Best Family Services in Marin

Between financial insecurity and increasing rates of homelessness, it is increasingly important to have services in place that can help struggling families not only get back on their feet, but stay there as well. The 2023 readers’ choice Best of the County winner is Canal Alliance (pictured above). For the rest of the Marin Magazine‘s Best of Marin County Family Services picks see below.

Our 2023 Philanthropy category sponsor is Chambers + Chambers.

We’ve broken it down by region: Central and Northern Marin.

Central | Northern

Central Marin

Adopt a Family

San Rafael

As the name would imply, Adopt a Family protects struggling families by, in their words “putting an arm around them.” For over 30 years, they’ve been working tirelessly to prevent homelessness, through rehousing services, emergency food assistance, utility payments and even providing holiday gifts.

35 Mitchell Blvd Suite 16, San Rafael, 415.456.7805

Canal Alliance

San Rafael

Canal Alliance stands in support of immigrants in Marin. They provide assistance with getting citizenship, help first generation students graduate from college, teach English second language classes at all levels and learn job skills to secure a steady source of income for those trying to make a new life here.

91 Larkspur St, San Rafael, 415.454.2640

Make It Home

San Rafael

For those who have been homeless for years, even once they get a house, something as simple as a set of pots and pans or a nice sofa can be unaffordable. Make It Home seeks to remove that uncomfortable empty-apartment feeling by providing furniture and household goods to those formerly in crisis.


Marin Foster Care Association

San Rafael

The Marin Foster Care Association started in 2003 as a chapter of the California State Foster Parent Association, and then in 2015 became an independent nonprofit. Going through the foster system can be one of the most stressful experiences that can happen to a child, and the Marin Foster Care Association wants to turn that time into an opportunity to heal.

55 Mitchell Blvd #2, San Rafael, 415.507.0557

Northern Marin

Gilead House


The warm halls of Gilead House have welcomed over a hundred women and their children since it opened in 1999. The group provides an environment that actually feels like a real home, and for many children is the first stable home they’ve ever had.

1024 7th St, Novato, 415.895.5575

North Bay Children’s Center


Early education is key to providing a stable economic future, and the North Bay Children’s Center works to ensure that all children have access to those much-needed early education opportunities.

Multiple locations, 415.883.6222

Sparkle Foundation


In 2003, founder Samantha Tradelius committed herself to making a difference for children and parents struggling to make ends meet, eventually opening up the Sparkle Foundation in 2016. They’re helping to bring a sparkle back into people’s lives, whether that’s through giving a mother a basket of groceries or a child a birthday present.

448 Ignacio Blvd #128, Novato, 415.552.5600


Chambers + Chambers Architects: 2023 Best of the County Philanthropy

Focused primarily on custom residential and interior design services, Chambers + Chambers is a boutique architectural practice in Mill Valley. Understated elegance, richness in color and texture and classical detailing are signature elements of Barbara Chamber’s award-winning designs.

What got you interested in philanthropy?
Giving is an expression of spiritual gratitude that makes the world a better place for everyone. I have a huge soft spot in my heart for children and so I’m compelled to give to those organizations.
Do you have a favorite charity?
Tribe Rising India is working to lift the Santal tribe out of abject poverty through education. By building the first-ever high school dedicated to Santals, they are overcoming caste prejudice and creating generational change. 
Why is it important for someone to give?
I believe our gifts are meant to be shared. When we do, we change individual lives and also impact our world.