Holiday Spirit

Partner organizations supported by Literacy Partners serve literacy needs of community members of all ages, from preschoolers to seniors, along with volunteer opportunities. Courtesy All Five and Ravenswood Classroom Partners.

Posted Dec. 20, 2022

Literacy Partners strives to support local literacy initiatives in Menlo Park and beyond

by Mike Goodkind / Contributor

Literacy Partners – Menlo Park (LPMP) completed the first full year of its expanded mission in July 2022, providing some $85,000 to local partner organizations to address a range of issues helping toddlers to seniors.

We see our job as creating opportunities to help our neighbors who might say, 'I want to help' but who may be looking for guidance about where their resources might best help literacy programs serving preschoolers to seniors," said John Schniedwind, a retired American Century vice president and now LPMP's treasurer.

Angie Holman, executive director of Ravenswood Classroom Partners, said in late November an LPMP grant enabled her group to design "a new high-dosage literacy model to provide deeper one-on-one support" – tutoring strategies that were designed to support local school efforts to prevent kids from falling behind during Covid classroom closures.

LPMP is one of this year's 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 here .

Heriberto Madrigal, a Belle Haven native and professional librarian in San Mateo County, said he was pleased to see before joining the LPMP board of directors in November how the group's programs and relationships cross-fertilize each other. "These inspire working relationships that are likely to promote insights that can supercharge programs LPMP supports."

For example, East Palo Alto Kids' (EPAK) Micro Grants program, another LPMP recipient, provides small grants to individual teachers for incidentals, such as classroom supplies that may be taken for granted in wealthy schools. EPAK noted that one Belle Haven School teacher, Brianna Richards, used a micro grant to buy materials to create a classroom soccer scenario developed to help her 4th graders learn math. The micro grant program also supports another LPMP recipient, All Five, an early education program in Belle Haven. Karen Pace of All Five noted that the research-inspired preschool is high quality enough to attract and retain full-pay families. The other 75% of enrolled families have incomes at or near the poverty line, and their tuition is paid by state funding or a family's sliding scale rate. All students receive the same high-quality programming regardless of income, Pace said.

LPMP, founded in 2020, started as Literacy Partners – Project Read in 1984 to support the Menlo Park Public Library, a relationship which continues. In September, LPMP gave $31,000 to buy loanable laptops and library amenities, notably furniture for public areas needed by the public returning to the library after the pandemic.

Initially, the furniture was used by seniors bused to the library when their own day use meeting place in Belle Haven was closed for construction. Madrigal noted that the mix of books and socialization could be empowering for low-literacy patrons who might not see the library as a destination but might be interested in browsing books once there – "and that's another important connection," she said.

Other LPMP recipients this year include StreetCode Academy to support a portion of the nonprofit's program that provides laptops, internet and tech education to students in East Menlo Park and East Palo Alto through its LevelUp initiative. LPMP also supports JobTrain, a Menlo Park-based regional career training program, that teaches basic digital skills to adult community members. LPMP is interested in developing/supporting programs that will help, small business people, such as landscapers and housecleaners, efficiently manage basic paperwork, including, bids and billing.

Along with Schniedwind and Madrigal, current LPMP Board Members include President Mike Goodkind and longtime Bay Area and international educator Margaret Simmons. Jason Schendel of Sheppard Mullin is the organization's pro bono attorney, and Madhavi Desai recently joined as volunteer webmaster.

LPMP continues to recruit qualified and enthusiastic board members who can participate in fundraising and community grant vetting that often includes hands-on involvement. Donations and inquiries are always welcome through LPMP's website,, or by mail at Literacy Partners – Menlo Park, 1259 El Camino Real, #176, Menlo Park, CA 94025. LPMP's President, Mike Goodkind, may be reached at [email protected]

Mike Goodkind is the president of Literacy Partners, a nonprofit in Menlo Park.

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2021 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.

Health Connected
Serves over 5,000 students and their families each year through comprehensive sexual health education programs. Students learn to have ongoing communication with parents and to make informed decisions that will apply to their lives, now and in the future.

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.

St. Francis Center
Helps low-income, working families become self-supporting members of the community by providing long-term solutions through educational programs for children and parents, as well as after-school programing at Siena Youth Centers. St. Francis Center also provides housing, food and clothing services to address short-term needs.

