You’ve heard the adage, “It feels better to give than to receive,” right? Well, according to the folks at the Cleveland Clinic, that’s because during the act of giving, our brains secrete “feel good” chemicals, such as serotonin (which regulates your mood), dopamine (which gives you a sense of pleasure), and oxytocin (which creates a sense of connection with others). So, in the spirit of generosity this holiday season, we’re offering you the opportunity to feel good by doing good.
Over a decade ago, we came up with an expansive guide to giving, and this year it includes more than 40 groups here in Marin. Executive editor Kasia Pawlowska has carefully curated hundreds of opportunities to suit every budget, from $50 to $10,000 — but these organizations truly appreciate any donation amount you’re able to give. Is maintaining the health of the oceans your passion, or is it supporting climate change research, or helping the homeless or animals? For instance, $50 could supply 40 pounds of puppy food to the Milo Foundation; healthy snacks to the newly opened Karma Club, a free space at the Northgate Mall for teens; or 100 meals for community members in need provided by the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Are you able to give $250? If so, Vivalon could use that money to deliver 36 home-cooked meals to homebound older adults, as well as providing safety checks, or it could purchase a Puppy Raising Kit for Marin’s Guide Dogs for the Blind. Up the ante to $2,500, and you can fund the Opportunity Project for five foster kids at Marin Foster Care, which supports 175 children in Marin, from infants to teens — all in need of some TLC. For those dedicated to history, the environment and animals, $10,000 could be used to build an outdoor classroom for events, programs and engagement opportunities at Richardson Bay Audubon Center & Sanctuary. The opportunities we’ve printed in this issue are only a few of the many available.
One program that’s close to our hearts is the annual Santa visit to kids in Marin City via seaplane. If you happen to be driving along Hwy 101 on December 20, you’ll notice the crowd of very excited kids gathered at the dock. This tradition started 13 years ago, when Felecia Gaston of Performing Stars suggested to her good friend Aaron Singer, owner of Seaplane Adventures, that he take the Southern Marin Fire District’s annual holiday gifting event to the next level by delivering the donated presents to the children on one of his planes. (Felecia always loves a good show!) You’ll see a sneak peek on page 25 and learn how a Jewish kid from Oklahoma discovered joy in dressing up as Santa. Big kudos to all the kids for showing up for the photoshoot, and to über-patient and talented photographer Cameron Cressman for making the process easy and fun. If you’d like to donate a gift to the Southern Marin Fire District at 333 Johnston Street in Sausalito, be sure to do so well before the 20th.
We also hope you enjoy Kirsten Jones Neff’s love letter to San Francisco. Here at 270 Media, we’ve grown tired of hearing about the San Francisco doom loop. Might I suggest finding some time over the holidays to stroll Union Square’s holiday lights, dine in one of the many delicious restaurants, and get inspired in a world-class museum or cultural institution? Now, if only there was a one-stop-shop guide to San Francisco… Well, lucky you — there is! We recently launched a Local Getaways app to help you navigate where to eat, stay and play not only in San Francisco, but also throughout the Greater Bay Area. Check it out and let us know what you think. With that announcement, dare I say — mic drop — it’s been a great year, and we wish you a happy holiday season and a safe, happy New Year!