In the latest Around Town column, news about Avenidas' Rainbow Collective program securing more funds from Santa Clara County, Google's quarter-million dollar grant to JobTrain and promotions at the county District Attorney's Office.
PASSING WITH FLYING COLORS ... Acknowledging the need to serve older adults in the LGBTQ+ community, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors recently approved an additional $75,000 to extend Avenidas' Rainbow Collective program through June.
"Two years in and the program is thriving," Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said in a Dec. 14 press release. "The Rainbow Collective has become a trusted community resource helping LGBTQ+ older adults build connections and access services in their local community."
The program was first proposed in 2019 as a partnership between the county and Avenidas, a senior services nonprofit based in Palo Alto, to fill a service gap in the northern end of the county. A $300,000 contract was approved by the end of that year.
The Rainbow Collective launched in early 2020, offering LGBTQ seniors a variety of services, including opportunities for socialization, education and case management.
A survey of LGBTQ+ adults released earlier this year identified the Top 5 potential activities of most interest to this group: access to free movies or other entertainment; safe walking spaces; social and group activities; LGBTQ+ specific activities, services and programs; and support with technology.
On Dec. 14, the board approved the additional funding to the program and extended it to June 30. Thomas Kingery, Rainbow Collective coordinator, expressed his gratitude on behalf of the program. "We look forward to continuing and expanding our services in 2022," Kingery said.
PUTTING IN THE WORK ... JobTrain, a nonprofit dedicated to job training, career counseling and other employment-based services, was awarded a $250,000 grant from Google.org, the organization announced this week.
The funds are earmarked for the Bay Area economic recovery effort, with an emphasis on serving the communities of East Palo Alto, Belle Haven and North Fair Oaks, which have high poverty and unemployment rates. The Menlo Park-based nonprofit, which serves San Mateo County and neighboring counties, also offers job placement, rapid employment services and other workforce development programs.
"This quarter of a million-dollar grant will help JobTrain continue our work of providing people access to good paying jobs and also help them grow and reach full economic mobility in new careers," JobTrain CEO Barrie Hathaway said in a Dec. 20 press release. "We are grateful for Google.org's support."
The funds come in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has widened the gap between low- and high-income communities, a reality that's all too true in Silicon Valley.
"We're all figuring out how to adapt to the challenges caused by the pandemic, and at Google, that includes finding opportunities to help our hometown communities recover," Kristin Reinke, Google's vice president of finance, said in the release. "We're grateful for the work JobTrain is doing to connect jobseekers with jobs in the Bay Area, and proud to be a part of it."
CLIMBING UP THE LADDER ... The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office now has three women serving as assistant district attorneys — a first in the office's history. Prosecutor Angela Bernhard's promotion to the assistant DA position comes nearly 25 years after she started working for the office.
Bernhard joins a team of six assistant district attorneys, now half of whom are women, according to a Dec. 21 press release. They're all part of District Attorney Jeff Rosen's "innermost circle" of advisers and legal experts.
"Angela has pursued our mission of public safety with a single-minded dedication, the deepest empathy for victims, and unwavering sense of fairness," Rosen said in the release. "She is an inspirational, powerful leader. She is the kind of public servant that our community and I are lucky to rely upon for the most demanding of jobs — the safety of our families and friends."
Bernhard previously served as the office's chief trial deputy, a job that has been passed to prosecutor Daniel Okonkwo, a Stanford Law graduate who has been with the office for more than 27 years. Okonkwo's promotion makes him the first African American to hold the position, marking another milestone for the office. The chief trial deputy is responsible for managing and overseeing criminal trials. The executive management position also entails being the liaison between the District Attorney's Office and judges and law enforcement.