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 March 26th, 184 donors have contributed $305,280 to the Holiday Fund.
* indicates amount withheld at donor's request

40 Anonymous28,370
Lorraine Macchello100
Kathy & Bob Feldman500
Alice F. Schenk & John L. Richardson200
Jan Jedkins400
John & Cooky Galen 50
Michael & Lenore Roberts200
Gail & Susan Prickett1,000
Lucy Reid-Krensky100
Mark & Karen Weitzel*
The Mendelsohn Family2,500
Joel Jakubson & Krishna Mitra250
Betty Meissner100
Barbara and Bill Binder *
Sidney Chen & Sandra Lee Chen*
Ken Turkowski100
LindaKeegan 1,000
Linda keehan1,000
The Wang Family300
Carol Kemper200
Charles Bacon and Cynthia Dusel-Bacon250
Mary and Bob Dodge300
Derek and Susan Hine*
Joe and Julie Zier*
Gisela Brugger1,000
Karen Fleck & Ian McDowall*
Judy & Jim Lipman50
J. Wong*
Martha Cohn100
Kayleen Miller100
Barbara Kent150
Walter Robinson250
Nita & Clay Judd*
Robert & Connie Loarie*
Bill Wohler440
Sandy Cold500
Terri D. Bullock Family Foundation5,000
Richard & Jean Duda120
Tim & Mia Clark500
John & Lisa Whelan100
Barbara Oliver200
Elizabeth Tromovitch75
Connie & Bob Lurie30,000
Arnie and Judie Cornez*
Leonard Shar750
Dorothy Saxe*
Gallo Family Fund500
Barry L. Goldblatt150
Susan carey1,500
Kerry & Rick DeBenedetti*
Dennis Monohan100
Ann C. Treadwell*
Colflesh Charitable Fund50
Bruce & Ann Willard1,000
Andrea G. Julian1,000
Lynne S. Fovinci75
Roger & Pat Witte200
Nancy & Bill Ellsworth*
Novitsky Family100
Kathy & Bob Mueller100
The UMOC Charitable Fund100,000
Pegasus Family Foundation1,000
Susan Kritzik and Bruce McAuley*
Kevin Novak & Hannah Gilula500
Judy and Doug Adams*
Roger and Wendy von Oech1,000
Anne Davison100
Leigh Flesher and Mark Bailey*
Margaret Melaney2,000
Mitzi Moynihan*
Mitzi Moynihan*
John Donald and Elaine Hammond100
Marc & Mary Ann Saunders*
Owen & Hannah Sowerwine100
Robert Mullen 250
Juli and John Parker250
Robert & Barbara Simpson*
Donald & Judith Mac Millan500
Margo Sensenbrenner*
Barbara Jacobson200
Melanie Austin500
Mary Ann Hurlimann500
Susan Higley Russell100
Nancy & Dan Witeck200
Betsy Stockdale*
Bill & Melba Rogoway*
Leslie & Michael Crisp*
Bryan & Susan Lovegren50
Sue Bartalo and Dave Fischer250
Kajsa Tabor*
Mayling Dixon*
Dave & Diane Toole100
Jim Lewis*
Maggie Markdasilva1,000
Ross & Liz McDougall*
Barbara Bessey*
Douglas Keare Jr & Jill Morgan2,000
Carrie German*
Margaret & Jamis MacNiven100
Jerry & Shirley Carlson250
Austin Grose250
Sue Bishop & Viole McMahon100
Vicky Rundorff*
Mr. & Mrs. Kurt Jaggers15,000
James E. Esposto*
Janet Buce Cook500
Gordon Russell & Batina McAdoo1,000
Volckmann Family Foundation3,000
Leslie Airola500
Geoff & Colleen Tate*
Tom & Ann Livermore1,000
Kathryn Stivers Charitable Fund500
Joyce castellino 200
Bob and Marna Page*
Erika Crowley*
Donna Mackowski200
Paul Perret1,000
Bob & Barbara Ells500
Kathleen Elkins*
Don & Catherine Coluzzi*
In Memory Of

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard1,000
Dr. Fereidoon Kaboli*
Ruth & Chet Johnson*
Doug Hutton200
Paul & Ingeborg Katz*
Vicki Jones & Dee & Jerry Carlson125
Nancy Sallaberry500
Wiley Birkhofer2,500
Stephen F. Martin5,000
Hugh D. Kennedy*
Ted Heidinger500
Jean Zonner1,000
In Honor Of

Nella and Bill Berry1,000
Marer Family200
Nancy Stevens*
The Liggett Family*
Dennis McBride500
As a Gift for

Mira Lajoie100
Businesses & Organizations

Rotary Club of Menlo Park Foundation10,000
Griffin & Sons Construction, Inc*
Hewlett Foundation8,750
Packard Foundation15,000
Menlo Park Firefighters' Association500
Lyn At Your Service*