The holiday season is a wonderful time to give thanks and celebrate traditions with treasured family and friends. We know that the holidays are also a time when many are inspired to give, so we have created a Holiday Giving Guide highlighting incredible organizations serving Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
“This year’s Holiday Giving Guide features local organizations making a difference in the areas of the arts, safety net services, youth development, early education and more,” said Manuel Santamaria, SVCF’s Vice President of Community Impact. He added, “We know that the needs facing our residents are great. These organizations help enrich and support our community and its residents of all ages and backgrounds.”
SVCF encourages you to consider giving to a local organization this holiday season. “It is a privilege for us to be able to connect our donors with the local nonprofit community,” said Kimberly Myers Hewlett, Senior Vice President of Donor Engagement. “The nonprofit organizations that serve our region are addressing our region's challenges in innovative ways, and donor contributions are critical to achieving that impact.”
If you're looking to give specifically to organizations serving San Mateo (SMC), Santa Clara County (SCC) or both, service regions are denoted in the descriptions below.
Art in Action
(SMC) Art in Action provides art curriculum, materials, and training that empowers students to develop creativity, critical thinking, self-expression, and problem-solving skills. Through hands-on learning students expand their knowledge in art and art techniques, cultural understanding, technology, and more — so every student has the skills they need to succeed and be prepared for jobs of the future.
Mountain View Center for Performing Arts
(SCC) The Mountain View Center for Performing Arts enriches Silicon Valley audiences through enjoyment, celebration and interaction with the arts. Since opening in 1991, millions of patrons have experienced thousands of amazing performances on the Center’s three stages. Over 50 diverse Bay Area performing arts organizations, including the Center’s two acclaimed Home Companies, TheatreWorks and Peninsula Youth Theatre, provide a comprehensive and well-rounded season of performing arts at the Center.
(SCC) Naatak is a theater company in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to producing intelligent and entertaining plays. Launched in 1995, Naatak is the most prominent and largest Indian theater company in the United States, having performed continuously for 23 years. Naatak has been declared “Best Live Theatre in Silicon Valley” by the San Jose Mercury News for four years in a row – 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
School of Arts and Culture at MHP
(SCC) The School of Arts and Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza in the Eastside of San Jose catalyzes creativity and empowers community. Their values include creativity, heritage, inclusion, place and service. They offer programs including arts education, community engagement, leadership development as well as the celebration and beautification of the Mayfair community.
Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto
(SMC) Nuestra Casa's mission is to increase the community participation of the emerging Latino population of East Palo Alto and its surrounding communities. Key programs include: environmental justice and equity projects with SF Bay Conservation and Development Commission, parent academies training parents to better support teens, food distribution programs distributing fresh groceries to 3,000 residents.
Parent Institute for Quality Education Inc.
(SMB + SCC) PIQE creates partnerships between parents, students, and educators to further students’ academic achievement. PIQE’s civic engagement program is designed to address the needs of parent leaders who choose to broaden their involvement in advocacy but lack the tools and skills to do so. Parents are provided opportunities to put their new knowledge and skills into practice by networking with other leaders and determining next steps in forming an organized group of civically-engaged leaders around issues that directly affect their schools and communities.
San José Public Library Foundation
(SCC) The San Jose Public Library Foundation understands that a healthy democracy is dependent upon broad and diverse community input and participation despite the disparities that exist across different socioeconomic groups. The SJPLF focuses on youth because this target population is the key to unlocking broader gains in civic participation across all groups and provides advocacy, financial support, and leadership to San Jose public libraries and educational programs to create an educated, equitable, and engaged community.
Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center
(SMC) PCRC partners with individuals, groups and institutions to empower people, build relationships and reduce violence through collaborative and innovative processes. PCRC’s Engaging Communities Initiative works with groups to address issues that affect their neighborhoods. Through facilitated dialogue and structured community meetings, PCRC helps create safe spaces where people can partner with local police, nonprofits and businesses to find sustainable solutions to social challenges that are often based on cultural differences, linguistic barriers, obstacles to accessing health care and socio-economic inequities.
Center for Domestic Peace
(SMC + SCC) Guided by the Center for Domestic Peace, the Bay Area Domestic Violence Shelter Collaborative formed in 2010. Currently, 13 domestic violence shelter-based agencies from the seven Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara) work together to strategize and provide support services to strengthen the critical safety net for domestic violence victims in the region.
