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Wilma Chan Legacy Fund gives grants to nonprofits

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NOVEMBER 07, 2022

The Supervisor Wilma Chan Legacy Fund announced Oct. 31 that it will be giving $150,000 in grants to local nonprofits.

The Fund, which was established to honor Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who died last November, will be allocating grants to BANANAS, an Oakland-based nonprofit that supports local families, and the Alameda County Public Health Department Nutrition Services Program, according to an Oct. 31 Alameda County press release. The release noted that $90,000 will be allocated to BANANAS and $60,000 to the Nutrition Services Program, which will go toward the distribution of water bottles to encourage water consumption among students.

The money all comes from donations made to the fund, which was established by the county’s board of supervisors, according to the press release. Vision Alameda County, alongside the Chan family, allocated the grant money.

“Chan was a strong willed, goal oriented, results driven member of the Board of Supervisors,” said current District 1 Supervisor David Haubert in an email. “I am very proud of the fact that I was able to serve with her and although it was just a short time, I learned a lot from my service with her … She will never be forgotten and her ability to listen to all sides and find solutions will be what I remember most.”

According to interim director of the Nutrition Services Program Rachel Paras, Chan was a “visionary” and “tireless advocate” for the health and well-being of those in Alameda County. Continuing that advocacy, the grant will allow the nutrition services program to distribute more than 20,000 stainless steel water bottles imprinted with the word “water” in multiple languages to students in Oakland Unified and San Lorenzo Unified school districts.

Paras also said they are working with students in the districts, which are located within Chan’s former district, to design a campaign to promote water and hydration.

“(Chan) led with progressive values, loved data, put community first, and worked across sectors to solve complex problems,” Paras said in an email. “She focused on initiatives that would ensure kids are safe and healthy in all spaces and at all stages of life, advancing the vibrancy and diversity of our county forward into future generations.”

The other recipient, BANANAS, will be putting the money specifically into BANANAS CARE, a program that Chan helped create, according to BANANAS chief executive officer Kym Johnson.

The program, which Chan started with parent advocacy group Parent Voices Oakland, supports unhoused families, according to Johnson. It provides a variety of services, including hotel vouchers, childcare access and assistance navigating social services through “family resource navigators.”

It also provides financial assistance, helping families with things like moving expenses, cell service and technology, food through prepaid gift cards and paying for storage facilities, Johnson noted.

“We do whatever we can to support them as they navigate the system to find permanent housing,” Johnson said.

The funds from the grant will go towards broad support for families, Johnson added.

Johnson said they have specific funds and subsidies that support the family resource manager positions and child care, but this grant will allow BANANAS CARE to meet families where they are.

“Wilma Chan always always was there for the families and children of Alameda County, especially those that didn’t have access to resources and had challenges and were just struggling to survive,” Johnson said. “She didn’t want them just to struggle, she wanted them to thrive. This is absolutely a wonderful way for her legacy to live on.”

Contact Clara Brownstein at 

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NOVEMBER 07, 2022