Welcome to Share the Spirit

On November 25, 2021, Thanksgiving Day, the East Bay Times will launch its annual edition of Share the Spirit, one of the most meaningful endeavors we undertake each year. This holiday campaign is our way of giving back to the community by shining a light on its most vulnerable residents — and showing how we all can help. 

Since 1994, Share the Spirit has raised more than $3.5 million and made an estimated 650 grants to help as many as 750,000 local people. We work in a unique partnership with nonprofit organizations in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, more than 50 of whom join our effort this year. The organizations contribute their expertise to individuals mired in the toughest of situations, whether it’s offering a hot meal, warm winter clothing, or the support needed to escape being unsheltered.  Our stories about their efforts illustrate your donations at work, so you can feel confident you are helping the families and communities we serve. 

Last year was the 27th year of Share the Spirit, and your contributions made it THE most successful year ever. While the pandemic continues to require adjustments from everyone, we hope you will continue to show this generosity and kindness if your circumstances allow.

We invite you to read 2021 Share the Spirit stories that will be published in print and digital editions of the East Bay Times throughout the holidays. You can also stay updated on the 2021 Share the Spirit initiative by visiting eastbaytimes.com or sharethespiriteastbay.org.

To make a secure and tax deductible donation, please click here. Additionally, checks can be made out to Share the Spirit Fund and mailed to Share the Spirit, P.O. Box 3491, Walnut Creek, CA 94598If you need additional information, please feel free to contact the program at 925.655.8355 or email Dee Dee Robillard at [email protected].

Your generous support will help make the East Bay community an even better place to live. By working closely together, we can make the holidays brighter for thousands of our neighbors, one gift at a time.


Share the Spirit Board of Directors

Sharon Ryan – President

Sharon Ryan is Publisher for the Bay Area News Group and Board President for Wish Book and Share the Spirit. Rising to the publisher’s office in 2014, she is the ...
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Bert Robinson – Secretary

Bert Robinson is Senior Editor for the Bay Area News Group, overseeing the newsrooms of The Mercury News and East Bay Times. He joined The Mercury News as a summer ...
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Robert Martinez

Robert Martinez is the Retail Advertising Sales Director for the Bay Area News Group, overseeing local retail print and digital sales, targeted delivery, and special sections.  He joined the Mercury ...
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Leigh Poitinger

Leigh Poitinger is a director of marketing operations for MediaNews Group, which operates more than 50 daily publications including The Mercury News and East Bay Times. Previously she was News ...
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Melvina Ponzio

Melvina Ponzio is Vice President of Circulation Operations for the Bay Area News Group, overseeing home delivery, retail sales and transportation.  She joined The Mercury News as Home Delivery manager ...
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Nicki Valdez

Nicki Valdez is the Marketing Director for the Bay Area News Group, overseeing the promotion and awareness of the company’s news brands which include 3 daily newspapers, 22 community weeklies ...
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Meet our staff

Editor: Cecily Burt

Reporters: Harry Harris, George Avalos, Peter Hegarty, Shomik Mukherjee, Rick Hurd, Joseph Geha, Jon Becker, Jesse Bedayn, Rowena Gondon, Nate Gartrell, Shayna Rubin, Annie Sciacca, George Kelly, Gabriel Greschler, Sharon Martin, Jakob Rodgers, Jim Harrington

‍Photographers: Ray Chavez, Anda Chu, Dylan Bouscher, Aric Crabb, Jane Tyska

Photo editors: Doug Duran, Laura A. Oda

Director: Dee Dee Robillard





Congratulations to the 2021 Share the Spirit grantees!

Acts Of Grace Bay Area Foundation

Assistance League of Diablo Valley

Battle Tested Kids, Inc.

Bay Area Crisis Nursery

Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP)

Bay Area Rescue Mission

Berkeley Food & Housing Project (BFHP)

Berkeley Food Network

Berkeley Food Pantry

Beyond Emancipation

Brighter Beginnings

Child Abuse Prevention Council


Contra Costa Crisis Center

Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area

Downs Memorial United Methodist Church

Early Alert Canines

East Bay  Innovations

East Bay Children’s Law Offices

Eden I&R

First Baptist Head Start

Goodness Village

Grateful Gatherings

Hayward Police Department

Hijas del Campo


Immigration Institute of the Bay Area

Las Trampas School, Inc.

Legal Assistance for Seniors (LAS)

Lions Center for the Visually Impaired

LITA of Contra Costa

Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa

Meals on Wheels Diablo Region

Mental Health Association of San Francisco

Monumental Toy Drive

Open Heart Kitchen

Opportunity Junction

Options Recovery Services

Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County

Richmond Community Foundation DBA SparkPoint Contra Costa

Richmond Public Library – Literacy For Every Adult Program

Rising Sun Center for Opportunity

Saint Vincent’s Day Home

Service Opportunity for Seniors (SOS) Meals on Wheels


Shower House Ministries

St Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County

Swords to Plowshares Veterans Rights Organization

The Berkeley Baby Book Project

Tri-Valley Haven

Trinity Center Walnut Creek

Veterans Accession House

We Care Services for Children

White Pony Express

Winter Nights Family Shelter

Women’s Cancer Resource Center