Amir, an organization that inspires young adults to pursue social justice through gardening, along with two other Bay Area non-profits, Sunday Friends and Village Harvest, are amongst recipients of grants awarded by The Good People Fund in 2014. The Fund discovers and supports small, effective tzedakah initiatives in the United States and Israel dedicated to tikkun olam (repairing the world) that might otherwise fall below the radar screen of larger funders. In 2014, these 3 programs collectively received grants of more than $28,000 to facilitate their creative efforts to relieve hunger and poverty.
Amir (www.amirproject.org) was founded by a Jewish visionary and Bay Area resident, David Fox. David and several camp friends started the organization in 2010 as a way to bring together their passion for the environment and social justice with experiential gardening. Today a nationwide program operating at twenty-three camp sites, Amir is based upon the tenets of commonality, cooperation, and sharing resources. Upon completing an intense training program, college students become Amir Farmer Fellows committed to managing gardens at summer camps, both Jewish and secular, and teach campers how to become stewards of the Earth, while imparting a commitment to social justice. Amir harnesses garden education to demonstrate the power of sharing resources, to teach about issues related to hunger and poverty, and to enlighten youth on the moral imperative to help those in need. As a result of the summer’s efforts, healthy produce grown by Amir farmers and campers is donated to local food pantries. The Good People Fund grant of $12,000 was directed towards the cost of a Farm Apprentice to oversee and train the Farmer Fellows.
The Good People Fund prides itself on identifying good people, doing great work to help others. While some of the Good People Fund grantees are not traditional Jewish organizations, they all are guided by the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world). Nearby grantees that share in this philosophy are Village Harvest and Sunday Friends.
Craig Diserens was part of a team who founded Village Harvest to service the greater San Francisco area(www.villageharvest.org), and uses volunteers to glean the abundance of fruit (nearly 500,000 pounds last year alone) from private property and re-developed orchards and deliver it to local hunger programs. What differentiates Village Harvest’s efforts is their belief that the volunteers’ actions actually strengthen the community around them. Their grant of nearly $5,000 was directed to their Orchards Harvesting Program which gathers volunteers to pick historic or noncommercial orchards (some planted during the Gold Rush 150 years ago) and preserve and restore old orchards for future generations.
San Jose-based Sunday Friends (www.sundayfriends.org) was born from founder Janis Baron’s desire to sensitize her own children to diversity and volunteerism. Today, more than 1,200 volunteers provide a full day of learning and earning opportunities to hundreds of low-income immigrant families in San Jose. Children and their parents spend their Sundays at three school sites collaborating with volunteers in a variety of giving-back activities. Parents attend classes that concentrate on English language, effective parenting, money management and other life skills training to instill positive benefits for everyone. Children partner with volunteers to learn about nutrition, art and other enrichment activities. Through this active participation families earn tickets which can be redeemed for necessities in the onsite store, the Treasure Chest. Together, with help from the Good People Fund, Sunday Friends added a Rent Relief program through which participants may earn up to $200 credit towards their rent thus freeing up funds for other necessities. Part of their recent grant of $11,735 enabled 45 families to earn these credits.
“People like David, Craig and Janis prove our belief that it is most often good people, responding to a need in our world, who can effect change and inspire all of us to do the same,” explains Naomi Eisenberger, Executive Director of the Good People Fund. Eisenberger will visit from New Jersey with all three founders in November. “Our focus is on these good people and their often unnoticed efforts. With the help of our donors our wish is to nurture and grow these programs to a point where they can succeed and gain wider recognition.”
All of these organizations find creative and innovative ways to fund their initiatives and provide for their communities while operating with very low overhead and generating the most inspiring results. These three non-profits join 65 others financially supported and professionally guided by The Good People Fund (www.goodpeoplefund.org). They were collectively awarded nearly $29,000 in grants over the past year.
For further information, photos or to speak with Naomi, David, Craig or Janis please contact Rachel Litcofsky at 508-314-4304 or Rachel@goodpeoplefund.org
Founded in 2008, The Good People Fund, inspired by the Jewish concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world), responds to significant problems such as poverty, disability, trauma and social isolation, primarily in the United States and Israel. We provide financial support and management guidance for small to medium grassroots efforts. Our grant recipients are leading their non-profits with annual budgets under $500,000 and no professional development staff but are driven and determined to make a difference in their communities. With its guiding philosophy that small actions can have huge impacts and its emphasis on the personal connection, the GPF has raised and granted more than $6 million dollars since its inception in 2008. Further information can be found at www.goodpeoplefund.org