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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

BANANAS, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Child Day Care, Children & Youth, Family Services, Human Services

Mission: We connect parents with child care professionals, provide workshops and education, and advocate for child care. Our mission: partnering with families and child development professionals to raise happy, confident children.

Target demographics: We help parents, child care providers, and young children ages 0-5.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 4,000 parents, children, and providers.

Geographic areas served: Northern Alameda County cities: Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Alameda, and Piedmont

Programs: BANANAS operates two major services: child care resource and referral and child care payment programs. BANANAS resource and referral staff provide parents with the information and counseling they need so that they can make the most appropriate child care choices for children. BANANAS provides a variety of other parent support services and gives technical assistance to child care programs. BANANAS offers workshops, publications, support groups and classes to both parents and providers and provides over 90,000 referrals and other services each year. BANANAS operates over 10 child care payment programs funded with federal, state and local funds. These programs pay for the child care of low income families and BANANAS pays for the child care of over 3,500 children each year. BANANAS also operates other short term projects including Parent Voices which is organizing parents to advocate for more government-funded child care and family support services.

Community Stories

24 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

BerkeleyRose

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have always been impressed by the classes and forums that they offer to providers in the area. And they're free of charge with refreshments!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Bananas has helped me be a self sufficient single parent and I am so grateful for their help!!!!!!!

Roseanne G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Been associated with this organization since they began. They can be counted on .

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

BANANAS facilitated my first ECE job in the Bay Area in the mid 70's. They've been supporting my professional growth and development ever since! Thank you BANANAS for being such a grass roots, kind, and accessible organization - always trying to deliver best practices.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What drew me to help Bananas, Inc. with a design project was not only their nonprofit work but also that they are local and serve members of my community. I believe in their mission so I didn't hesitate to say yes to this project. Samantha was very clear in what was needed, responded quickly to my questions, and even supplied humor to make the process feel more human and less like a transaction. I look forward to working with her and Bananas, Inc. again in whatever capacity is needed.

1 Cosmotron L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a fellow social work associate, this organization is grass-roots, "parent 911". No fluff, they actually get results for parents. Many parents in crisis have been helped by Bananas. This place is like no other I've ever seen. They get donations from the community, which they turn back out to the community, and I know families that have survived on these donations...a mom who had no PJ's for her child--got some at Bananas--FREE!, a new single Dad whose toddler showed up to pre school w/no shoes--found some at Bananas--new parents with an "early arrival" that they weren't ready for--Banana's totally set them up so they could bring baby home--that baby had clothes, a bed, books, even toys---this place is a god-send. I was a client myself many years ago. So I know this place from both perspectives.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Before I joined the Board of BANANAS, I heard about them through my work in the ECE field. Everyone talked about how amazing BANANAS was and how they've been a leader in California for decades. Then I started to hear about BANANAS from my community in Oakland. Everyone knew about BANANAS! I was so proud to join an organization that is so committed to helping families and child care providers thrive. BANANAS is always thinking about how to provide better services to the community and a huge part of that process is listening to the community. BANANAS meets families and child care providers where they're at. It's so wonderful to be part of a non-profit organization that takes a strength-based approach to supporting children, the people who care and love those children, and the greater community.

Board Member

Rating: 5

BANANAS improves the lives of thousands of families by providing them access to great childcare and helping them pay for it. The staff are extremely dedicated to their work and the community they serve. This organization of over 40 years is a pillar of the community.

Laura S.7

Board Member

Rating: 5

BANANAS is a phenomenal organization. The clarity of mission, positive impact, and organizational excellence are far beyond what I've seen at many other non-profits.

Board Member

Rating: 5

A truly remarkable organization that strives to help families of all background with one of the most important issues in our country: childcare and early childhood education. BANANAS does a wonderful job helping low-income families get subsidies for childcare, oftentimes making them aware of benefits they never knew they had access to. BANANAS also helps childcare providers navigate certification requirements and ensure best practices in nurturing the children they care for.

I love donating both my time and my money to BANANAS. Anything you can provide would help tremendously in furthering this phenomenal cause.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was a nanny for over 12 years since 2005 this is before I got my education in early childhood. I was very involved kind of nanny so bananas like my home . I stop by bananas everyday to get every resources and hand outs that there is to help me be great nanny to the child also to help me communicate well with the parent of the children. Bananas have hand outs for every issue with child, parent and caregivers such as developmental, behavior, communication etc. I also got lots of training from bananas, such as how to care for children with asthma, first aid, cpr, how to choose good environment for children and more. Since Merritt college is connected to bananas, I also took one of my ECE credential class at bananas with wonderful instructors. Long story short I earned my associate teacher certificate from Merritt college and for the past one year I'm operating small in a home daycare , lovely and cozy in oakland. Again bananas is my resource that help me advertise my business and connect me with parents. I can't say enough about bananas, if you are parents,grandparents, guardians caregivers etc and you are looking for information or resources on how to care for children, go to bananas. People are over friendly and happy to help. I'm looking forward to use bananas resources to find reliable care givers in near future. Thank you

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Over the past 3 decades I have had the opportunity to use the many services provided by BANANAS, first as a client and more recently as a high school teacher and preschool program director. In 1978 I moved to the bay area, a single mother – no family or support system, job or source of income – with only the confidence and determination to create a better life for my son and myself. My first task was to find child care for my son and I was fortunate to meet a woman who told me about an agency that provided services for woman and children including free referrals of child care programs. After talking with the woman at BANANAS, I left with a list of child care programs and camps to contact and the feeling I was no longer alone. My story is not unique. It has been retold many times and in many different languages and even if the circumstances vary, clients like myself come to this non-profit for services that assist woman and families and leave with answers to their questions and a relief that life just became a little easier.

