Season 5 Nonprofit Partners

Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) (Jeff Corwin)

Kennedy-King Memorial Scholarship Fund (George Mitchell)

California Scholastic Journalism Initiative (Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein)

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Contra Costa County (Naomi Judd)

Habitat for Humanity East Bay (Peter Bergen)

Diablo Regional Arts Association (Lisa Ling)

Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation

arfThe catalyst for Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) came in May of 1990 during a baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees when =a stray cat wandered onto the playing field.  Terrified by the roar of the crowd the frightened feline dashed about, eluding umpires and players.  Tony, then the manager of the Oakland A's, coaxed the cat into the dugout, secured its safety for the remainder of the game, then took responsibility for placing it with a local shelter. To his dismay, Tony discovered there was not a single no-kill facility in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.  When Tony learned the cat would be euthanized, he and his wife, Elaine, named her "Evie" and found her a home.  His experience with this cat was the genesis for the founding of ARF in 1991, a no-kill organization dedicated to bringing people and animals together to enrich each other's lives.

ARF’s goal is to find caring homes for abandoned dogs and cats, while educating the public about the importance of controlling pet over-population.  ARF's mission includes many community outreach programs to bring the healing touch of animals to people in need.  ARF’s Emergency Medical Fund® helps low income families in Contra Costa County with emergency medical treatment for animals requiring life-saving assistance.  In 2008 (January through August) ARF’s FoodShare program helped 165 people with 129,100 pounds of donated food and 6,300 pounds of donated cat litter delivered by ARF volunteers, which helped care for 1,640 cats and dogs.  On a national and international level, ARF provides leaders with the tools they need to make a difference in their own community. 

ARF’s People Connect programs promote and foster interaction between people and companion animals. ARF is developing new ways to reach out to children, parents, educators and animal activists to have the widest possible impact: 

  • ARF’s All Ears Reading™ program supports literacy skill development using a classic concept - reading to a pet.  All Ears Reading™ encourages reading by creating a supportive environment for children which fosters an eagerness to read, while growing personal confidence and skill.  Reading with animals is a great way for children to improve their reading skills and cultivate the self-confidence it takes to read aloud.

  • Camp ARF is a perfect summer experience for children who love animals and are interested in learning more about them.  Camp ARF is perfect for any age group and promotes the values of humane education while strengthening the bond between animals and children.

  • ARF’s Pet Hug Pack (Therapy Animal Team) supports over 2,000 skilled nursing and assisted living patients/residents at 22 facilities county-wide by visiting with cats and dogs temperament-qualified for the experience.

  • ARF’s Teaching Loving Care (TLC) program is an animal-assisted therapy (AAT) program created for young people with serious emotional and behavioral problems. ARF partners with Chris Adams Girls Center in Martinez, California.  The goal is to assist high-risk adolescent females in developing positive personal skills so that they can become contributing members of society while creating a home-like, foster care environment for homeless shelter cats in order to provide them with the training and socialization they need to be placed in permanent homes in the community.

Since its inception ARF has adopted more than 17,000 dogs and cats, and is fast approaching its 10,000th spay/neuter surgery in ARF’s clinic. ARF’s 37,700-square-foot, state-of-the-art Adoption and Education Center serves as a destination center for the community, providing a resource for people of all ages to enjoy positive interaction with animals.  People Rescuing Animals...Animals Rescuing People…®

For additional information on ARF, please visit

Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation
2890 Mitchell Drive, P.O. Box 30215
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
T 925-256-1ARF, F 925-977-9079

Kennedy-King Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Kennedy-King Memorial College Scholarship Fund, Ltd. provides scholarship assistance to minority students with demonstrated financial need who have completed two years at one of the three community colleges in Contra Costa County and who have been accepted at an accredited four-year university. Our goal is to help them complete the last two years of their undergraduate degree. Beginning with two $2000 scholarships in 1968 as a memorial to Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr, Kennedy-King now gives $8000 scholarships to twenty-five or more students each year. Over the past forty years we have given 542 scholarships worth over $2,400,000.

For additional information, please visit our website at

California Scholastic Journalism Initiative

The California Scholastic Journalism Initiative assists Contra Costa County high schools in training students to better understand and appreciate the role of a free press in our democratic system, the ethics and appropriate behaviors of journalists, and to protect and value the First Amendment in our society. Our goal is a student newspaper in every Contra Costa County high school that is a voice for student concerns and measures up to the highest journalistic standards.

