True to our Silicon Valley roots, the Palo Alto Community Fund (PACF) supports small and new nonprofits that are bringing innovative solutions to local challenges and making a difference in our community of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park.
In 2006 PACF supported Downtown Streets with grant funding during their first full year of operation. Downtown Streets started out as an idea to engage unhoused people in their local community, and now operates in 20 locations across California, since becoming a model for other nonprofits across the country. Their crews remove trash from downtown areas, improving conditions for small businesses, residents, and visitors.
PACF continues to provide this kind of support to small nonprofits poised to serve unique populations in our area. This past year we awarded micogrants to four nonprofits in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park: CoolineKids, Omniware Networks, P.I.E.F.E.S.T., and TeleVisit.
CoolineKids (pictured above), founded by 9-year-old Christian Sbragia in 2013, provides neighborhood kids a safe place to play afterschool, and offers free play-based summer camps for young children in East Palo Alto. Today, Christian attends Cal State East Bay and leads the CoolineKids summer camps with high school volunteers.
Omniware Networks strives to strengthen understanding among peoples of different backgrounds and values through art contests that challenge youth ages 5-17 to use their artistic skills to spread love in our communities and raise awareness about hate crimes. The art is then displayed in local libraries and public spaces.
P.I.E.F.E.S.T (Pacific Islanders Encouraging Fun, Engineering, Science and Technology) is dedicated to improving access and representation for Pacific Islander youth in STEM-related careers. After attending a robotics competition and witnessing little representation or visibility of Pacific Islander students, parents came together to found the organization on PI Day in 2020. P.I.E.F.E.S.T shares educational, hands-on STEM activities, hosts STEM events, and partners with STEM programs to provide access to resources that will continue to nurture and encourage children and youth to have an interest in STEM as they grow into adulthood.
P.I.E.F.E.S.T. participants connect STEM concepts to traditional Samoan canoe making and utilize the engineering process to create their own vessel that floats on water with materials found at home. // Mataoi’s Maker Challenge Stem Workshop.
TeleVisit connects older adults, many homebound, through easy-to-use technology. PACF first funded TeleVisit at the start of the pandemic when social isolation was overwhelming for many seniors. Through their user-friendly tablets, TeleVisit enables seniors to receive a good morning call and participate in exercise classes, history discussions, and games like Bingo, Boggle, and Name That Tune.
Thank you, CoolineKids, Omniware Networks, P.I.E.F.E.S.T., and TeleVisit for the important work you do in our community. We are so glad and honored to have you as part of the #PACFPie.
Learn more about how you can support small and innovative nonprofits in our community today.