Working as a consultant to nonprofit organizations, I’m on my fair share of mailing lists. And each year at this time, I’m deluged with solicitations– from past clients, deserving organizations, and good causes of every imaginable variety (or at least it feels that way some times). And each year I try to pick a few whose work I found particularly moving, relevant, or just plain necessary. One thing I almost never do is forward a solicitation, or try to rope friends and colleagues into supporting an organization I care about. They have their own causes, and who am I to tell them what their priorities should be?
You can see where this is going.
The Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund is different than a lot of organizations I work with. They’re not fighting for social justice or tackling huge environmental challenges. They’re not organizing workers or advocating for policy change. What they are doing (and have done for the past 24 years) is providing emergency assistance to Bay Area families experiencing a crisis– and taking the opportunity presented by the holiday season to remind us that our neighbors need our help. At LightBox Collaborative, we’ve been lucky enough this year to have the chance to support Season of Sharing’s work this year by helping them build out a social media strategy to complement the wonderful storytelling the Chronicle does about the Fund’s beneficiaries this year, and it’s been a very rewarding experience.
Each year, the Chronicle Season of Sharing Fund raises millions of dollars and distributes them throughout the year through a network of community service agencies here in the Bay Area, with funds going directly toward rent or a mortgage payment. They also direct donations to food banks in the area, providing more than 1.5 million meals each year for people who might otherwise go hungry. And because of the generous support of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund and the San Francisco Chronicle, 100% of donations made to the Fund goes toward keeping people in their homes, with food on their table, during the holiday season and throughout the year. You can see the stories of those helped by campaign here. And you can show your own support for the campaign by connecting with them on Facebook or following them on Twitter.
The work that the Fund does won’t address the underlying causes of poverty, of course. And if you ask me, the fact that so many of our neighbors are in need only highlights how vital it is that we continue fighting for greater justice, equity and fairness in our society. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t real people with real needs, right now. And the Season of Sharing Fund provides a way for us to help them.
We’ve lived in San Francisco for a decade now, though my wife and I never meant to stay more than a year or two. At its worst, the Bay Area can seem like a collection of sub-cultures that spend most of their days looking (and talking) past each other. But at it’s best it’s obvious that it’s a single community– that looks out for it’s own, that cares about the people on the margins of society, that finds ways for neighbors to help neighbors.
That’s the kind of community I want to live in, and the Season of Sharing Fund is the kind of cause I want to support. I think you should, too.