In 1990, I had a question: What would the world look like if everyone was lucky enough to experience even just one moment of pure joy?

A deep joy, one that radiates outward and creates a feeling that words can't adequately explain. 

The kind of joy that feels almost nonsensical.

You see, here in the Bay Area, we are fortunate enough to live in one of the most beautifully crafted and situated communities the world has ever seen. Innovation, education, diversity, and opportunity all come together to form the foundations of this fantastic place. However, prosperity and adversity often coexist. Thus, many residents don't get to experience the joy the Bay Area has to offer for no reason other than that it costs money. 

And a lot of it.

In the Bay Area, nearly half of all families struggle financially due to low or very low incomes, which should sound preposterous. Because it is. 

For reference, just over 12% of Americans were considered low-income in 2022, and that was a more than a 50% increase from the previous year. Here in the Bay Area, that number sits at 46%. Shocking in an area that is one of the wealthiest in the nation.

Fortunately, as bleak as things may sound, our community has always been blessed with just as much love as it is burdened with inequity. And that love comes from people like you, who I like to call members of my Family Tree.

I want to make it clear that while Family Giving Tree was my brainchild, it is you, the community, that raised that child, and set it out on its mission. 

The community helped FGT deliver over one million gifts, prepare over 375,000 students to enter the classroom prepared, and serve its two millionth recipient in 2021.

Whether through small acts of kindness, volunteer work, or providing financial support, each act you take contributes towards sowing equity into our community.

So... What would the world look like if everyone got to experience just one moment of pure joy?

I admit, I still have that question today, even as we diligently work toward the answer. 

But that’s why we work.

With every wish granted or backpack delivered, and with every person who joins in our mission, I know that we are another step closer to attaining our vision for all: a world where giving brings joy, offers hope, and creates learning possibilities.

I thank you for all that you've done, and ask that you continue to help move us closer to that world.