Season 7 Nonprofit Partners

Loaves and Fishes of Contra Costa (Peter Greenberg)

Lesher Center for the Arts (Capitol Steps)

Women's Initiative (Soledad O'Brien)

Blue Star Moms(Tom Brokaw)

Shelter Inc. (Christopher Hitchens/Dinesh D'souza)

East Bay Regional Parks Foundation (Dr. Jane Goodall)

Contra Costa Council (F.W. deKlerk)

Loaves & Fishes of Contra Costaloaves

At Loaves & Fishes of Contra Costa, we have one mission, feeding the hungry. It is in the way that we accomplish our mission that we endear ourselves to guests and volunteers alike. Loaves & Fishes started in 1983 when Pauline Brisbin and Lucy Zendaez saw a family rummaging through a dumpster looking for food. They knew there must be a better way. The idea that eventually became Loaves & Fishes of Contra Costa was born.

Fast forward some twenty seven years and 3.4 million meals later and Loaves & Fishes of Contra Costa finds itself still as needed and relevant an idea as it was the day Lucy & Pauline saw a family in need and thought of a solution. Two people can change a community. With the worst economic situation this country has faced since the Great Depression, the need could not be greater and the strains of raising funds could not be harder.

We like to say at Loaves & Fishes that we do two things really well. First, we feed our guests tummies, providing a hot, nutritious meal Monday thru Friday, including fresh garden salad, fruit salad and juice. Secondly, we feed our volunteers souls! Once you have volunteered, looked a person in the eyes who is truly grateful that you are here for them and feeding them, you are hooked. We have 3 full time and 14 part time paid staff. The rest of this mission is accomplished by over 1,000 active and friendly volunteers who provide dignity, respect and a hot nutritious meal to anyone who desires it in the cities we serve.

To donate or volunteer go to

Lesher Center for the Artslesher

For 20 years, the Lesher Center for the Arts (LCA) along with the support of its nonprofit partner the Diablo Regional Arts Association (DRAA), has been able to successfully deliver to the greater Bay Area a wide range of high-caliber entertainment that places the audience at the heart—inspiring, delighting and enthralling, regardless of age or arts experience. Programming reflects nearly every arts and entertainment genre including award-winning theatre and musicals, world-class ballet and dance performances, inspiring opera, engaging visual arts exhibits, world renowned speakers and tremendously popular family events.

Since it opened in 1990, the Lesher Center has become a vital cultural and economic force in the East Bay, hosting nearly 1,000 productions and community events a year and welcoming over 350,000 guests in most recent years.  Owned and operated by the City of Walnut Creek, with the support of the Diablo Regional Arts Association, and other professional arts organizations, downtown Walnut Creek has been transformed into an entertainment, dining, retail, and conference destination, generating more than $56 million in local economic activity.

The Diablo Regional Arts Association's partnership with the following producing organizations that perform at the Lesher Center share the vision of making the Lesher Center for the Arts the cultural and entertainment destination of the East Bay. They include: The Bedford Gallery, Center REPertory Company, California Symphony, Chamber Music San Francisco, Company C Contemporary Ballet, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Diablo Theatre Company, Festival Opera, Smuin Ballet and the Lesher Speaker Newsmakers Series.

For show and ticket information call 925.943.SHOW or visit

Women's Initiativewomen

Women's Initiative provides low-income, high-potential women with the training, funding and on-going support to start and grow their own businesses and achieve economic independence. Our unique programs address the cultural, social and economic barriers to self-sufficiency.

For more than 20 years we have offered quality services including business training, networking, access to markets, and financial services. We have neighborhood-based centers that are accessible and culturally competent. We provide long-term coaching and mentoring, along with direct access to loans and Individual Development Accounts.

Our curriculum is tailored to the needs of low-income women so they are able to gain the tools they need to start, strengthen, and grow their business, while learning about marketing, pricing, and time and stress management. Clients build on the wisdom of everyone in the training room.

Additionally, we offer comprehensive services to both English and Spanish speakers. Nationally, our successful and replicable model marks us as a proven leader in the field of microenterprise.

Every day, Women's Initiative graduates are leaving poverty to create successful businesses that strengthen our community. Women's Initiative impacts far more than the lives of women in our training rooms – for every dollar invested in the women in our program, $30 goes back into the local economy. That's a powerful return on investment.

For additional information, please visit

Blue Star Momsblue

Blue Star Moms Chapter 101 was established shortly after the terrorist's attacks on 9/11/2001; and is an official chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America, a national group formed during World War II. We are a support through service organization in the San Francisco East Bay area located in Danville, CA. Our members are from Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. We are moms, joining together to share our pride, devotion and worries for our sons and daughters currently serving in all branches of the Armed Forces of the United States, and those who are now veterans.

