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