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Charitable Foundation Trustee Lydia Kou presented a $2,000 check to Myllicent Hamilton, board director of the Westwind 4-H Handicapped Riding Program, a 2011 grant recipient, at this morning's Palo Alto District tour meeting.

The Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR), donated $53,500 in the form of grants and scholarships in 2011. The Charitable Foundation is a trust which makes grants available to organizations from donations by members and friends of the local trade association.

The 2011 grant recipients are non-profit organizations that help homeless and low-income individuals and families in Silicon Valley. They include Assistant League of Los Gatos/Saratoga, Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC), Edgewood Center for Children & Families, Friends of Deer Hollow Farm, Housing Industry Foundation, JW House, JustREAD (on campus of Mountain View/Los Altos Union High School District), Partners for New Generations, Peninsula Association for Retarded Children & Adults (PARCA), ProjectREAD – Menlo Park, West Valley Community Services, Westwind 4-H Handicapped Riding Institute and YWCA of Silicon Valley.

As part of its annual Scholarship Program, the Charitable Foundation likewise presented a $1,000 grant to each of 18 graduating seniors from public high schools in Silicon Valley. The Foundation has been assisting students with the scholarship grants for the past 12 years. The Charitable Foundation grants included donations from SILVAR’s districts to their local community nonprofit organizations.

“Like last year, our local nonprofits have been hit hard by the weak economy and continue to need our help. We thank our members and friends for being so generous in their support of the Foundation this year,” said John Tripp, 2012 president of the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation. “We urge our members to continue their support this year, so we can continue our commitment to the welfare and prosperity of communities where we live and work.”

The Charitable Foundation trustees meet quarterly to evaluate grant applications. Serving on the 2012 Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Board of Trustees are Tripp, Lehua Greenman, Jimmy Kang, Lydia Kou, Carolyn Miller and Susan Sweeley.

Non-profit organizations operating within the areas served by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® are eligible for grant consideration provided they meet the evaluation criteria below. Grant applicants are evaluated on the following guidelines:

• The community need for the expenditure, as well as the number of people who will be served;
• The impact on the recipient organization;
• The location of the community served; (Although requests for state, national and international projects are considered, preference is given to projects with a more local base.)
• The financial soundness and efficiency of the organization;
• Accuracy and completeness of the application;
• The structure of volunteer organization and level of volunteer support; and
• Appropriate use of the Foundation’s previous grants (if applicable).

For more information and details about the Charitable Foundation grants, visit www.silvar.org or call SILVAR at (408) 200-0100.

Member of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) presented three grants this week, which will help children and, hopefully, make their holiday season brighter.

At the Menlo Park/Atherton District meeting on Monday, the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation Trust presented $2,500 to the Westwind 4-H Riding Program for the Handicapped. Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation President Lisa Keith presented the grant to Judy Lookabill, board member of the Westwind Riding Institute.

Westwind 4-H Riding for the Handicapped has been providing horseback riding instruction for children with physical handicaps since 1978. Westwind Community Barn in Los Altos Hills is the home base of the Westwind 4-H riding program.

Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation President Lisa Keith and Judy Lookabill, board member of the Westwind Riding Institute, hold the big check.

Lookabill thanked SILVAR members for the donation and continued support of the 4-H program. She said the benefits of horse riding are both psychological and physiological. The program builds confidence and self-esteem; develops coordination and balance; and is one of the few recreational activities, other than swimming, that is truly physically therapeutic, since it requires the involvement of the whole body and utilizes every muscle and joint.

On Wednesday, SILVAR’s Los Gatos/Saratoga District presented a check for $3,990 to EMQ FamiliesFirst in Los Gatos. The donation came from proceeds from the district’s annual pumpkin auction. Los Gatos/Saratoga District Chair Bill Rehbock presented the check to Bettina Kohlbrenner, executive director for fund development for the agency.

Los Gatos/Saratoga District Chair Bill Rehbock is pictured here with Bettina Kohlbrenner, executive director for fund development for the agency.

EMQ (Eastfield Ming Quong) FamiliesFirst helps children in crisis and their families. The agency provides shelter and care to children who are displaced and whose families are unable to care for them, so that they can recover from trauma, abuse and addiction, and rebuild their lives. Kohlbrenner said the agency currently cares for 40 children in the area. She thanked the district for its generous donation.

“Your donation will help make the holidays brighter for these children,” Kohlbrenner told SILVAR members.

At the Thursday Cupertino/Sunnyvale District tour meeting, the Silicon Valley REALTORS® Charitable Foundation presented a check for $1,250 to Child Advocates of Santa Clara and San Mateo. Charitable Foundation trustee Carolyn Miller presented the check to Kathy Williams, CASA board director.

Child Advocates of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties trains and supports Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers to work one-on-one with abused and neglected children. A CASA volunteer speaks up for a child’s best interests, helping to ensure that he or she will live in a safe and loving environment and has the resources needed to grow up healthy and strong. Williams said the child advocates are “like big brothers and big sisters with teeth,” who serve as champions of the children and look out for their best interest.

Charitable Foundation trustee Carolyn Miller and Kathy Williams, CASA board director, hold the big check.

The Foundation’s grant will help underwrite the cost of recruiting, training and supervising additional volunteer advocates for the over 200 children currently on their list. Williams thanked SILVAR for the donation and noted it comes at a good time, and will provide great help for the children during the holidays.

Child Advocates of Santa Clara & San Mateo Counties trains and supports Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers to work one-on-one with abused and neglected children. A CASA volunteer speaks up for a child’s best interests, helping to ensure that he or she will live in a safe and loving environment and has the resources needed to grow up healthy and strong. Williams said the child advocates are “like big brothers and big sisters with teeth,” who serve as champions of the children and look out for their best interest.

The Foundation’s grant will help underwrite the cost of recruiting, training and supervising additional volunteer advocates for the over 200 children currently on their list. Williams thanked SILVAR for the donation and noted it comes at a good time, and will provide great help for the children during the holidays.

Also, in late November, SILVAR members of the Palo Alto District celebrated the district’s annual Partners in Education(PiE) Campaign and presented a check for $30,740 to the PiE Foundation and Palo Alto Unified School District.

Palo Alto Partners in Education is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting Palo Alto public elementary, middle and high schools by raising money to meet classroom needs otherwise left unfunded. PiE funds support programs in art, home to school translations, math and science.

Palo Alto District PiE Campaign Chair Desiree Docktor is pictured here with PAUSD Superintendent Kevin Skelly.

Thank you to all SILVAR members who generously contribute to the Charitable Foundation and district fundraisers that help individuals and families in need in communities where members live and work!

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