Since our inception and following in the footsteps of our grandmothers and mothers, we have mailed "a little bit of home" to our sons and daughters serving around the world. By “our sons and daughters” we mean all those serving.  Due to the continued generosity of our local communities we have grown far beyond the few care packages we started with in 2002. As our budget has grown, so have our missions. We believe there are many ways to support our troops, so we developed other missions such as Veterans Outreach, Wounded Soldiers and Gold Star Families.

Our main mission of supporting boots on the ground has never changed and continues to be our main focus; however we appreciate the opportunity to expand our support to other areas of need. We understand we could not do these things without the unwavering support of our communities for which we are very grateful!

For additional information, please visit 

Shelter Inc. shelter

SHELTER, Inc. of Contra Costa County is a non-profit organization created in 1986 with the goal of alleviating the county’s homeless crisis. SHELTER, Inc.’s mission is to prevent homelessness and promote self-sufficiency among low-income residents of Contra Costa County.

SHELTER, Inc. prevents the onset of homelessness for at-risk individuals and families, as well as helps homeless people get off the streets and back into housing. Most receive one-time financial assistance to help with rent or deposits. A limited number of families receive three to twelve months of case management support and employment services in combination with short-term financial assistance while they stabilize.

SHELTER, Inc. also takes homeless families and individuals off the streets, places them in safe, temporary homes and provides services to help them regain self-sufficiency. Services include job training, educational services, and mental health counseling. This program is designed to end the cycle of homelessness and to give people the skills they need to maintain their housing in the long-term.

In addition, SHELTER, Inc. addresses the long term housing needs of low-income, vulnerable residents of Contra Costa County, owning 70 apartments and condominiums in Contra Costa and managing an additional 200 units. The agency rents to people who are unable to obtain housing, such as people who are homeless, victims of domestic violence, with poor credit histories, or living with a disability.

At SHELTER, Inc., all programs are designed to prevent the loss of a home and end the cycle of homelessness, one family at a time.

For additional information, please visit

East Bay Regional Parks Foundation


The Regional Parks Foundation was founded in 1969 for the sole purpose of supporting the East Bay Regional Park District. With 65 Regional Parks spanning 104,000 acres throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, the East Bay Regional Park District is the largest regional park agency in the United States.

Each year, the Regional Parks Foundation is poised to generate support for five ongoing programs:

  • Campership, “send-a-kid-to-camp” campaign
    Sending thousands of underserved youth to summer or outdoor environmental education camp who otherwise would not be able to attend
  • Environmental restoration and habitat enhancement
    Protecting 23 endangered species and 57 of special concern through volunteerism, grants, and sponsorship
  • Membership
    Offering frequent visitors the opportunity to cost-effectively and conveniently enjoy the many treasures and recreational activities available throughout the Regional Parks
  • Planned giving and endowment
    Preserving parklands for future generations through estate planning and educational assistance
  • Special capital projects
    Funding the construction and renovation of projects that promote broader public access and resource protection
The Foundation’s mission is to support the Park District through private fundraising that provides broader public access, resource protection and enhancement, educational and recreational programs, and the acquisition of parklands. One of the Foundation’s top priorities is to ensure that low-income, at-risk, and disabled populations have equal access to the Park District’s parks, trails, programs, and services through educational and camping scholarships, funding for special and capital projects, environmental restoration grants, and transportation to name a few – an initiative appropriately entitled “Access for All.”

For more information, please visit

Contra Costa Councilcouncil

The Contra Costa Council is a public policy advocacy organization that promotes the economic vitality of Contra Costa County and the region.  The Council engages on issues of critical importance to the business community and residents of Contra Costa County, balancing the needs of a diverse county through policy efforts that provide for economic development while retaining our quality of life.

The Council also produces top-tier events, including Contra Costa Costa USA, the premier business event in the County, featuring major national speakers, as well as providing a local perspective on current events.  The Council maintains a close relationship with local, state and federal elected officials. These relationships provide opportunities for our members to interact with their political representatives and other business leaders.

The Council’s activities are driven by our task forces, which are led by top professionals in their field.  They identify issues and develop sound positions for the Board of Directors to consider for advocacy.  Our task forces include:

  • Budget Reform Ad Hoc Task Force
  • Concord Naval Weapons State Ad Hoc Task Force
  • Economic Development Task Force
  • Environmental/Manufacturing Task Force
  • Health Care Task Force
  • Land Use Task Force
  • Small Business/Entrepreneur Task Force
  • Social Responsibility Task Force
  • Transportation Task Force
  • Water Task Force
  • Workforce Development and Education Task Force

For more information, please visit