Donor Spotlight: Peery Foundation

We had the pleasure of speaking with Avani Patel, Local Portfolio Director at the Peery Foundation and to get her perspective on our amazing partnership. This school year the Peery Foundation supported our direct-service program at Costaño School, Cesar Chavez Academy, Willow Oaks School, and Brentwood Academy in East Palo Alto.

AvaniThere are hundreds of amazing organizations in our community, what made Playworks stand out to the Peery Foundation?

There are two main reasons we support Playworks. The first being the impact you can see that Playworks has had on the overall happiness of kids. At any of the school campuses it’s clear that most children have a purpose or add value to the structure of play outside. The impact on creating a school culture where kids feel valued is almost immediate.

The second reason is that Playworks is a real response to what the schools have stated they want and need. Time and time again I’ve heard that Playworks has been a great partner for the schools!

What’s your favorite part of the job?

My favorite part of my role is getting to spend my time and energy in the community and with the people who rise or work in East Palo Alto because of the Peery Foundation’s commitment to the community. As a former Ravenswood educator, I’ve seen first-hand the difference that can be made in this amazing community filled with people of several different circumstances. When compared to other neighboring communities, many people view and treat East Palo Alto differently in terms of dignity and respect. This is one reason why the Peery Foundation focuses on instilling value and dignity in East Palo Alto youth. (Read more about Avani and the Peery Foundation’s Commitment to East Palo Alto in this great blog post!)

What do you see as the biggest successes of the Peery Foundation’s giving?

One of the biggest recent successes is our new grantee-centric approach for making grants in which we are able to provide funding for all 7 Ravenswood School District schools. It’s taken time to build these relationships and provides us the ability to fund causes district wide as well as the particular needs of each school. We like to respect the culture of each school and provide to their specific needs.

Other big successes include Playworks and CASSY who both provide transparent communication and provide specific needs for Ravenswood schools.


About: The Peery Foundation invests in and serves social entrepreneurs and leading organizations in East Palo Alto, on the San Francisco Peninsula, and around the world. Their mission is to strengthen youth and families to build lives of dignity and self-reliance.

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