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Aetna Voices of Health Competition

Family Giving Tree


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Family Giving Tree

Family Giving Tree's mission is to inspire community kindness, generosity, and volunteerism by fulfilling exact holiday wishes and providing backpacks filled with STEAM-based school supplies to those in need. We envision a world where Giving brings joy, offers hope and opens possibilities to the less fortunate in our communities.

The emotional and psychological impact of living in need, especially on children, is staggering. Poverty chips away at a children's happiness and confidence and can ultimately diminish their ability to thrive and succeed.

All too often, poverty derails their education and their ability to imagine a bright and hopeful future.

The cost of living in the Bay Area is staggering, making life even more stressful for low-income families. In order to keep a roof over your family's head and food on the table, what many consider an essential, such as a holiday gift or pen and paper for school, must often be set aside in order to just survive. Our programs serve to provide these basics and alleviate some of the worries that come from not being able to afford the essentials for their children.

The Family Giving Tree serves as a hub between donors, nonprofits agencies and schools, and the clients they serve. We stage two major Drives each year to service those in need in our Bay Area communities: the Back-to-School Drive and the Holiday Wish Drive. Through a single wished-for gift and a much-needed backpack filled with school supplies, we support families struggling under the weight of poverty by giving the gift of joy and learning to those who might otherwise go without

Our 'hub of support' mechanism for giving gifts and backpacks, connects donors and volunteers with their community and opens up the chance to improve the lives of others through generous giving and volunteering. In 2018 alone we delivered over 37,000 backpacks and over 77,000 gifts through our partner agencies to those who face hardship at nearly every turn. Our donors are gratified to see their gift or backpack have a direct impact on the life of a child and their family.

By inspiring philanthropy in others, we are able to create joyful experiences, encourage hope for the future, and show those who are less fortunate that their community cares.

Since 1990, Family Giving Tree has facilitated the donation of over 1.6M gifts and backpacks to individuals throughout the Bay Area. Family Giving Tree is the outgrowth of our co-founder's San Jose State University class MBA project. Jennifer Cullenbine and Todd Yoshida were asked to "create a program that adds value to someone else's life." While told that their idea could not become a viable business, Jennifer decided to devote her time and energy to make it work anyway. It all began in East Palo Alto with 2000 wish-for gifts and has grown steadily ever since.

In 1996, the Backpack Drive was added as a program with an initial donation of 25 backpacks and quickly grew to over 10,000 backpacks annually in just 10 years. In 2005, these two programs combined to push the number of total donations to over 1 million.

Now, nearly 30 years later, the Family Giving Tree is the largest gift and backpack donation program in California serving over 13 counties in and around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Our contact info:

Family Giving Tree

Office Phone: (408) 946-3111