Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of Share the Spirit?

The Share the Spirit program is sponsored by the Bay Area News Group and the Contra Costa Crisis Center. The mission of the Share the Spirit program is to enhance the November through January holiday season for the area’s most needy residents of Alameda County and Contra Costa County.

Founded by Dean and Margaret Lesher, and sustained by generous East Bay readers, the Share the Spirit fund has been providing help and hope to East Bay residents for over 25 years.

How does Share the Spirit work?

Through a competitive application process, grants are awarded to local nonprofit groups to support holiday programs, critical services and outreach.

During the Share the Spirit season, East Bay Times will feature stories each week beginning in late November through New Year’s Day. The stories will highlight the purpose of the nonprofit programs, individuals and families assisted by the help and hope provided.

All stories will also be published on the Share the Spirit website and East Bay Times website.

The Contra Costa Crisis Center administers the program.  For nonprofits wishing to participate in the grant program, please visit the nonprofit information page.

How can I help?

With each story of help and hope in the East Bay Times, there will also be donation information in the article. Donations can be made by mail to Share the Spirit, P O Box 3485, Walnut Creek, CA 94598 or securely online using the “donate now” button on this site.

What is the method of assistance?

Share the Spirit does not distribute cash directly to individuals, although it can provide assistance by buying equipment, furniture, gift cards and more. The local nonprofit organizations awarded grant funds and featured in the stories use the funds to provide direct services and goods to help the featured clients and other clients like them.

Is donor information provided or sold to anyone else?

No. Every contribution is confidential and we do not provide donor names or email addresses to any outside organizations, including the organizations featured in the stories. The only time information is shared is if a donor wishes his or her name to be acknowledged in the paper.

Are contributions tax-deductible?

Yes. The program is administered by the Contra Costa Crisis Center, a nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status. The tax ID is 94-1747227.

Are contributions accepted all year?

Yes. The account is open year-round. Contributions can be made online here or sent to: Share the Spirit, PO Box 3485, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.

Can I donate goods to Share the Spirit?

We are unable to manage donations of any type of goods including toys, holiday food baskets, clothing, furniture, automobiles, etc.

How does East Bay Times and Contra Costa Crisis Center support the Share the Spirit program?

During the annual fundraising effort, East Bay Times’ reporters and photographers document the challenges and celebrate the successes facing individuals, families and nonprofit organizations in our community. These stories are published in the East Bay Times and on its website. The paper publishes lists of contributors and coupons advising readers how to contribute, as well as ads throughout the paper and online to further encourage readers to help their neighbors in need.

The Contra Costa Crisis Center administers the program, which includes managing the grant-making application process, distributing donated funds to the grant awardee nonprofit organizations, processing readers’ donations, maintaining the nonprofit accounting and reporting, and providing all donors with tax receipts in a timely manner.

Is a part of my donation allocated to cover administrative expenses?

Share the Spirit maintains transparency on all costs that are essential to advance the mission to help as many as possible in the East Bay. The Contra Costa Crisis Center (a nonprofit organization itself) administers the program and receives a fee (10-12%) to cover costs to offer secure online donation option, issue tax receipts to all donors, postage, and to select and fully vet all fund recipients in Contra Costa and Alameda counties. 

Who are the recipients for 2019 grant funding:

The Bay Area News Group and the Contra Costa Crisis Center are pleased to announce the recipients for 2019 Share the Spirit grants. These organizations are doing great work in the community and making the holidays brighter for many East Bay residents.

2019 Grant Recipients

Allen Temple Health & Social Services Legal Assistance for Seniors
ARM of Care LITA of Contra Costa
Assistance League of Diablo Valley Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa
Bay Area Crisis Nursery Making Waves Foundation
Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP) Mandela Partners
Bay Area Rescue Mission Martinez Community Academy   (MCA)
Berkeley Food & Housing Project Meals on Wheels Diablo Region
Beyond Emancipation Monumental Toy Drive
Brighter Beginnings Open Heart Kitchen
Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa County Opportunity Junction
Civicorps Options Recovery Services
Covia Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County
Down Syndrome Connection of the Bay Area Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center-Richmond
Downs Memorial United Methodist Church Rising Sun Center for Opportunity
Drivers For Survivors, Inc. Saint Vincent’s Day Home
Earth Island Green Life Project Service Opportunity for Seniors SOS Meals on Wheels
Eden I&R SHELTER, Inc.
Fertile GroundWorks Shower House Ministries
First Baptist Head Start St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County
First Place for Youth Swords to Plowshares
Grateful Gatherings Tri-Valley Haven
Hayward Area Recreation and Park District West Contra Costa Salesian Boys & Girls Club
Hively (formerly Child Care Links) Women’s Cancer Resource Center
Jion Academy Youth Homes, Inc
Las Trampas School, Inc.  



Additional questions?

Please contact Share the Spirit at or 925.472.5760.