In an especially challenging year, it takes the efforts of many to make Marin and the Bay Area a better place. If you’re in a position to give — whether it’s time, money, or items — your donation will be felt deeply by our communities and their residents. Here are just some of the local organizations making an impact.
MarinCIL assists older adults and persons with all types of disabling conditions in achieving their maximum level of sustainable independence as contributing, responsible and equal participants in society. It provides critical wrap around safety net services to support individuals living independently and those regaining their independence after a severe illness, age-related disability or life-altering accident.
Vivalon helps older adults and other vulnerable Marin residents lead fuller, healthier, happier lives through rides, meals, classes, care and advice, all fueled by the power of human connection. The fact that human connection is a vital force that drives mental and physical wellness is a truth Vivalon has witnessed for years.
Guide Dogs for the Blind is more than an industry-leading guide dog school — it is a passionate community serving people who are blind or low vision. All of the services for its clients are provided free of charge, including personalized training and extensive post-graduation support, plus financial assistance for veterinary care, if needed.
Since 1954, Lifehouse has been improving the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities in the community by providing a lifetime of compassionate support in an atmosphere of respect, inspiration, and purpose. They are committed in our quest to ensure that the individuals we serve have the opportunity to feel fulfilled in their lives.
Marin Villages reimagines aging and community for older adults who want to live at home, make new friends and stay engaged with life. The “village” is a community of members who live independently in the comfort of their own homes, and volunteers who provide members in need of help with a trusted person for errands, driving to critical appointments, outdoor help around the house, pet walking, much-appreciated companionship calls and more.
Harnessing the healing power of community, Schurig Center for Brain Injury Recovery is Marin’s only nonprofit helping survivors and their families thrive after a brain injury, like TBI, concussion or stroke. Brain injury survivors and their families are among those who have been affected significantly by the pandemic, now even more isolated than before.
These programs aim to bring the maximum number of people with developmental disabilities into recreational activities, local events, and philanthropic service, thereby empowering them and helping them find a place in the larger community. By networking with people with disabilities, parents, caregivers, local artists and agencies the recreation department can best provide high-quality, low-cost recreation programs and opportunities for this special population.
ExtraFood is the only organization that rescues excess fresh food — 4 million pounds so far — from any Marin business and immediately delivers it to programs serving Marin’s most vulnerable children, seniors and families, reaching 8,000 people. And, ExtraFood’s Community Meals program uses the excess capacity of restaurants and caterers to give meals to people in need — 85,000 meals during Covid-19.
From chronic disease to childbirth, African Americans face higher incidences of disease and mortality than any other ethnic group. Created by longtime residents of Marin City who demanded high quality, culturally relevant healthcare, this is the only public health clinic known in the U.S. to have the mission of African American health equity.
The door to the great outdoors is opened for children and adults with physical, psychological and developmental disabilities at Halleck Creek Ranch by using the four strong legs of a horse. Providing challenging experiences in a supportive environment will make a lasting, positive change in the attitudes and abilities of children and adults with disabilities, and in the people who care for them.
Founded in 1975, Casa Allegra supports people with intellectual and developmental disabilities one person at a time by providing treatments catered to individualized needs.
With services ranging from emergency shelter to permanent supportive housing, Homeward Bound of Marin supports homeless individuals and families moving from crisis to stability to thriving. The organization also works to expand housing options for veterans, seniors and others working to rebuild their independence.
For 27 years, Marin Open Studios has increased awareness of local artists within the communities where they live and work. By inviting the public into the artists’ studios, it increases art appreciation and builds future generations of artists and patrons. The MOS scholarship program encourages emerging artists to ensure inclusion and diversity for the Canal Alliance mural artists, Marin City artists, and a high school photography exhibit.
The Food Bank is facing an unprecedented challenge to support our neighbors who were already receiving assistance as well as those who now find themselves facing hunger as a result of lost hours, wages, or jobs due to Covid-19. In order to meet the dramatic need, pop-up pantries have been opened across San Francisco and Marin — most of them are serving about 10 times more people than our regular pantries.