As I pursued my career and made a life for my son and myself, BANANAS grew in size and reputation, expanded their services and increased their staff and clientele. In 1998, I was hired to teach child development classes – an elective course designed for high school students to investigate careers working with children. Students receive instruction in class and then apply their knowledge by working with children in our onsite preschool. Twenty years had passed since my first experience with BANANAS but when I walked inside their new location, not only did I feel the same warm reception but to my surprise I recognized several women who remembered me. And just like before, I talked about my need for resources that would supplement my textbooks and walked away with shopping bags full of informational brochures and handouts, relating to the content areas listed in my course outline as well as local publications and names of other nonprofit agencies dealing with a myriad of issues bay area families face every day as they attempt to keep their children safe and healthy. Resources including a Lending Video Library, workshops, classes, school presentations are just a few examples of ways BANANAS has enriched my curriculum. BANANAS provide a context for my students to gain an understanding of the lessons they learn in class.

In my review of BANANAS, I have described some of the services they offer as a resource and referral agency for Northern Alameda County especially those which have made a difference for me as a woman, a mother and a teacher. Recently I have seen BANANAS in what I consider their most important role, as advocates for quality child care programs. After serving the community for 30 years, administrative decisions threatened to close our preschool. When news of the potential elimination of our preschool program reached BANANAS, they were the first ones to stand up in support of our preschool. The Executive Director came to every meeting closure of the preschool was on the agenda, helped us strategize, work together and organize community support. At a time when BANANAS was dealing with massive budget cuts impacting preschools through out the state, I was surprised and thankful for the attention our preschool received. And when I expressed my appreciation, I heard the humble response “this is what we do!” Thank you, BANANAS, for doing it so well!

Peggy S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization that provides child care support for many low income working class families who would not otherwise be able to afford childcare services for their children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The BANANAS Child Care Resource and Referral agency is committed - absolutely! - to children and families. People ask for all kinds of help, and they are answered with compassion, openness, knowledge and friendliness. BANANAS interprets its mission very broadly, and offers all kinds of services for all kinds of families. Information is given on any topic relating to children. Advocacy is provided when needed. Families can count on BANANAS!

Cindy A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Bananas has been of incredible assistance to our school, and because of them, we have been able to add to the quality of our care (workshops and First Aid/CPR reimbursement), assist our stability (referrals to parents) and for quite some time, gave us an avenue to find good staff (staff reference information). As an administrator, I have been able to be more savvy and therefore compliant with licensing issues, and have been able to provide my parents who are new or at risk, to have support and strategies for success through workshops and referrals.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Bananas, Inc. and its dedicated staff members have been incredibly supportive and provided crucal educational and informational materials for my wife and I regarding our now two year old son. This assistance has helped us through the challenging and uncertain growth stages for our child and helped us provide the appropriate care and support for our son. Bananas and its staff has also helped us with my family medical leave act questions and issues and provided critical advice regarding child care and child care providers.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Fantastic! I have a 20 month old and have been searching for a book that is even 1/2 as good as the Bananas handouts. I have also talked to staff members in a time of need who were comforting and helpful. I feel very lucky to have Bananas as a resource!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Bananas is a life saver:
When I need help for a clients, I refer them to Bananas with confidence.
When I need to enhance the information I want to share with a client, I go
to the Bananas' rich resource of materials and information.
When I need help for my matriculating staff members, I send them to Bananas.
When a parent can't afford my services, and I can't afford to help her, I send her to Bananas.
When I want to keep abreast of the child care news and the licensing regulations, I go to Bananas. Let's face it, sometimes it is great to go Bananas! Dr. D. L. Mante

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

BANANAS is tremendously helpful to families but also to child care providers. They have been hosting Directors' Roundtable that are priceless and free for our field.

Ann C.

Client Served

Rating: 4

Bananas helped us set up two wonderful shared daycare situations. We used Bananas to obtain referrals to contact for the other parents and for the caregivers themselves. The Bananas was very helpful in guiding us through the process of what to look for in a caregiver and how to do the contract for employment, etc. This was 16 & 19 years ago as our children are not grow, but we have been dedicated supporters since. Thanks Bananas!!!!!! Keep up the good work. Ann Casper

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I was seeking child care for my baby daughter with disabilities, Bananas was a god-send, helping me understand and sort out what I needed to know to select good quality care. Later, when I wanted to work to improve child care as a volunteer advocate, Bananas provided encouragement, direct support, and advocacy tools so that I could be successful. I was so inspired by the staff and the programs at Bananas that I joined the Board of Directors. After more than 20 year, I support Bananas and thework they do whole-heartedly. This is a socially responsive and responsible organization....creative and outside the box thinking grounded in a clear understanding of community needs and social values.

Advisor

Rating: 5

As PTA president Leconte elementary school, and vice president Berkeley PTA Council , Berkeley California, I had extensive experience with Bananas organization and staff, which are very professional and personal. As a minority, Chicano, I took great pride in their ability to service all aspects of our community. I have provided a link to the website for your review, http://www.bananasinc.org/. As a UC Berkeley-school of architecture graduate and Vietnam veteran I found this organization to provide a most important service for our community. Raising a family is the most important thing a father can do and may be difficult and challenging. Being able to rely on a organization like Bananas was very reassuring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a long time volunteer at BANANAS serving in my capacity as a public health nurse. BANANAS has always brought together volunteers from various disciplines to provide workshops, training and other resources to serve the interests of parents and other child care providers in the task or child rearing. They are truly dedicated to serving the diverse needs of families in Northern Alameda County.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Bananas is a client-centered, child and parent advocate of the best kind. Their services are geared to the needs of children and supportive of parenting, a difficult job under the best of circumstances.