CORA Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse
(SMC) CORA is the only agency in San Mateo County solely dedicated to helping those in our community affected by intimate partner abuse. Using trauma-informed practices, CORA serves an average of over 11,000 individuals, including their children. Programs and services include: housing and shelter; 24-hour bilingual hotline; mental health and social support services; systems advocacy and case management connects clients to resources to help them build self-sufficiency and resilience; legal advocacy and representation; food program; and community education.
(SCC) Maitri provides free and confidential services which help families and individuals from South Asia facing domestic violence, emotional abuse, cultural alienation, or family conﬂict.The organization fills a critical gap in services by being sensitive to the culture of the South Asian community and by speaking the languages that South Asian survivors speak. They offer a helpline, transitional housing, legal advocacy, counseling and economic empowerment programs.
African American Community Services Agency
(SCC) The African American Community Services Agency (AACSA) is one of the only African American cultural centers in Silicon Valley. AACSA’s mission is to provide quality educational, cultural, social and recreational programs, services and activities in order to strengthen African American identity, culture and values. Programs include: afterschool education, health and mental health for youth, a computer training center, information and career center.
Bay Area Tutoring Association
(SMC + SCC) The Bay Area Tutoring Association helps to develop an academic tutoring workforce for the support of Common Core Math, Literacy, Next Generation Science Standards, STEM, Computer Science intervention and enrichment programs and services.
(SMC) College Track focuses on supporting students with limited resources to chart their course to college. Over the last 22 years, College Track has broadened their program to address the growing college completion gap, making a 10-year commitment to each and every student they serve.
Daly City Peninsula Partnership Collaborative - Our Second Home Program*
(SMC) Our Second Home (OSH) is Daly City’s first family resource center dedicated to the needs of children and the adults in their lives. They work with families, early childhood professionals, and caregivers to promote healthy development, academic readiness and safety for children in Daly City and northern San Mateo County. Some of their programs include on-site subsidized morning preschool, care coordination and referral assistance for families and counseling and group support services for parents and caregivers.
Raising a Reader
(SMC + SCC) Raising a Reader’s mission is to engage caregivers in a routine of book sharing with their children from birth through age eight to foster healthy brain development, healthy relationships, a love of reading, and the literacy skills critical for school success. Through a network of more than 2,900 locations, Raising a Reader reaches more than 126,000 children and families each year.
Resource Area for Teaching
(SMC + SCC) RAFT’s mission is to help educators transform a child’s learning experience through hands on education to one that inspires the joy and discovery of learning. They support 8,000 educators throughout the Bay Area. RAFT offers activity kits & idea sheets, professional development and mentoring services, and low-cost teaching supplies that enrich and improve the education of over 600,000 young people each year.
San Jose Grail Family Services
(SCC) Serving the East San Jose community since the 1960s, Grail Family Services provides programming and services for families with children 0-8 years old in the areas of literacy, oral language and cognitive development, and family engagement. They provide a comfortable, culturally and linguistically sensitive environment where families learn together and build a network of support with others in the community.
The Primary School - East Palo Alto
(SMC) The Primary School in East Palo Alto fosters each child’s well-being as a foundation for academic and life success by drawing on the strengths of the child’s entire community including family, educators, and medical and mental health providers. 272 children ages, 18 months – 7 years old, are served with 47% of them receiving specialized support services and individualized education programming.
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
(SCC) Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) has set a goal to see 10 percent of trips by bicycle by 2025. SVBC works strategically in six broad advocacy initiatives that help achieve their mission to create a healthy community, environment, and economy through bicycling for people who live, work, or play in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
(SMC + SCC) Canopy’s mission is to grow urban tree canopy in mid-peninsula communities for the benefit of all. They plant and steward community trees in partnership with residents, volunteers, and school communities, municipalities, and grassroots partners. They also uphold and promote policies and funding that protects trees and promotes a healthy urban forest.
Committee for Green Foothills
(SMC + SCC) The mission of the Committee for Green Foothills is to protect open space, farmland, and natural resources in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties for the benefit of all through advocacy, education, and grassroots action. The organization monitors local land issues, educated decision-makers, empowers community members, collaborates with many local nonprofits and trains leaders in local activism.
