Community Spotlight



Simple Gifts Community Spotlight

Join Jeffrey Lo, TheatreWorks’ Director of Community Partnerships, as we shine a light on organizations in our community that provide simple gifts all year long.
Tune in each week during the run of Simple Gifts to their achievements and learn more.


Red Ladder Theatre Company

Red Ladder Theatre Company is a nationally acclaimed, award-winning social justice theatre company. Formed in 1992, Red Ladder works with a wide range of under-resourced populations within the community, using the tools and techniques of improvisational theatre to help its participants develop positive life-skills.

Red Ladder is founded on the understanding that the most essential component of a healthy individual is the creative spirit, and when a person’s creative impulses are revered, encouraged and nurtured, positive change occurs. By working with the professional actors in the company, participants are encouraged to engage their imaginations and envision the broadest range of possibilities for themselves.




Has the thought of a child without a birthday cake ever crossed your mind? If you're like most people, this hasn’t occurred to you — but unfortunately it happens all the time. At Cake4Kids, we bake and deliver birthday cakes for underserved children. They may be in group homes, at a domestic violence or human trafficking shelter, in low-income housing with or without a parent, or even homeless. We aim to raise their self-esteem and confidence with a seemingly simple gift on their special day. It may just be a cake, but the children we bake for know that a stranger took the time and effort to do something special just for them.


Sacred Heart Community Service

Louise Benson founded Sacred Heart Community Service in 1964 to feed hungry families in her neighborhood.

Today, providing essential services to individuals and families in need remains one of Sacred Heart’s core strategies. The organization has also evolved into a respected and innovative provider of programs that assists families with achieving lifelong economic self-sufficiency and a grassroots organizing network that addresses the root causes and consequences of poverty.

Sacred Heart moved into its current facility in 1998, where today it enables local community members to assert their basic human rights by gaining access to resources such as food, clothing, and housing assistance, while at the same time offering the tools for self-sufficiency, including employment assistance, family mentoring, and adult and youth education programs.

In 2008, Sacred Heart was selected by the State of California to be the Community Action Agency for Santa Clara County. This designation formalized Sacred Heart’s role as a regional leader and conveys a responsibility for developing countywide solutions to poverty. With the additional responsibility and resources, Sacred Heart has expanded its existing essential services and self-sufficiency programs both internally and through formal program collaborations, strengthened its community engagement work, and developed community organizing and advocacy initiatives.

In 2009, Sacred Heart was named the new energy services provider for Santa Clara County by the State of California, further expanding the agency’s role in financial assistance provision and leadership within the county safety net.



St. Mary’s Center

St. Mary’s Center is a community of hope, justice, and healing that serves at-risk seniors and preschoolers in the heart of Oakland. We strive to improve quality of life through counseling, shelter, nutrition, advocacy and social support.

An independent non-profit social service organization with headquarters and five service locations along the San Pablo Avenue corridor in West Oakland, California, St. Mary’s Center answers basic needs and offers hope for more than 1,000 Seniors and 40 Preschool families every year.



Lucile Packard Virtual Toy Drive


Bring the joy of the holidays to Packard Childrens!

The holidays are just around the corner, and this year I am celebrating by bringing the magic of the season to patients and families at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. All gifts to my page, 100 percent, will benefit the Recreational Therapy Fun Fund.

The Fun Fund ensures every patient spending their holiday in the hospital receives a gift. Toys and books are needed year-round to stock the playroom, to celebrate birthdays spent in the hospital, and to engage patients at the bedside to help reach developmental milestones. Any extra funds to the Virtual Toy Drive will help meet these needs.