The Sausalito Art Festival encourages, promotes, and supports the arts for the community. Proceeds from the annual Festival support Bay Area arts and community non-profits through grants, artist awards, and scholarships. Through this support, the Festival makes a significant investment in the future of its community, totaling over $1,000,000 in recent years.
Marin Museum of Contemporary Art connects art, community, and artistic expression. The exhibitions in its three galleries change every seven weeks and most of them are free to the public. MarinMOCA relies on individual donations, memberships, corporate sponsorships, and foundations to accomplish its mission of supporting local artists and providing contemporary exhibitions and education programs.
The Good Medicine Project exists to improve the outcomes for breast cancer patients by activating the healing force of social support: non-medical, informal help that friends, family and community provide to someone going through a difficult time.
Founded in 2003, Little Wishes grants the immediate and ongoing wishes of chronically and critically ill, hospitalized children to ease their discomfort and bring them moments of joy.
The experience NatureBridge provides to kids — living and learning in our national parks — is not just important, it’s transformative. Programs inspire kids to find new possibilities within themselves and connect with one another and the natural world.
At the heart of SchoolsRule-Marin lies two fundamentally important principles: the first is that all children, in all schools deserve the best possible educational opportunities, wherever they may live in our community; the second, is that we all have a collective responsibility to look beyond our neighborhoods and individual school districts, to ensure that all schools have the resources they need to fully meet the needs of their students.
Marin Foster Care Association (MFCA) is at the forefront of support and advocacy for foster children and their dedicated caregivers. Its Opportunity Project, and the recently created Covid Support Program, has distributed $67,685 in grants and material goods supporting education, health and wellness, sports, and safety.
Every dollar donated to the Sparkle Foundation goes back to the communities it serves. The group assists single mothers and their children as it understands that women rarely ask for help, and that many times children are victims of circumstances.
Play Marin provides sports and other extracurricular activities to intentionally give kids of diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to learn and grow together through play. With the goal of closing the activity gap in Marin City while promoting diversity and inclusion throughout Marin County, Play Marin started 8 years ago with one Marin City basketball team of 9 players. Today, Play Marin reaches more than 300 kids annually throughout Marin with our mission of diversity and inclusion through Play.
Beyond Differences is a student-led organization that focuses on ending social isolation among youth. It provides all of its materials and curriculum free of charge to more than 6,000 schools in all 50 states.
Young Moms Marin is a support group that provides weekly parenting and personal support to young and teen mothers. The group has helped young moms finish high school and start college, acquire and stabilize income and housing, become emancipated, deal with courts, family challenges, car and legal issues, and health crises among the other day to day issues of parenting and learning about healthy lifestyles.
Marin CASA provides a voice for abused, neglected and abandoned children in the Marin County Juvenile Court System. The CASA is often the only consistent adult the child can rely on during a time of extreme disruption and loss.
This all-volunteer parent organization enhances the quality of special education in Marin County and connects families, educators and the community. Its fundraising efforts impact all school districts in the county to help the 4,000 children with special needs learn to their fullest potential.
DrawBridge provides children who are underserved or experiencing homelessness with the opportunity to tap into their creativity, build self-confidence and experience joy through expressive art. It provides free, weekly expressive art programs for underserved children, providing a safe space for individual expression and creative exploration.
The Tutor Corps Foundation strives to inspire a love of learning in students of all backgrounds and abilities by providing 1:1 tutoring scholarships, community service grants and awards for teachers. The Tutor Crops leadership team donates their time so the Foundation has zero overhead and administrative costs and 100% of donations go directly to paying tutors.
At the Pacific Pediatric Neuro-Oncology Consortium Foundation, the vision is to lose no child to brain cancer, and to improve the quality of life for those fighting and surviving pediatric brain cancer. PNOC’s funding streams are non-traditional to allow maximal flexibility to move quickly towards implementation of highly innovative therapies that allow appropriate risks in settings where outcomes have not changed in decades.