People for Open Space
(SMC + SCC) For more than 60 years, the People for Open Space (also known as the Greenbelt Alliance) have been holistically addressing land-use issues across the Bay Area —from land conservation to smart growth development. They advocate for, provide expertise on, and build support behind public policy and planning that supports open space conservation and smart growth.
(SMC) Located in Pescadero, Pie Ranch cultivates a healthy and just food system from seed to table through food education, farmer training, and regional partnerships. They offer sliding scale, fee-for-service programs for K-12 schools, facilitate an apprenticeship program which gives apprentices the opportunity to experience the full cycle of a farm, and they work in collaboration with hundreds of community leaders, organizations, businesses, agencies and citizens to connect the dots in new ways.
(SCC) Veggielution utilizes a unique community farm model that mobilizes volunteers to cultivate and grow healthy crops, which are then made available to program participants and other local residents. Veggielution’s six acre community farm and gathering space is located in the Emma Prusch Farm Park in the Mayfair neighborhood.
Loaves and Fishes Family Kitchen Eastside Neighborhood Center
(SCC) Loaves & Fishes provides hot nutritious meals that are prepared, delivered and served to low-income families, disadvantaged individuals with a special concern for children, families, seniors, veterans, students, disabled, and the homeless. Since its inception, Loaves & Fishes has provided over 6.5 million meals.
(SCC) Based in San José, Martha's Kitchen serves dinner to over 300 individuals twice a week out of Sacred Heart Church’s hall. In addition, Martha's Kitchen partners with 25 other organizations to provide meals for those in need all over the South Bay.
North Peninsula Food Pantry &and Dining Center of Daly City
(SMC) North Peninsula Food Pantry & Dining Center of Daly City provides a food pantry program which serves an average of 100 families each month with a three-day supply of shelf stable food. Their hot meal program, North Peninsula Dining Center, provides a hot meal to over 60 men, women, and children three times a week.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties
(SMC + SCC) Second Harvest Food Bank provides food to an average of over a quarter of a million kids, families and seniors every month through nutrition programs and an expansive network of 310 nonprofit partners at 1,000 sites in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
St. Anthony Foundation
(SMC) St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room is the largest “soup-kitchen” between San Francisco and San Jose and the only organization that provides food daily throughout the year. The Dining Room’s provides an average of 500 meals a day in a social and friendly atmosphere to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.
Asian Americans for Community Involvement of Santa Clara County
(SCC) AACI is one of the largest community-based organizations advocating for and serving the marginalized and vulnerable ethnic communities in Santa Clara County. AACI’s mission is to strengthen the hope and resilience of community members by improving their health, mental health and well-being. Programs include: a comprehensive health center that provides high quality care, behavioral health services that helps clients connect to counseling, case management and outreach and education, and a wellness program that includes homeless and domestic violence shelters and youth programming.
(SMC + SCC) The Community Health Awareness Council is a Santa Clara County nonprofit mental health services agency which offers counseling, therapy, support groups, classes, and psychoeducational programs to children, adults, and families. These include school-based learning, a family resource center and multicultural programs to over 10,000 families.
Children's Health Council
(SMC + SCC) CHC removes barriers to learning and mental health, helping children and teens become resilient, happy and successful at home, at school and in life. CHC provides clinical, therapeutic and school-based services and they're been a trusted community resource for over 65 years — providing life-chaging services for children with ADHD, learning differences, anxiety, depression and autism.
Center for Training & Careers Inc.
(SCC) The Center for Training & Careers' ConXión to Community organization in San José provides education, workforce, behavioral health and other social services to disconnected youth and adults. ConXión provides onsite support services specifically designed for populations with multiple barriers to employment through case management and assessments of basic skills, career interests and ability.
Parents Helping Parents
(SCC) Parents Helping Parents has been helping families of children with disabilities since 1976. Their mission is to help children and adults with disabilities receive the support and services they need to reach their full potential by providing information, training and resources to build strong families and improve systems of care. Families can receive a range of services in multiple languages, virtually all of which are at no cost.
Roots Community Health Center
(SCC) The Roots Community Health Center in San José is the first primary care service provider in the South Bay aimed at improving the health and well-being of African-Americans. In addition, Roots also matches patients, including homeless individuals and ex-prisoners, with jobs and coordinates mental and physical health care services for the community.
