Good Deeds

IT’S THE SEASON to discuss nonprofits and the outstanding job they are doing. The groups mentioned here serve a wide range of individuals, without narrowing focus to one specific community or area.


Marin Agricultural Land Trust, MALT, uses grants and donations to acquire development rights from ranchers and farmers. To date, nearly 50,000 acres in West Marin have been preserved. The Agriculture Institute of Marin manages the popular civic center farmers’ markets; it also educates children on healthy nutrition, and the organization intends to build a permanent market.

Animal Life

For almost 110 years, the Marin Humane Society has been headquarters for pet-related matters including licensing, adopting and caring for animals. Rescuing and rehabilitating injured mammals from local waters is the mission of the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands. “An urban wildlife hospital” is how WildCare describes itself; annually, its San Rafael facility cares for 4,000 wild animals from 200 different species.


If area nonprofits have a “mother ship,” it’s the Marin Community Foundation, which distributes $65 million annually to worthy causes, most in Marin. MarinLinks is “an incubator and sponsor of groups seeking to fill unmet community needs.” Indeed, it does that.


On Fourth Street in San Rafael, Art Works Downtown connects artists with the community via affordable studios, art exhibits and retail sales. Once a year, Marin Open Studios invites Marin residents to visit hundreds of artists’ studios in support of the arts.


For more than 50 years, the Marin Audubon Society has protected wildlife habitats, often buying land that’s slated for development. Simply put, the Marin Conservation League’s mission is “to preserve, protect and enhance the natural assets of Marin.” This is a vital organization. Conservation Corps North Bay enables youths (ages 18–25) to earn a high school degree.

In Need

Adopt-A-Family of Marin offers services providing stability for families in need, including help with rent, food, car repairs and counseling; it is highly effective. Want to look your best? Bloom, which has a San Rafael retail store, provides complimentary wardrobes and life skills training to folks seeking self-reliance. Community Action Marin directly addresses concerns of those facing poverty in Marin. At five locations, Marin Community Clinics provide physical, dental and mental health care to more than 35,000 insured and uninsured Marin residents. At its facility in Novato and at 47 local “pantries” throughout Marin, the SF-Marin Food Bank distributes six million pounds of fresh produce and unused staples a year to people who are hungry. San Rafael’s St. Vincent de Paul Society serves nearly 300 free hot meals a day, 365 days a year.


Throughout the Bay Area, Hospice by the Bay ensures quality of life care for the terminally-ill and those close to them. Senior Access says more than 6,000 Marin families deal with someone suffering from memory loss, and they offer help and guidance; even a clubhouse. Encouraging the independence and well-being of older adults is the goal of Whistlestop; they do it through classes, cultural gatherings and excellent meals.

Youth Education

The amazing 10,000 Degrees makes college scholarships available to qualified Marin students. Marin County School Volunteers matches tutors with students needing help; currently 350 adults and students volunteer in 45 Marin schools. Thanks to SchoolsRule-Marin, in recent years local businesses have contributed close to $3 million to benefit every school in the county. Founded 120 years ago, Sunny Hills Services helps vulnerable youth and their families (2,700 in total this year) “develop healthy relationships and fulfilling lives.”

We are fortunate to have these caring and sharing nonprofits in Marin. That’s my point of view. What’s yours?

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of Marin Magazine and its staff.