For additional information, please visit our website at

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Contra Costa County

Statement of Purpose/Mission
Each year, around 1,600children come under the care of the Juvenile Court as victims of abuse or neglect. These children, categorized as low-income dependents of the court, can spend years moving from one foster home to another and research shows they’re more likely than other children to face lasting trauma, homelessness, unemployment and even prison as adults. This is a tragedy that takes a tremendous toll on our communities. Yet, there is hope.

CASA provides a lifejacket for the most needy of these children throughout Contra Costa County and yields positive results. CASA volunteers prevent abused and neglected children from becoming lost in or further victimized by an overburdened legal and child welfare system and help these children so they can become healthy, contributing members of the community, instead of crime statistics. Our volunteers make real the hope that one person can make a difference.

Organizational Background/Description
CASA of Contra Costa County is a 501c3, nonprofit organization formed in 1981 to provide highly trained community volunteers to advocate for the needs of abused and neglected children and assist the court in making timely and more informed decisions that are in the best interests of these children. As such, there is no other organization with our mission or history of service in Contra Costa County. Since 1981, CASA has served as a unique and cost-effective way to ensure that these children are receiving needed health, education, and therapeutic services, positive social and recreational opportunities, and consistent and caring support.

In 2008 CASA celebrated 27 years of service to needy children. That means that for almost three decades CASA has been the “child’s voice in court,” serving thousands of children and receiving honors for our continued and exemplary service, including the prestigious “Threads of Hope Award” from Diablo Magazine , and recent recognition from the California State Assembly, Congressman George Miller, and the Contra Costa County Juvenile Justice/Delinquency Prevention Commission. Moreover, CASA has been recognized by the US Dept of Justice as a model program in the prevention juvenile delinquency. 

CASA serves the entire county of Contra and works very closely with the Contra Costa County Juvenile Court. Two judges and three commissioners make up the Juvenile Court bench and appoint volunteer advocates who have been recruited and trained by CASA. An operational agreement is entered into annually between CASA and the Juvenile Court.

A eight member Board of Directors governs CASA of Contra Costa County and the Executive Director manages day-to-day operations. Staff is comprised of 6.35 full time equivalent personnel and over 150 volunteer advocates.

Case Supervisors provide ongoing supervision and case support to each volunteer advocate. In addition, experienced, specially trained volunteer team leaders provides support and encouragement for volunteers and help facilitate communication regarding volunteer needs, continuing education, and support for volunteer participation.

No other children's service organization uses volunteers in such a unique and powerful way.
Last year our CASA volunteer advocates provided over 21,000 hours of service, wrote over 300 court reports, and participated in over 300 court hearings. All CASA volunteers:

  • Have passed fingerprint and DMV screening prior to any case appointment.
  • Have completed 28-32 hours of comprehensive training and receive ongoing training.
  • Are advised on an ongoing basis by a experienced Case Review Panel.

Each CASA volunteer is appointed to a child or sibling group by a court order of the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Court, Hon. Judge Lois Haight. This court order states that the CASA volunteer:
s Investigates the needs of each child, by reviewing school and medical records, social worker reports and those of any agency relating to the child.

  • Submits a timely written report to the court as to the results of this investigation.
  • Spends quality time with the child.

The Hon. Judge Lois Haight stated “CASA is one of the best programs we have for crime prevention… turning children at risk into contributing members of society instead of crime statistics.” 

Please refer to our website for further info 

Habitat for Humanity East Bay

habitatHabitat for Humanity East Bay was founded in 1988 as an independent affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Our mission is to create successful homeownership opportunities for families with limited incomes by building sustainable housing and revitalizing neighborhoods. In 2008, Habitat for Humanity East Bay will celebrate our 20th anniversary, the completion of our 200th home, and with your help, the start of a campaign to complete the next 200 homes in just 5 years! Habitat for Humanity East Bay envisions simple, decent, affordable homes in safe neighborhoods for all families.

For more information, please visit our website at

Diablo Regional Arts Association

draaDRAA is both the primary fundraising organization of the Lesher Center for the Arts (LCA) and the City of Walnut Creek’s appointed curator for the LCA’s professional programming and audience outreach. DRAA’s role in the community is all about building partnerships with the focused goal of enhancing artistic quality at the LCA and providing opportunities for everyone to enjoy the arts. Through partnerships with the LCA and its producers, individual donors, corporate and foundation sponsors and the City of Walnut Creek, DRAA plays a vital role in advancing the arts for the betterment of the community.

For more information, please visit our website at