During the holidays, we often think of children with “visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads…”. They are using their imaginations to picture gifts that they might receive from Santa.

But what if you and I were to RE-IMAGINE the communities where we live and work, and the gifts that might come from those who are committed to making these dreams a reality? What if our vision includes:

– Permanent housing for each of the 9600 unhoused individuals that live on our San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valley streets

– Mental health treatment for all those who have been struggling

– Enough food to care for every family who is experiencing hunger because of limited financial resources that don’t cover inflation-related price increases

– After school opportunities for every child in our underserved neighborhoods

These needs are being met – partially – by the outstanding nonprofit agencies that serve the residents of our Valleys. But what would it take to serve all those in need?

What it boils down to is this: We need to not only imagine fully integrated and healthy neighborhoods and human services – we need to commit to funding these services. So many Valley nonprofits are underfunded, and thus, they are not able to expand their programs to meet critical needs.

The Community Foundation of the Valleys is focused on activating this vision by inspiring a culture of greater generosity on the part of our local residents. Government agencies and foundations cannot do it all – we need to jump in to do our share through our charitable giving.

One way to be intentional about your charitable giving is to set up a tax-deductible Donor Advised Fund (DAF) – named for you or your family or another name of your choice – so that you can regularly make charitable contributions during the course of the coming year. You may have causes that you are particularly interested in or concerned about, such as the environment, hunger, education, healthcare, youth programs, the arts, or others – and your DAF could be used for these purposes.

If you need assistance in making choices, the Community Foundation staff can help you in identifying reputable and effective nonprofits that are working in your areas of interest. Or, you can pool some of your resources with other DAF-holders so that the Community Foundation can give out larger grants to good causes. If you are interested in or have questions about DAF’s, please contact our Executive Director, Marianne Haver Hill,