Money is the fuel that runs our civilization. Both profit and not-for-profit local organizations need funds to exist, and it's always gratifying to see them working together for a good cause.

'Power Community'

Pacific Gas & Electric Company will distribute "Power Your Community" grants to 18 organizations in Contra Costa and Alameda counties this month, all thanks to nominations by supportive PG&E employees.

This is the second year of PG&E's Power Your Community program, which invites the utility's employees to apply for grants of $2,500 or $1,000 on behalf of schools or community organizations they support and want to give a fundraising boost to a favorite cause. In total, PG&E is distributing $100,000 across 91 organizations throughout Northern and Central California.

The employees' relationship with the organization can be anything from founder to former neighbor. This year, selected employees include a mountain climber, self-defense instructor, PTA volunteer, and a chorus singer -- all seeking to give a fundraising boost to a favorite cause.

Receiving Power Your Community grants of $1,000:

  • Earth Island Institute Inc., Climbing for Kids/Bay Area Wilderness Training

  • Bay Area Leadership Foundation

  • IMPACT Bay Area

  • Luna Kids Dance Inc.

  • Mercy Retirement Care Center

  • United Roots

  • Alameda County Meals on Wheels Inc.


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  • Oakland Technical High School

  • Wardrobe for Opportunity

  • Babe Ruth League of Metropolitan Oakland

  • Capture The Dream Inc.

  • K to College

  • Golden Oak Montessori of Hayward Charter School

  • Amelia Earhart Elementary School

  • Stand! Against Domestic Violence

  • Festival Opera Association Inc.

  • Diablo Ballet

  • Hanna Ranch Elementary School

    PG&E chose the organizations based on their connection to the company's three community investment priorities -- education, environmental stewardship and community vitality.

    "The relationships between the employees and the organizations make these grants particularly personal and special," said Ezra Garrett, vice president of community relations and chief sustainability officer at PG&E. "And the dollars are supporting causes that improve the quality of life for our communities."

    For more information, visit www.pge.com/community.

    Rossmoor scholarship

    The Rossmoor Scholarship Foundation is a volunteer organization dedicated to providing scholarships for graduates of Acalanes, College Park, Las Lomas, Northgate and Ygnacio Valley high schools and Diablo Valley College so that students with exceptional grade-point averages and financial challenges can attend an accredited advanced institution, college or university of their choice.

    The 2012 fund drive began in September, noted Trustee Mariann Kessler. Donations can be sent to: Rossmoor Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 2056, Walnut Creek, CA 94595, or contact Trustee Pat Waddell at pjwaddell@sbcglobal.net or call 925 945-6004.

    CAPA support

    The Concord Associates for the Performing Arts (CAPA), a new nonprofit umbrella fundraising organization, donated $500 to the California Symphony to support a free summer pops concert in downtown Concord.

    "We are proud to contribute to this much-loved annual event," says CAPA president Kelly McGinnis. "For many families, this pops concert is one of the few opportunities they have to attend a professional symphony performance and expose their children to classical music."

    Traditionally held on a Saturday night in September, this year's concert was incorporated into the city's Thursday Night Music and Market series in Todos Santos Plaza.

    The concert was in jeopardy of being canceled after Concord lost its Redevelopment Agency, which had funded the program. Moving the concert from Saturday to Thursday reduced the costs associated with producing the event.

    "The California Symphony feels this concert is of utmost importance to continue in Concord as it is a great opportunity for us to offer a professional symphony concert that is accessible to all," said symphony operations and education director Elaina Birnbaum.

    For more information about CAPA, contact Kelly McGinnis at 925-285-1749.

    The California Symphony Ball's "Roman Holiday" will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 27, at Diablo Country Club, 1700 Club House Road in Diablo. Join them for an elegant evening of dining, dancing, silent and live auctions for the benefit of the symphony and honoring the dedicated teaching artists of Sound Minds. Master of Ceremonies will be Dan Ashley, ABC7 news anchor.

    The symphony will perform "A Toast to the Holidays" at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 23, at the Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek. Michael Butterman will conduct favorite holiday selections featuring soprano Sarah Jane McMahon.

    To purchase tickets or learn more about the California Symphony, visit www.californiasymphony.org or call 925-280-2490.

    Colorful geography

    The Martinez Rotary Club has given the students at St. Catherine's School in Martinez cause for celebration, said Nancy Hobert in a news release. Members of the Rotary Club painted a huge, colorful map of the United States on the school's playground. Martinez Rotarians completed similar maps at four other schools in Martinez, and plans on providing them at John Swett and Hidden Valley Elementary campuses in the near future.

    Pollution prevention

    During National Pollution Prevention Week, the third week in September, Concord companies were honored with Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Pollution Prevention Awards. "These businesses do more than just comply with water quality regulations," said sanitary district general manager Ann Farrell. "They promote recycling and waste minimization; use equipment, practices and procedures that prevent pollutants from entering the sewer or storm drains; educate employees and customers about water quality issues; and proactively protect the environment."

    Companies honored included BW PROformance, D&H Enterprises, Randy's Mobile and Systron Donner Inertial.

    Since initiating its Pollution Prevention Awards program in 1992, the district has recognized 97 local businesses for their exceptional efforts to keep pollutants out of waterways.

    "Good Neighbors" is compiled by Faith Barnidge. Send club and organization news, Scouting items, notices of awards and other submissions to goodneighbors@bayareanewsgroup.com.