Around Town: Palo Alto Community Fund Awards Record 96 Grants to Nonprofits | New


In the latest column, news from the Palo Alto Community Fund awarding nearly 100 grants to local nonprofits, the city council advancing a plan to upgrade Fire Station 4, and Stanford students hosting an event in support of Ukraine.

RECORD YEAR FOR DONATIONS… Dozens of local associations have received financial support from the Palo Alto Community Fundwhich awarded a record 96 grants totaling $1.7 million, the organization announced May 23. The funds support a variety of causes on the peninsula, including education, families, and improving community relations and vulnerable groups.

“We are buoyed by the bold generosity of our donors and the courageous commitment of our local nonprofit community ecosystem,” said the CEO. Lisa VanDussen said in a May 23 press release. “Through our trust-based approach, PACF provides all-too-scarce general operational support that gives our grantees the flexible resources they need to be nimble and responsive to the changing needs of those they serve.”

Most grantees received annual grants. For the first time, the Community Fund awarded 15 two-year grants.

This year’s cast includes five Dave Mitchell Impact Grants, which are dedicated to nonprofits working for housing security, mental health, food security, childcare, and education equity in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park. These grants were awarded to Bread and Fish Home Cooking, Palo Alto Community Child Care, University of Palo Altothe Ravenswood Educational Foundation (for Ravenswood Talent Initiative) and United builders of hope.

Three organizations were selected for Cammie Vail Executive Director Grantswhich bears the name of the former director of the fund who retired in June 2020: Center of Excellence in Nonprofit Organizations, Silicon Valley Nonprofit Council and Thrive, the San Mateo County Nonprofit Alliance. For a full list of recipients, visit

READY FOR AN UPGRADE… Palo Alto has quietly advanced its plan to replace the aging and undersized fire station near Mitchell Parkone of the few remaining projects in the city council’s 2014 infrastructure plan.

Although construction won’t start for some time, the council on May 23 approved a $797,178 contract with the company. Brown Reynolds Watford Architects for design services associated with the $10.7 million project. Fire station 4which is located at 3600 Middlefield Road, was one of two fire stations identified as in need of replacement. The other, Fire station 3 near Rinconada Parkwas completed in March 2020.

A Department of Public Works report notes that the structure, which was built in 1954, “does not meet the current needs of the fire service and does not effectively utilize the current 0.6 acre portion of the property”.

Like Fire Station 3, the new Mitchell Park station will have walk-through bays for fire department vehicles and a firefighter training room.

Brown Reynolds Watford Architects was selected from eight proposals, according to staff.

According to Public Works staff, one of the company’s references praised the company for designing a fire station that “fits in well with the neighborhood by complementing the surrounding areas”, while another shared positive experiences in “value engineering” so that the project could fit within the agency’s budget. The board approved the design contract unanimously, without discussion.

If things go according to plan, Palo Alto plans to start construction in the spring of 2024.

UNITED FOR UKRAINE… It has been more than three months since Russia invaded Ukraine, and there seems to be no sign of an end to the conflict soon, but local support in the war-torn country has not wavered.

On May 8, the Association of Ukrainian Students at Stanford held a Lighthouse event, one of many held around the world. The local rally raised over $20,000 to support various missions in Ukraine. The event included food, art, music and speakers, including Michael McFaulformer United States Ambassador to Russia and head of the university Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (ISP).

“In my opinion, Putin has already lost this war. … He can win a few battles but the big war, the objectives, he’s already lost,” McFaul said. He applauded the participants for their support for Ukraine and stressed that the fight was not over.

After his remarks, the organizers present McFaul with a trident statue, which is featured on the coat of arms of Ukraine. Other participants included Francois FukuyamaFSI Principal Investigator at Stanford, and Dmytro KushnerukConsul General of Ukraine in San Francisco.


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