World Refugee Day Raises Awareness


World-Refugee-Day-Event-El-Grito-de-la-Cultura-Folk-Dance-Acadamy-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-storiesToday, June 20, is World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of more than 43 million refugees around the world, who are forced to flee from their homes under threat of persecution, violence, and war. Thousands of refugees live here in the Bay Area.

Last Friday, June 14, the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter, PARS Equality Center, The Presbytery of San Jose, and the Refugee and Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County, collaborated to host the 21st Annual World Refugee Day event at the Campbell Community Center. A few hundred people gathered to enjoy music, dance, and food representing a number of cultures represented by the refugees present.

Performances included traditional dances from Russia, Eritrea and other parts of Africa, Mexico, and Israel. In addition, volunteers from several agencies who give hundreds of hours of service to mentor and care for refugees in Santa Clara County were honored.

UPDATE: You can still celebrate at the Friday, June 21, World Refugee Day 2013 event in Oakland. It’s taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lake Merritt Bandstand, behind Fairyland. It includes food, performances, games, and free Fairyland tickets to the first 300 families. The event is sponsored by the East Bay Refugee Forum, and other local organizations.

See more photos and find out how you can get involved after the jump. [Read more…]

Reach and Teach’s Grand Re-Opening at New ‘Jewel of a Spot’


Craig Wiesner (left) and Derrick Kikuchi

The unique peace and social justice education store, Reach and Teach, is celebrating its grand re-opening at an all new location in San Mateo starting at 11 a.m., this Saturday, June 22, with live music, games, snacks, door prizes, storytelling, and more.

In addition to the books, toys, educational tools, fair trade products, jewelry, and gift items Reach and Teach sells, the new location at 144 W. 25th Ave. features a travel section with resources for world-changers and anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of other cultures.

Reach And Teach was founded as an online company in 2004, opening  its first brick-and-mortar shop in San Mateoin 2010. Owners Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi recently moved the store from its former location at 178 South Blvd. to the new storefront  in the heart of the city.

“We’ve learned so much and have become so wonderfully connected to the people of San Mateo that we were thrilled to be able to find a jewel of a spot on 25th Avenue where more people will get to know us and where we’ll be able to expand our offerings of books, fair-trade gifts, toys and games,” Kikuchi said in a press release. [Read more…]

Too Many Nonprofits Confusing Donors; Collaboration a Must to Solve Big Problems


Kay Sprinkel Grace

There are way too many nonprofits.

That was the blunt observation fundraising consultant and best-selling author Kay Sprinkel Grace made to a couple hundred nonprofit leaders and staff people at Nonprofit Boot Camp, last week in Mountain View.

Her point, that donors are confused by the large number of nonprofits surrounding similar issues and challenges. Donors want to know that their money is going toward solutions, not toward supporting an organization’s existence.

The answer, she said, is in collaboration between nonprofits, government, and business.

“Nobody thinks we can do it alone anymore. We’ve got to partner, we’ve got to collaborate,” she said. “One of our problems is—and I’m here to tell you at a Nonprofit Boot Camp—we have way too many nonprofits. Way too many nonprofits, I’m sorry. And I’m not saying that any of you are not of value. But I’m saying that for our donors it is totally confusing, because donors behave in a “both/and” way, not an “either/or.” [Read more…]

Nonprofit Boot Camp, Social Media Training a Winning Combo


Social Media for Nonprofits Co-founder Ritu Sharma at last year’s Silicon Valley conference.

Silicon Valley nonprofit leaders, staff, and other key volunteers take note: the best training and networking events for nonprofits are taking place right in your backyard next week, June 12 and 13.

The group Social Media for Nonprofits (SM4NP) is bringing back the popular Nonprofit Boot Camp, previously run by the Craigslist Foundation, on Wednesday, June 12, and is conveniently offering its invaluable Social Media for Nonprofits Conference the following day. Both day-long conferences are being held at Microsoft’s Mountain View Conference Center, 1065 La Avenida St.

Registration is happening now on line, and if you want to take advantage of this opportunity sign up as soon as possible, as both events are expected to fill up. There’s an added incentive of a 25 percent discount on registration fees if you sign up for both.

Nonprofit Boot Camp

The Nonprofit Boot Camp returns after a two-year hiatus, during which the Craigslist Foundation wound down and transferred its programs to other nonprofits. SM4NP took over the organizing role of Boot Camp, which was a natural fit since SM4NP co-founder, Darian Rodriguez Heyman, was the original Boot Camp founder, while serving as the Craigslist Foundation’s executive director. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in June


Child-Advocates-Silicon-ValleyIt’s warm in the Bay Area this weekend, a preview of the summer ahead. After school is out, and graduations are over, think about helping out  to make our communities just a little nicer and friendlier during this season. Here are five suggestions for the month of June.

1. Speak Up for Children: The nonprofit group  Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers who are willing to stand up and aid children in the foster care system. More than 100 children are currently on the waiting list for advocate services. Orientations for interested or new volunteers are taking place throughout the month at locations in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Milpitas, and San Jose. See the group’s orientation page for more information.

2. Enjoy Some Music, Dance, and Food in SF: Kick off your summer with some great music and maybe some dancing in The City. Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, tap your feet to the beat of the Golden Gate Band Festival, at the Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden [Read more…]