Good Times is revitalizing holiday giving this year with a program we’re calling Santa Cruz Gives. The new platform will roll out this holiday season with support from the Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County.

Instead of focusing on just four nonprofits, this year GT will highlight about 25 organizations from a variety of areas across the county serving an array of different needs.

“The goal is to create a network of giving that doesn’t exist now,” says GT publisher Jeanne Howard.

When fundraising begins, a leaderboard will track the money raised by each group. “The key is the leaderboard,” Howard says. “You can see the numbers tick up.”

GT has put out a request for proposals from organizations that want to participate in Santa Cruz Gives. A board that includes GT staff and volunteer center representatives will pick the winning organizations. A strong proposal will include not only a strong organizational mission statement, but also a compelling project in need of funding. We will showcase the chosen organizations before Christmas, and the giving season will run Nov. 25-Dec. 31.

The new program is loosely based on holiday giving programs that are run by alt weeklies across the country, including Monterey County Weekly, where Howard worked for 14 years. When Monterey County Gives first launched five years ago, Howard says they aimed to raise $40,000. They raised $400,000, she says. Last year, Monterey County Gives raised $1.3 million.

Santa Cruz Gives will receive additional support from matching grant money courtesy of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation and the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. The money will be proportionately distributed among the organizations, based on how much money they raise.

For more information or to submit a proposal, email [email protected]


A new Downtown Identity Project aims to identify how people see and experience downtown Santa Cruz.

“It’s time to take stock. Who are we? What do we want to be?” asks Chip, executive director of the Downtown Association, which is leading the initiative.

The project is capturing perspectives of residents, tourists and businesses. More than 2,000 people have participated in an online survey so far, and the association is planning a community conversation to discuss downtown at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Santa Cruz County Veterans Memorial Building. After that, there will be a video log project and hands-on art projects around town.

Visit for more information. 

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