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A Season For Giving


When it comes to the holidays, even the Grinch eventually figures out that the joyful part is giving, not getting. Perhaps that’s why December is such an important month for nonprofit organizations. Warmed by the spirit of the season, our hearts open wide and our wallets even wider. “We all have a responsibility to lift up our neighbors, in whatever fashion we can,” says Kathryn Stephens, development director of A Reason to Survive (ARTS), one of the wonderful nonprofits featured here. And that doesn’t just mean writing a check. There are many different ways you can contribute — be it time, talent, or treasure. Be sure to visit their Web sites for more details.

San Diego Women’s Foundation

Who they are: This organization, founded in 2000, counts more than 200 female members among its ranks, who pool contributions and vote to determine where grants are awarded annually.
The foundation has given in excess of $2 million to 58 nonprofit programs.

What they need: More members to keep its model of philanthropy going strong. This year’s grant cycle is focused on community education programs in San Diego. (www.sdwomensfoundation.org)

Wine To Water
Who they are: Though not locally based, the cause is so worthy we couldn’t pass up a chance to mention it. Wine to Water provides clean, life-sustaining water to needy people around the world. The organization was founded by Doc Hendley, who wrote an inspiring book about his experiences volunteering in Darfur and beyond. Be sure to catch his reading next time he’s in town.

What they need:
Donations. Or host your own wine tasting to support one of the organization’s projects, or one of your choice. (www.winetowater.org)

Jenna Druck Center
Who they are: Ken Druck, PhD founded this organization in honor of his activist daughter, Jenna, who died in a bus accident while she was studying abroad. The center serves a dual purpose: empowering young women through its Spirit of Leadership programs, and supporting families who lose a child or loved one.  

What they need: New computers and fundraising/database software, a few bright and talented volunteers and board members, pro bono or deeply discounted printing services, and assistance creating and posting new Web content. (www.jennadruckcenter.org)

A Reason To Survive (ARTS)
Who they are: Tapping into creativity can kick-start lives, and ARTS makes sure that kids in crisis have a chance to express themselves through the visual, performing, and literary arts. In the short term, it helps kids forget their hardships. Continued participation gives them a glimpse of an anything-is-possible future.

What they need: In addition to cash donations, the nonprofit stays well-stocked with help from gift cards to Michaels, Blick, Aaron Brothers, Guitar Center, and Staples, as well as gas cards for transporting the kids. Professional services are a big help. Right now the nonprofit would love to find a design professional willing to donate a few hours a week to update its Web site. (www.artsurvive.org)

Walden Family Services
Who they are: With a staff of more than 60 social service professionals, Walden provides pre- and post-emancipation services to kids in foster homes all over Southern California, often taking on tough or special-needs cases — from those with developmental disabilities to pregnant teens — with tremendous success.

What they need: Walden has a year-round need for items such as diapers, jammies, blankets, books, and toys. The organization is always looking for donated services from professionals — needs range from attorneys to nurses. And the nonprofit’s big annual fundraiser, Wine D’Vine, can always use volunteers. (www.waldenfamily.org)

Feeding The Soul Foundation
Who they are: This Oceanside-based organization fosters community through creative generosity, promoting local artists, foundations, and businesses that make a positive difference. Feeding the Soul’s end-of-the-year bash, on December 17 at the Neurosciences Institute, celebrates old-timey radio shows with a family-friendly concert featuring Bushwalla, Raining Jane, and magician Justin Willman.

What they need: If you can’t make the party, where the charities it supports will be on hand to discuss their organizations, you can also swing by Jitters Coffee Pub in Oceanside, where Feeding the Soul is collecting everyday clothing for StandUp For Kids. (www.feedingthesoulfoundation.org)

Warrior Foundation
Who they are: When gravely injured soldiers arrive in San Diego for medical care and recuperation, this organization is there to help. It provides lodging and rental cars for families
who rush to their loved ones’ sides. And it helps the wounded, some who’ve lost multiple
limbs, all the way through their recovery, providing them with everything from G4 razors and amputee-friendly boots to group trips to Big Bear. Its latest — and largest — project is Freedom Station, transitional housing to help ease veterans back into civilian life.


What they need: Cash donations to fund the many valuable programs offered by Warrior Foundation. (www.warriorfoundation.com)   ANNAMARIASTEPHENS


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