California’s leading college success nonprofit, 10,000 Degrees helps students from low-income backgrounds get to and through college. Thanks to comprehensive personal support, college advising, and financial aid management, over 80% of 10,000 Degrees four-year college students earn bachelor’s degrees, compared to 31% of their peers nationally.
Since 2004, George Mark Children’s House has been a leader and model for the pediatric palliative care movement. It continues to help other homes across the United States get started, and its hope is that one day centers like theirs will become a standard of care for every child facing a chronic or terminal medical condition.
ScreenSense empowers local families to achieve a healthy relationship with technology. It curates research, suggests action steps and builds community support to help families stay human.
Kids Cooking For Life teaches nutrition and inspires lifelong healthy cooking and eating habits through hands-on cooking classes to students, including those from low-income communities and those with special needs. Through Kids Cooking @ Home virtual connections are made straight from students’ kitchen countertops.
Side by Side walks with young people impacted by adversity on their unique journeys to heal from trauma, restore resilience and embrace their own potential. It provides critical and comprehensive services that honor the young person’s unique needs and strengths to prevent the escalation of dangerous conditions and behaviors and set them on a positive path.
Richardson Bay Audubon works towards nature-based solutions to protect those most vulnerable. It protects open water space in Richardson Bay for migratory birds and works with volunteers of all economic and social backgrounds to form a strong community committed to improving wildlife habitat.
The group offers presentations with live owls to schools, environmental organizations and for events. It teaches about the natural history, identification and the amazing facts of our local owls. The message is one of conservation and stewardship to inspire positive change through understanding the key role raptors play in our environment.
Resilient Shore’s objective is to assist the City of San Rafael in funding and preparing a community based Shore and Watershed Adaptation Master Plan. The group provides leadership, deep local knowledge and subject matter expertise in wetland science, flood risk management, community engagement, engineering and landscape scale planning and design.
WildCare delivers world-class medical care in an open admission wildlife hospital, along with environmental education, community engagement and advocacy for the protection of wildlife and our shared habitat. The vast majority of Wildlife Hospital patients come to WildCare because of negative interactions with humans, our vehicles or our pets.
The Marine Mammal Center is the world’s largest marine mammal hospital and education center. As a critical first responder to threats facing our ocean, the Center is leading the field in ocean conservation.
By engaging the public in supporting conservation and restoration — by linking river otter recovery to the health of our watersheds through education, research and community science — the River Otter Ecology Project inspires personal connections and motivates meaningful actions to preserve our shared natural landscapes for future generations.
The Milo Foundation rescues adoptable dogs and cats from high-kill animal control shelters and adopts them to loving homes best suited to provide lifetime care. It rehabilitates dogs and cats, offers sanctuary to those that are not adoptable, and educates the public about responsible pet guardianship, including spay/neuter. Milo Point Richmond, also known as MPR, has opened up new opportunities for The Milo Foundation, with a terrific space that includes rooms for cats, three dog yards and a 3/4-acre dog park. Milo is saving and adopting out an average of 1,400 animals each year.
The Novato Baylands Stewards is dedicated to the restoration, improvement and appreciation of baylands along the San Pablo Bay shoreline. The group uses innovative methods for restoring large wetland areas, including farming native plants in the ground.
Species extinction rates are accelerating at an unprecedented pace — tens to hundreds of times higher than they have been in the past 10 million years — due to human-driven forces. Turtle Island Restoration Network’s mission is to mobilize people in local communities around the world to protect marine wildlife and the oceans and inland watersheds that sustain them.
Rodent control, especially rats, is a big focus at this time of year. YardSmartMarin empowers Marin residents and businesses to reduce their pesticide usage through awareness and education about safer, effective alternatives.
How to help:
Consider supporting one of these local nonprofits that urgently need support during the pandemic.