Season 10 Nonprofit Partners

Playworks (Steve Young, Cal Ripken, Jr. & Frank Deford)

John F. Kennedy University (Doris Kearns Goodwin)

Okizu (Bob Woodward)

Contra Costa Crisis Center (Dan Rather)

Vida Verde Nature Education (Jean-Michel Cousteau)

California Shakespeare Theater (Madeleine K. Albright)

Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center (Jack Hanna)


At Playworks we believe that every child deserves a chance to play every school day. Playworks' is the only organization in the country that places full-time, fully trained coaches in low-income elementary schools to transform school climate through play. Independent studies verify that Playworks dramatically reduces bullying, increases time for teaching, and inspires students to behave better both at recess and in class.

Playworks operates in more than 80 Bay Area low-income elementary schools, including 31 in the East Bay.  Playworks coaches provide active recess, Junior Coach Leadership training and after-school sports leagues for more than 38,000 students every school day.   In addition to its full-time program, Playworks reaches thousands more students through professional development and training programs

From its beginnings 17 years ago in the East Bay, Playworks has responded to high demand and successfully expanded across the counrty. In 2011, Forbes chose Founder and CEO Jill Vialet as one of the top 30 social entrepreneurs tackling the world’s most intractable problems. Playworks has been featured in numerous Bay Area media outlets and nationally on Nightline, Good Morning America and in the New York Times.

For more information, visit

John F. Kennedy University

jfkNamed in honor of perhaps the most socially-conscious United States president, John F. Kennedy University perpetuates the “global citizenry” vision of its namesake through innovative undergraduate and graduate programs. 

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014, JFK University offers a dynamic, student-focused learning environment that prepares students to achieve professional and personal growth. The University’s three Colleges – the College of Undergraduate Studies, the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the College of Law – offer distinctive degree and certificate programs, online and at the three Bay Area campuses: Pleasant Hill, Berkeley, and San Jose. More than 15,000 graduates include business executives, community leaders, judges, artists, and educators who are making a difference in the world.

Coupled with JFK University’s dedication to educational excellence is its commitment to social outreach.  The University’s Community Counseling Centers in Concord, Oakland, and Sunnyvale offer affordable, confidential mental health services. The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership supports business development and job creation through classes and mentoring offered to entrepreneurs at its Business Accelerator site in downtown Concord.  And as a Yellow Ribbon school, JFK University assists post-9/11 veterans achieve their goals by providing tuition-free education and a Veteran Success Center.

Transforming Lives, Changing the World.


Established in 1982, Okizu is a nonprofit organization that operates Camp Okizu which is situated on 500 acres in the Sierra foothills. Our mission is to provide peer support, respite, mentoring, and recreational programs to meet the needs of all members of families affected by childhood cancer. At Camp Okizu, children struggling with a life-threatening illness can spend a week at summer camp, and experience a normal childhood rite of passage. Campers are empowered to explore their abilities and strengths, and families discover ways to cope with pediatric cancer.

Okizu’s services are unique—we operate the only oncology camp of its kind in northern California, and one of only a handful in the entire country of week-long camps specifically for siblings of children with cancer. Okizu is committed to the continuing support of the childhood cancer community through its Oncology and Siblings camping programs, Family weekends, Bereavement programs, and Teen and Young Adult programs.

Okizu is offered free-of-charge, and we are dedicated to serving every child and family in northern California affected who wishes to attend, regardless of physical condition, geographic location, ethnicity, or economic background.

For more information visit

Contra Costa Crisis Centerjuvenile

Founded in 1963 as the community’s safety net for depressed and suicidal people beyond usual business hours, the Contra Costa Crisis Center now spans the entire County and served more than 60,000 last year.

Our mission is to keep people alive and safe, help them through crises, and connect them with culturally relevant resources in the community and we do so by offering continuous crisis telephone support in multiple languages, 24-hours per day.

Now in its 50th year, the Crisis Center has expanded to include coverage of the County's afterhours child and elder abuse hotlines, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline local calls, a grief support line, the afterhours SIDS warm-line, the Spanish Talk Line, and a homeless hotline. 
In 2005 the PUC named the Crisis Center as the county’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral service which provides 24-hour referral for medical and social services.  In August 2012, the Crisis Center became one of six centers in the nation backing up the National Veterans Administration by receiving overflow crisis calls from military veterans.

The Crisis Center also offers a large grief counseling program. Trained volunteers and interns, many of whom were once grief clients themselves, conduct individual and group counseling, free of charge, in English and Spanish.  Grief counselors also provide postvention support at schools and businesses following a death.

For more information , please visit:

Vida Verde Nature Education

Mission:  Vida Verde Nature Education is a non-profit that promotes educational equity by providing free, overnight, environmental learning experiences for students who don’t otherwise get the opportunity.

Founded by two former Teach For America teachers, Vida Verde offers inner-city kids outdoor experiences that ignite imaginations, link classroom lessons to reality and boost self-confidence. These experiences are birthrights of most children of the middle class, yet the majority of low-income students in the Bay Area have never walked in the redwoods, seen the Pacific Ocean, spent meaningful time in the outdoors, or had the opportunity to explore beyond their often dangerous, impoverished neighborhoods. 

During their three-day trips to Vida Verde, the students’ classroom learning is enhanced through high-quality programs that address California state educational standards with a focus on hands-on science, personal responsibility, teamwork and positive attitudes, healthy food choices, and environmental awareness.  Since 2001, Vida Verde has provided life-changing outdoor experiences for 8,000 low-income students, and has established itself as a unique and exceptional environmental education program in the Bay Area.

For more information visit

California Shakespeare Theatercatholic

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary season in 2014, California Shakespeare Theater is an award-winning, nationally recognized regional theater led by Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone and Managing Director Susie Falk. Through seasonal productions at our outdoor amphitheater, and in year-round school and community-based programs, Cal Shakes expands access to the arts and builds diverse ownership of our region's cultural vitality by fostering participatory approaches to the artistic process and arts education.

Three core programs serve 50,000 Bay Area residents annually:

  • Main Stage performances feature productions of both new works and responses to Shakespeare and the classics, created by distinct artistic voices that bring contemporary relevance to our broadly diverse Bay Area communities.
  • Artistic Learning programs address the profound deprivation of the arts in public education through multi-faceted programming that ignites students’ creative minds and voices; develops their literacy and critical thinking skills; and exercises their capacity for empathy and cooperation.
  • The Triangle Lab, our long-term partnership with San Francisco-based Intersection for the Arts, explores new forms of theater that invite active participation, new kinds of collaborations between artists and community members, and new ways for theater artists to become deeply integrated into community life.

For more information, visit

Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Centercatholic

Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center provides a high quality program of physical and cognitive therapies to children with disabilities using horses as the therapy modality and the therapeutic motivator.  Using the movement of the horse, we work to improve the minds and bodies of children with physical and mental disabilities.   Xenophon’s program offers both Therapeutic Riding and Hippotherapy

Therapeutic riding is open to children between 5 and 18 years of age.    Weekly lessons provide an individualized program to enhance each rider’s ability.  While learning to influence their horse, our riders gain muscle tone, balance and motor skills, as well as cognitive skills, confidence and self-esteem. 

Hippotherapy is open to children between 2 and 18 with a doctor’s prescription.  In weekly hippotherapy sessions a licensed physical therapist uses the horse’s movement to influence the patient to achieve specific therapy goals, resulting in improved trunk tone, balance and muscle strength.  Both of these programs offer the participants a friendly supportive atmosphere in which they can make great strides, not only on horseback but in the world outside the arena as well.

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