Holiday Spirit

Doctor Doriel works with Eliana at the Ravenswood Family Health Center in 2022. Courtesy Lourdes Sanchez.

Posted Dec. 2, 2022

For two decades, Ravenswood Family Health Network has served low-income and uninsured people

by Angela Swartz / Almanac

A few months ago, after weeks of an unexplained 104-degree fever, an enlarged tonsil and stomach pain, 3-year-old Eliana came to Ravenswood Family Health Network and finally received a diagnosis.

Her primary care provider Doriel got her scheduled with an ear, nose and throat specialist who did an ultrasound and found a branchial cleft cyst, which required antibiotics and surgery to treat. Eliana was discharged from the hospital in five days.

"If it weren't for Doriel, my daughter would not have received the treatment she needed," her mother Tania said. The Almanac agreed to use pseudonyms for the patients and doctor to protect their privacy.

Ravenswood Family Health Network is one of the beneficiaries of The Almanac's Holiday Fund. Donations are divided equally among this year's 10 nonprofit organizations and 100% of the funds raised go directly to the recipients. Donations to the Holiday Fund can be made at .

The health center serves about 24,000 patients annually, most of whom are low-income and uninsured and live in the ethnically diverse East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks areas, according to its CEO Luisa Buada. The health center grew in 2020 when it absorbed MayView Community Health clinics in Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

The organization, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in this year, is also in the process of transitioning to a new CEO, as Buada nears retirement in December 2023. Gralyn Jacques, the company's CFO, is serving as deputy CEO and will fully take over when Buada leaves.

"We're able to continually grow and expand," Buada said. "We look like the patients we serve and we're hiring people from the communities we work in. ... For the first time, we're hiring people (whose) mothers did their prenatal care with. It's pretty exciting to see it come full circle."

Buada, who is a nurse, will stay on to help with capital projects like developing urgent care services. She said the hope is for Ravenswood Family Health to open a dental clinic in Redwood City in the next couple of years, expand services in Sunnyvale (where demand is high but the clinic is small) and expand lab services in general.

For more on the health centers, go here.

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2024 Recipient Agency

Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula
Provides after-school academic support, enrichment, and mentoring for 1,800 low-income K-12 youth at nine locations across Menlo Park, East Palo Alto, and the North Fair Oaks neighborhood of Redwood City.

Ecumenical Hunger Program
Provides emergency food, clothing, household essentials, and sometimes financial assistance to families in need, regardless of religious preference, including Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for more than 2,000 households.

Fair Oaks Community Center
The Fair Oaks Community Center provides social services to the residents of the neighborhood, including programs for seniors, immigrants, renters and the unhoused, as well as housing assistance, ESL classes and child care.

Provides shelter/housing and supportive services across 18 sites in Silicon Valley and the Peninsula. Serves thousands of homeless families and individuals annually on their path back to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

Literacy Partners
Supports literacy programs and projects through fundraising and community awareness. Helps community members enhance their reading, writing and related skills and education to improve their economic, professional and personal wellbeing.

Ravenswood Family Health Center
Provides primary medical and preventive health care for all ages at its clinic in East Palo Alto. Of the more than 17,000 registered patients, most are low-income and uninsured and live in the ethnically diverse East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks areas.

St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room
Serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week to people in need who walk through the doors. Funded by voluntary contributions and community grants, St. Anthony's is the largest dining room for the needy between San Francisco and San Jose. It also offers take-home bags of food, as well as emergency food and clothing assistance.

Second Harvest Food Bank
Second Harvest Food Bank distributes nutritious food to low income individuals and families, leveraging every available food resource and collaborating with other organizations and people to feed the needy in the community.

Serves more than 32,000 people throughout San Mateo County, including children, young people and families, with counseling, prevention, early intervention, education, and residential programs. StarVista also provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services including a 24-hour suicide crisis hotline, an alcohol and drug helpline, and a parent support hotline.

Upward Scholars
Upward Scholars empowers low-income adults by providing them with financial support, tutoring, and other assistance so they can continue their education, get higher-paying jobs, and serve as role models and advocates for their children.

As of November 29th, 37 donors have contributed $55,922 to the Holiday Fund.
* indicates amount withheld at donor's request

6 Anonymous12,500
John Donald and Elaine Hammond*
Lori & Dennis McBride*
Barb Jacobson150
John and Shirley Reiter150
Greg & Penny Gallo500
Marc & Mary Ann Saunders*
Colleen & Geoff Tate*
Jim & Karen Lewis*
Paul Perret1,000
Vicky Rundorff*
Don & Catherine Coluzzi*
Janet Buce Cook*
Barbara and Charles Preuss500
Karen Perlroth*
Karen Perlroth*
Paul Welander25
Dennis Ruby300
Sybille Katz*
Kayleen Miller200
Kurt & Sue Jaggers10,000
Cathy and Jim Koshland150
Mark and Karen Weitzel*
Sidney Chen & Sandra Lee Chen*
Bill Wohler462
Linda Craig and Evan Hughes250
Foody Family500
joyce castellino500
Michael & Leslie Crisp*
Connie & Bob Lurie1,000
In Memory Of

Ruth & Chet Johnson*
Bob Mueller100