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The Palo Alto Community Fund (PACF) supports local organizations that effect systems change through our Dave Mitchell Impact Grants. Made possible through the generosity of our donors, we granted $100,000 each to Climate Resilient Communities, JobTrain, and LifeMoves in 2023, recognizing and supporting their work in environmental justice, economic mobility, and housing security.

Earlier this month, we were honored to host a virtual discussion with our 2023 Dave Mitchell Impact grantees and Alexis Madrigal of KQED Forum to discuss collaborative impact and the ways in which nonprofits can work together to make real systemic change for our communities. Meet the Game Changers welcomed Violet Saena of Climate Resilient Communities, Aubrey Merriman of LifeMoves, and Barrie Hathaway of JobTrain, who shared details about their compelling work and the many ways organizations like theirs are working collaboratively to make a real and lasting impact in our communities.

These issues do not exist in a vacuum; they intersect and overlap in our daily lives and those of our neighbors. In our discussion, these leaders showed us that collaboration makes big issues solvable. They believe in the power of working together to create a brighter future for everyone. So do we.

“Building the adaptive capacity of our communities to respond is the core of Climate Resilient Communities. Our programs also address jobs and housing disparities. An example is the rain garden project to alleviate flooding risk to homes, we hire from the community and train people to build and maintain these systems.”

– Violet Saena, Executive Director, Climate Resilient Communities

“A world where everyone can thrive is rooted in people being able to be permanently housed and to live in affordable housing forever. In order to achieve this, LifeMoves pays attention to five components: physical health, behavioral health, financial health, legal support, and employment.”

-Aubrey Merriman, CEO, LifeMoves

“JobTrain focuses on jobs and careers as a strategy to move people out of poverty. But first, we need to make sure they have housing stability and food security.”

-Barrie Hathaway, President and CEO, JobTrain

The conversation ended with a key question: What is the most important concept to understand or action to take as a citizen or neighbor? The answer: get proximate—give where you live, learn more, and volunteer. Be willing to challenge your preconceived perceptions of critical issues to allow yourself to grow and become part of the solution.

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