Sonrisas Dental Health Inc
(SMC) Sonrisas Dental provides screening, education and dental services to residents of the San Mateo County coast.Sonrisas Dental Health also operates a comprehensive mobile dental service that delivers on-site care to elderly nursing facility residents, disabled adults living in group homes, and low-income children at Head Start centers, schools, and other locations.
Housing and Transportation
Avenidas - Door to Door Transportation Services Program*
(SMC) Serving seniors in San Mateo County, the Avenidas Door to Door transportation program provides local rides for seniors so they may go to medical appointments, community centers, classes, shopping, etc. Volunteer drivers are sensitive to the mobility and sight limitations of passengers and ensure safe and thoughtful transportation.
Bay Area Furniture Bank
(SMC + SCC) The Bay Area Furniture Bank recycles gently used furniture and provides it to individuals and families moving out of homelessness and desperately trying to make ends meet. They partner with a vast network of social service organizations to identify individuals and families who would benefit from the gift of furniture.
(SCC) Destination: Home is a public-private partnership that uses collective impact strategies to accomplish its mission of ending homelessness in Santa Clara County. They drive and align resources to create permanent housing and sustainable support systems built for the long term. The organization is improving how systems work together to end homelessness, as well as protect individuals and families at risk of becoming homeless.
(SMC + SCC) LifeMoves provides interim housing and supportive services for homeless families and individuals to rapidly return to stable housing and achieve long-term self-sufficiency. On any given night, they feed, clothe and house over 850 Peninsula and Silicon Valley residents experiencing homelessness.
(SMC) Project WeHOPE offers several programs in service of its mission which is to help people become healthy, employed and housed using innovative solutions. They serve as an emergency homeless shelter for San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, offer a transitional/supportive housing program, a mobile hygiene outreach program that provides free showers and laundry service, and a workforce development program that provides WeHOPE clients and the general community with free certification courses to become a Security Guard or Custodial Technician.
Amigos de Guadalupe: Center for Justice and Empowerment
(SCC) Amigos addresses inequities through community organizing and advocacy, education (English as a Second Language, citizenship classes, afterschool and summer programming for young children and youth), and direct social services in the Mayfair community.
African Advocacy Network
(SMC + SCC) African Advocacy Network provides legal services to the growing diaspora of African and Afro-Caribbean immigrants in the Peninsula and South Bay. AAN’s case management and social integration services are based on a unique cultural brokering model which provides adjustment of status, family petitions, and citizenship & naturalization.
Immigration Services of Mountain View
(SCC) ISMV provides low bono legal work and have a passion for representing those most in need. ISMV practices family-based immigration law with a special emphasis on helping victims of domestic violence or other serious crime and students who dream of legalizing their status in the United States.
Vietnamese Voluntary Foundation
(SCC) VIVO is a community-based organization providing comprehensive acculturation, employment, health and human support, senior and family services to residents in Santa Clara County. Bilingual/bicultural services include: senior programs, youth and family programs, health education, English as a second language (ESL), computer skills training, employment placement, citizenship classes, community advocacy and other services.
(SMC) Coastside Hope’s mission is to offer basic life necessities with dignity and hope to mid-coast residents. Coastside Hope provides food, clothing, housing assistance, online application for government benefits, referrals, and other support services. Each year, Coastside Hope serves over 3,000 people including more than 1,000 children.
Puente de la Costa Sur
(SMC) Puente provides vital services for men, women, children, and families living in the rural San Mateo South Coast communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio. Puente provides a single point of entry for men, women, and children to have access to safety net services, health and wellness services, youth employment, leadership development, and community engagement and action.
Sacred Heart Community Service
(SCC) SHCS is one of the leading providers of services to the working poor in Santa Clara County, serving more than 50,000 unduplicated children and adults in 2009 alone. The agency provides essential services (food, clothing, housing and utility assistance), with programs that foster self-sufficiency (employment, family mentoring, citizenship, and youth and adult education) and outreach.
(SMC) Samaritan House operates two free medical clinics, a homeless shelter, a food and nutrition program (e.g., food delivery, soup kitchen, food pantry), a homelessness prevention program, a variety of educational classes, a holiday program, a family resource center, and a worker resource center. All services are provided free of charge.
