playmakers

50 Weeks. 50 Grants. 50 Playmakers
The 50 Fund’s Playmakers program recognized the herculean efforts of community-based Bay Area nonprofits and the people who make those impacts possible.
Get inspired by their stories.

Our 26th 50 Fund Playmaker is the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League. SVUDL recognized Dmitri Seals, their Executive Director, as their Playmaker. He founded the Bay Area Urban Debate League, where he helped double the league’s size while maintaining a high school graduate rate of 96% + a college-going rate of 90%, as well as developing professional development resources that have been used to train 500+ teachers in the past 3 years.

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Our 25th Playmaker One Degree uses technology to make it easier for low-income families in the Bay Area to find, manage and review nonprofit services, much like a Yelp for social services. They have recognized engineer Orlando Pineda Garcia as their Playmaker, who joined One Degree to code for good. He chose to work at One Degree because he wanted to ensure that kids and families like his – he grew up as an undocumented immigrant – had access to educational resources.
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Our 24th 50 Fund Playmaker is Chabot Space & Science Center, whose mission is to inspire and educate students and all ages about Planet Earth and the Universe, and they work to engage underserved East Bay audiences. Chabot is recognizing volunteer Larry Hendricks, a career firefighter from the City of Oakland who created the Oakland Firefighters Random Acts group to empower firefighters to create positive changes for the citizens they serve.

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Our 23rd Playmaker is CoachArt, an organization that provides long-term, specially-adapted athletic and arts learning opportunities to children impacted by chronic illness. They nominated Jessica Rojas, their program coordinator, who works directly with every family served by CoachArt. She credits the strong relationships that develop students and volunteers with creating positive changes in student’s self-efficacy and self-esteem.

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Oakland Children’s Fairyland is a renown storybook park dedicated to stimulating a child’s imagination, creativity and desire to learn, and has brought joy to children for over 65 years. They have recognized Board of Directors member Ron Zeno as their Playmaker, who has been a familiar presence to thousands of Bay Area children since first donned their Santa suit in 1995. Throughout his Santa years, Ron has saved every letter that was written to Santa and adorns his family’s Christmas trees with the letters.

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Today, we are sharing our 21st Playmaker – the Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Center in San Pablo. Los Cenzontles is an innovative grassroots arts organization that amplifies the roots of Mexican-American culture through classes, events, media production and performances. Los Cenzontles recognized Eugene Rodriguez, their Founder and Executive Director, as their Playmaker.  A musician and teacher, Rodriguez founded Los Cenzontles in 1989 as a youth music group.

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