Share the Spirit: How donors made a difference this holiday season for East Bay residents in need

The annual Share the Spirit program sponsored by Bay Area News Group and administered by the nonprofit Contra Costa Crisis Center brought in more than $180,000 this holiday season to benefit dozens of nonprofits throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

From Thanksgiving through the first day of 2017, the East Bay Times published stories about local nonprofits that received Share the Spirit grants and the East Bay residents they support. This holiday season, 40 nonprofits benefited from grants. Funds raised from readers and other donors during the recently completed campaign will go toward funding grants for organizations this year.

Rhonda James, executive director of the Contra Costa Crisis Center, said she was happy to see the funds spread across nonprofits that had participated in the project before and ones that were new to the Share the Spirit campaign.

“The stories this year were especially well-received and the photos they took,” James said. “We got a lot of positive feedback. … During the holidays, the spirit of giving is high.”

The project also lifted the holiday-season spirits of the participating reporters and photojournalists. “There’s a great feeling of satisfaction in telling the stories of these deserving residents and the dedicated nonprofit groups that serve them,” said Neil Chase, executive editor of the Bay Area News Group. “Our company and employees are grateful for the opportunity to help our neighbors.”

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