St. Joseph’s Family Center
(SCC) SJFC’s mission is to alleviate hunger and homelessness in South Santa Clara County by providing food, housing and employment related services, and advocating for system changes to improve the quality of life for the most vulnerable people in our communities. Programs include: food assistance pantry, hot meal program for homeless, Gilroy Street Team, and emergency rental and utility assistance.
Peninsula Family Service – Senior Peer Counseling Program*
(SMC) Through the Senior Peer Counseling program, specially-trained volunteer counselors provide weekly visits to adults age 55+ to help manage transitions and life changes such as health concerns, mobility issues, caregiver needs, and grief. Special care is taken to connect participants with someone who shares similar life-experiences and perspectives, with programs offered in languages such as English, Mandarin, Spanish, and Tagalog, and to participants who identify as LGBTQ+.
Peninsula Volunteers, Inc. - Meals on Wheels Program*
(SMC) The goal of Peninsula Volunteers Meals on Wheels program is to increase food security and access to nutritious food; keeping older adults and adults with disabilities well-nourished and healthy, living independently in their own homes. Every week, Peninsula Volunteers delivers over 3,000 hot, nutritious meals to primarily homebound seniors and adults with disabilities in San Mateo County who are unable to cook and shop for themselves.
Senior Coastsiders, Inc.
(SMC) For over 40 years Senior Coastsiders has been providing opportunities, support and resources for older adults and adults with disabilities living on the Coastside, from Montara to Pescadero and Skyline to the Sea. They offer a range of programs including home repair, transportation, care management, nutrition and many activities and classes.
The Health Trust – Meals on Wheels Program*
(SCC) Serving Santa Clara County, The Health Trust Meals on Wheels program delivers hot, nutritious meals five days a week, sometimes with the option of a once-a-week frozen meal, to seniors and adults with disabilities. In addition to the meals, their drivers also provide daily wellness checks, making sure that our clients are safe, alert and cared for.
Californians for Justice Education Fund, Inc.
(SMC + SCC) CFJ is a statewide youth-powered organization fighting for racial justice. They havetrained hundreds of youth of color from San Jose to be community leaders and organizers and are currently working on several campaigns within the East Side Union High School District to ensure every student feels safe, supported and capable of thriving.
Foundation for a College Education
(SMC) Foundation for a College Education’s mission is to increase the number of students of color from East Palo Alto and similar communities who graduate from a four-year college or university. Eighty-five percent of FCE students have either graduated from college or are on track to graduate within five years. Nationally, only about half of the students who begin college will graduate in five years, and only about a quarter of students of color will complete college during the same timeframe.
Fresh Lifelines for Youth, Inc.
(SCC) Fly is dedicated to interrupting the pipeline to prison for youth and supporting them on their path to healthy, free, and productive lives. FLY educates young people about the laws that affect them, support them to become leaders in their communities, and give them positive mentors and role models.
Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club, Inc.
(SMC) Since 1955, MPBGC has been serving youth ages 5-19. They provide a nurturing environment that stimulates thinking and brings about a sense of belonging to a community that cares for one another. They offer a wide range of programs including those focused on academic success, character building, healthy lifestyles and athletics.
One East Palo Alto
(SMC) One East Palo Alto (OEPA) provides city residents with education resources, counseling, and job support for youth and their families with multi-cultural perspective. Additional services include: programs for high-risk youth, recreation and community activity, and internships.
Youth Leadership Institute
(SMC + SCC) With a major presence in San Mateo, the Youth Leadership Institute builds communities where young people and their adult allies come together to create positive community change that promotes social justice and racial equity. They engage San Mateo youth in addressing a wide range of community and school-based issues, such as: health equity, economic security, just transportation, youth civic engagement, and immigration justice.
Youth United for Community Action (YUCA)
(SMC) Located in East Palo Alto, YUCA is a grassroots community organization created, led, and run by young people of color, majority from low-income communities. They provide a safe space for young people to empower themselves and work on environmental and social justice issues through grassroots community organizing. They are currently focused on two campaigns: 1) to promote environmental health, justice, and anti-displacement principles in land use planning policies, and 2) to promote thriving school environments aiming to increase high school graduation rates and preparing students for college or career.