Corporate Partnerships Contribute to Divide Between Silicon Valley Nonprofits

A recent article in the San Jose Mercury News contrasts the different Silicon Valley fundraising experiences of a well-connected, tech-savvy nonprofit organization with a clearly defined mission to that of a smaller organization with few connections, little business infrastructure, and a mission that's less widely appreciated.

According to the News, the Second Harvest Food Bank has garnered tremendous support from such Silicon Valley heavyweights as Cisco Systems, enabling it to raise approximately $20 million worth of food and $11 million in cash.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Los Altos-based Center for Healing and Wellness, an organization that provides counseling services to people with life-threatening diseases and their families, barely survived the year on a $200,000 budget.

In order to tap into a greater share of the valley's wealth, the Center's executive director, Juliet Correia, is refashioning the organization's image in the hopes of attracting a corporate partnership akin to that of Second Harvest's relationship with Cisco. She plans to change the Center's name, expand its services, and revamp its Web site in hopes of raising the organization's visibility and attracting more donors.

"All the food banks are wonderful. We give to them," notes Hank Adams, a stockbroker who was recently diagnosed with cancer. "But people need to remember there are different kinds of needs out there. What would be lost [if the Center for Healing and Wellness] disappeared is an organization that teaches you can have a full and joyous life in the face of life-threatening disease. This is a tremendous resource. I'm not sure the community knows it."

John Boudreau. "Valley of Extremes Divides Nonprofit Haves From Have-Nots" San Jose Mercury News 12/23/2000.