2021 Yes, Virginia Grants Bring Holiday Joy to 1,700 Local Families

A student at Families Forward Learning Center is all smiles after meeting Santa.

This holiday season, Pasadena Community Foundation’s long-standing Yes, Virginia Grant Program helped bring toys, gift cards, groceries, and festive experiences to more than 1,700 client families from 11 local nonprofit organizations.

Started in 1994, the Yes, Virginia Fund has supported children in need in the Pasadena community during the holiday season via grants to local nonprofit agencies. The agencies plan special experiences and material assistance like toys, books, and grocery store gift cards. In 2019, after 25 years of dedicated fundraising and community support, the Yes, Virginia Fund reached its endowment goal of $500,000, ensuring that it will continue to support holiday grants to local nonprofit agencies every year for decades to come.

PCF Program Manager Allie Carreon sees a special resonance to this year’s grant awards. “We have endured another tough pandemic year, and kids are still facing uncertainty and struggle. They are catching up from more than a year in school on Zoom, reacquainting themselves with in-person instruction, and continue seeing their family members struggle with ongoing fallout from the pandemic. We are so thankful our established grant program continues to help children feel valued and supported in their lives, especially during the holidays.”

A family enjoys real snow at Door of Hope’s Winter Family Fun Festival on December 11.

2021 Yes, Virginia Grantees and Their Impact

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Pasadena: With help from Yes, Virginia funds, the in-person Holiday Party and a Drive-Through Gift Distribution helped 400 families enjoy food and drinks, art supplies, entertainment, and gift cards for member teens and their families.
  • Community Health Alliance of Pasadena: The Holiday Extravaganza supported 390 families, who were invited to take a walk through a North Pole/Santa’s Workshop production and receive toys, books, gift bags (with goodies for dental care), and healthy snacks.
  • Door of Hope: The Winter Family Fun Festival brought together 100 families for a true winter experience complete with real snow, sledding, carolers, and a story time with Mrs. Claus. Children picked out toys while their grown-ups received gift cards to a grocery store or Target.
  • Families Forward Learning Center: The 116 children enrolled in FFLC’s early childhood program received age- and developmentally-appropriate toys from Santa at the center’s Winter Holiday Celebration, which took place in-person for the center-based learners or as a drive-through event for distance learners.
  • Elizabeth House: The in-person Holiday Party took place at the recently opened Center for Mother and Child Wellbeing and supported 100 families and 160 children. Santa made a guest appearance, and each family received a Family Gift Bag with toys and books for children and gift cards to pay for holiday meals.
  • Flintridge Center: The 10th annual Youth of Promise Holiday Celebration supported 65 families and included gift cards for middle and high school participants, as well as gift cards for their caregivers and parents to purchase grocery items.
  • Friends Outside in LA County: The mission of Friends Outside is to assist children and families, prisoners, and former prisoners with the immediate and long-term effects of incarceration. The Yes, Virginia grant helped purchase gift cards for toys, books, and groceries for 25 families.
  • Impact House Drug & Alcohol Treatment Center: Yes, Virginia Funds helped residential client parents create a holiday experience for their children, either with gift cards to send in the mail or with an in-person Santa’s Workshop “shopping” event at the center.
  • PACTL (Pasadena Altadena Coalition of Transformative Leaders): With the help of Yes, Virginia funding, 250 children and youth from 100 families received wrapped gifts and PACTL hosted a festive online Holiday Celebration featuring sing-alongs and visits from Santa, as well as the Ignite Youth’s Gift Making Workshop for teens.
  • Professional Child Development Associates: 50 creative arts client families who have a child(ren) with developmental challenges or learning disabilities received at-home art sets to share in an activity together while listening to the performances of the virtual winter recital.
  • Treasure Little Children Foundation, Inc.: The Yes, Virginia funding helped purchase gifts for the children of 300 families during a gift program held at Maranatha High School.