Holiday Fund campaign ends today

Still time to make donations to help nonprofits in 2017

The Pleasanton Weekly's Holiday Fund closes today.

The 10 beneficiaries talked about how the fund helps their organizations in remarks to local real estate professionals who have given generously over the years to the annual fund campaign.

Each year, the Valley Real Estate Network (VREN), which represents Realtors, holds a holiday party with proceeds, after expenses, given to the Holiday Fund.

Jen Oxe of Agape Villages Foster Family Agency told the VREN audience about how her organization finds homes for abused and neglected children throughout 14 counties in Northern California, including here in Alameda County.

Sue Compton and Valerie Jonas described the work of Axis Community Health, which is the Tri-Valley's sole provider of medical and mental health services for individuals and families who have a low income or who are uninsured. It serves more than 14,000 members of our community.

Natalie Brown, director of annual giving at Hope Hospice, said that for more than 35 years, the organization has provided end-of- life care to families in the Tri-Valley regardless of insurance or income status.

The holiday season is typically filled with merriment, celebrations and longstanding traditions, she said, but many individuals and families who have lost a loved one feel lost. To help those who have experienced a loss, Hope Hospice holds workshops that provide practical ideas, strategies and helpful tips that can make a difference during the holiday season. The Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund helps Hope Hospice support these and other programs, Brown said.

Brian Gentry of Fremont Bank, a board member of REACH (Resources Education Activities Community and Housing), said the organization serves special-needs adults of the Tri-Valley. It uses contributions from the Holiday Fund to enhance the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities.

Sandra J. Wing talked about her Healing Therapies Foundation, which offers therapies to help alleviate the side effects caused by radiation and chemotherapy.

"Our charity helps our neighbors, families and friends in the Tri-Valley, and the Weekly's Holiday Fund is a true example of the work going on to help and empower our community," she told the real estate group.

The Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley, an independent, nonprofit agency that receives contributions made to the Holiday Fund, serves seniors over 60, explained its director, Marlene Petersen.

Also speaking at the VREN meeting were Sunflower Hill board members Janeen Rubino Brumm and Debi Zentner. They talked about how the organization is working to create a sustainable residential community for individuals with special needs, similar to senior living.

Representing the Tri-Valley YMCA, which recently moved from Dublin to Pleasanton, Kelly Dulka and Kenny Altenburg thanked the real estate group for its support of the Holiday Fund, which they said will help the Y promote healthy living through its programs that are open to all families in the area.

ValleyCare Charitable Foundation, part of Stanford Health at ValleyCare, uses its share of the Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund to support its needs, executive director Shaké Sulikyan said.

Melanie Sadek of the Valley Humane Society, a well-known organization that, with the help of contributions to the Holiday Fund, rescues and rehabilitates dogs and cats and supports and preserves existing pet-guardian relationships.

The Pleasanton Weekly partners with Silicon Valley Community Foundation, which handles all finances related to the Holiday Fund. This allows donors to take advantage of a tax deduction in 2017 for the dollars they contribute through the foundation's 501(c)(3) status to the fullest extent of the law if contributions are made before the end of December.

The Pleasanton Weekly, in turn, handles all costs of the campaign so that every dollar contributed goes directly to these 10 nonprofits with no administrative expenses.

Contributions can be sent to:

Pleasanton Weekly Holiday Fund

c/o Silicon Valley Community Foundation

2440 West El Camino Real, Suite 300

Mountain View, California 94040

Checks should be made payable to Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Credit card gifts also can be made at:


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