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Guest opinion: Holiday Fund demonstrates the power of local giving

The past year has been a time of immense need, with the ongoing pandemic wreaking havoc on the health and well-being of our communities. But it has also been a time of immense giving, during which countless generous people have donated their time and money to support those who need it most.

Donations to the Mountain View Voice Holiday Fund campaign support local nonprofits that provide critical help to those in need. More information is at siliconvalleycf.org/mvv-holiday-fund.

While the pandemic prognosis is improving in the Bay Area overall, the events of the past 20 months may have consequences for hundreds of thousands of residents' lives for years to come, from employment to income to food security and more.

That's why it's heartening that donors of all giving capacities have come together to support local organizations working to address the impacts of COVID-19 and improve our communities across a wide range of issues. For example, in just the first three quarters of this year, donor generosity has allowed Silicon Valley Community Foundation to disburse $464 million to Bay Area organizations supporting education, youth and community development, health, public safety and other important community issues. This figure represents a 13% increase compared to the same time period in 2020.

Local newspapers also get in on the giving. Each year at this time, the Mountain View Voice, along with the Palo Alto Weekly and The Almanac, shines a light on important stories about community needs and raises money for nonprofits serving families and children. The Voice's own Holiday Fund raised $83,000 during the 2020-2021 holiday season, thanks to overwhelming support from local donors. Silicon Valley Community Foundation covers the majority of the operating costs for these papers' campaigns, allowing recipient organizations to maximize donations. (To donate, visit mv-voice.com/holiday_fund.)

One such recipient is the Community Services Agency (CSA) of Mountain View and Los Altos. Since 1957, CSA has been providing urgent support to families who are struggling to pay their bills. Many are on the verge of losing their homes. Each year, about 3,500 people receive direct assistance from CSA, including free groceries, one-time financial aid for rent or utilities, and vouchers for work clothes or car repairs. In a community where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is nearly $3,000, CSA is filling a critical need.

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This has been especially true over the last year and a half, when pandemic-related layoffs put more families on the financial brink. For those living paycheck-to-paycheck, a little assistance goes a long way. CSA has been there to help — thanks, in part, to the generosity of Holiday Fund donors.

But there are still many challenges ahead, especially for low-income people, communities of color and undocumented residents, all of whose needs have been marginalized for too long. While the pandemic showed us we have work to do to become a more equitable society, it also proved that the human spirit cannot be easily broken. We must come together with the spirit of giving that has seen our communities through the worst of the pandemic in order to help out our neighbors most in need. That means continuing our support for local organizations working on the frontlines of housing and food security, health, education and more.

Each of us has a role to play in bettering our local community and our nation as a whole. Whether you work at a nonprofit, volunteer your time, or donate to the current Holiday Fund, you can make a world of difference.

Nicole Taylor is president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

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Guest opinion: Holiday Fund demonstrates the power of local giving

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Sun, Nov 21, 2021, 1:32 pm

The past year has been a time of immense need, with the ongoing pandemic wreaking havoc on the health and well-being of our communities. But it has also been a time of immense giving, during which countless generous people have donated their time and money to support those who need it most.

While the pandemic prognosis is improving in the Bay Area overall, the events of the past 20 months may have consequences for hundreds of thousands of residents' lives for years to come, from employment to income to food security and more.

That's why it's heartening that donors of all giving capacities have come together to support local organizations working to address the impacts of COVID-19 and improve our communities across a wide range of issues. For example, in just the first three quarters of this year, donor generosity has allowed Silicon Valley Community Foundation to disburse $464 million to Bay Area organizations supporting education, youth and community development, health, public safety and other important community issues. This figure represents a 13% increase compared to the same time period in 2020.

Local newspapers also get in on the giving. Each year at this time, the Mountain View Voice, along with the Palo Alto Weekly and The Almanac, shines a light on important stories about community needs and raises money for nonprofits serving families and children. The Voice's own Holiday Fund raised $83,000 during the 2020-2021 holiday season, thanks to overwhelming support from local donors. Silicon Valley Community Foundation covers the majority of the operating costs for these papers' campaigns, allowing recipient organizations to maximize donations. (To donate, visit mv-voice.com/holiday_fund.)

One such recipient is the Community Services Agency (CSA) of Mountain View and Los Altos. Since 1957, CSA has been providing urgent support to families who are struggling to pay their bills. Many are on the verge of losing their homes. Each year, about 3,500 people receive direct assistance from CSA, including free groceries, one-time financial aid for rent or utilities, and vouchers for work clothes or car repairs. In a community where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is nearly $3,000, CSA is filling a critical need.

This has been especially true over the last year and a half, when pandemic-related layoffs put more families on the financial brink. For those living paycheck-to-paycheck, a little assistance goes a long way. CSA has been there to help — thanks, in part, to the generosity of Holiday Fund donors.

But there are still many challenges ahead, especially for low-income people, communities of color and undocumented residents, all of whose needs have been marginalized for too long. While the pandemic showed us we have work to do to become a more equitable society, it also proved that the human spirit cannot be easily broken. We must come together with the spirit of giving that has seen our communities through the worst of the pandemic in order to help out our neighbors most in need. That means continuing our support for local organizations working on the frontlines of housing and food security, health, education and more.

Each of us has a role to play in bettering our local community and our nation as a whole. Whether you work at a nonprofit, volunteer your time, or donate to the current Holiday Fund, you can make a world of difference.

Nicole Taylor is president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

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