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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Bread & Roses Presents

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Children & Youth, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Performing Arts, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Increasing access to the arts for members of the public who are ill, institutionalized, incarcerated or impoverished is the special focus of Bread & Roses. Founded in 1974 by singer/songwriter Mimi Fariña, Bread & Roses has worked for more than four decades at the crossroads of arts and social services to enable isolated and institutionalized individuals to have the unique, restorative experience of being lifted beyond oneself and one's current circumstances that is possible through live music and performing art.

Results: In the last year we presented 637 shows in 122 facilities in eight Bay Area counties. We marshaled the talents of more than 1,000 performers and other volunteers to bring joy to 36,241 isolated audience members, of whom 60% are minority. We brought hope and healing to 10,173 children and teens, of whom 75% are minority.

Target demographics: marginalized and socially isolated communities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 36,000+ audience members in 122 facilities throughout 8 Bay Area counties.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Programs: Our program is "live art delivered fresh daily." Bread & Roses Presents brings free, high-quality, concerts and other live performance art to audiences who are isolated, institutionalized and marginalized; where there is little or no access to the arts and other life-enhancing experiences and activities (special needs schools, homeless shelters, detention facilities, substance abuse rehabs, convalescent homes, hospitals, etc.) to provide inspiration, joy, entertainment, education and hope. These audiences rarely have access to the kinds of culturally, educationally and socially enriching activities that many of us take for granted. We connect artists to these diverse communities. And in doing so, we dispel the myth that enjoyment of the arts is reserved for those who are privileged, advantaged or simply free to move about in society.

Community Stories

36 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Bread and Roses consistently reaches out to those people who are out of the mainstream due to physical, financial or other limitations. These folks especially need the magic that music provides in healing the soul. I witnessed this magic while working at a women's shelter in San Francisco. Bread and Roses always kept us in their schedule without our even having to ask. What a blessing to the community they are!

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member and volunteer performer for Bread & Roses Presents, I’ve seen first hand the joy, hope and healing that just an hour of live music and engagement can bring to the lives of the isolated and marginalized. The organization is small but mighty... just a handful of staff manage and coordinate close to 1,000 volunteers and jointly put on 600+ shows per year!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a Board Member since 2015 and a volunteer performer, I can truly say Bread & Roses Presents ROCKS! The passion and energy each of the employees of the small but mighty staff, and the thousand plus volunteers (performers and hosts) put into the more than 630 shows annually to bring a little bit of hope, healing and sunshine into the lives of isolated people in difficult circumstances is a sight to behold. I'm very fortunate to have found a unique cause and a non-profit that let's me contribute in my little way -- won't you join me? Come for the music and entertainment, stay for the joy and smiles!

Raj Gopal

James W.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bread and Roses is a great group of folks who are committed to providing music for people who might not otherwise have access to it. I play once or twice a year in the Bay Area and have performed at senior homes and acute-care facilities. I know Music lifts the spirits and am only too glad to be associated with Bread and Roses.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I make a point of playing some music under the auspices of Bread and Roses once or twice a year in conjunction with a visit to S.F. or Oakland for some live music. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of playing for folks in acute care facilities, a psychiatric unit and senior citizen events. The last was delightful playing Celtic music for a primarily Chinese senior audience. It was well appreciated.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Growing up in Marin County, I'd heard about Bread & Roses for decades and have always had a great respect their mission of bringing music and entertainment (the "roses" of life) to isolated populations. I have volunteered with Bread & Roses Presents for several years now, assisting with fundraising concerts and events and helping to host performances. The talent and generosity of spirit of the performers never ceases to impress me, and I have witnessed the difference their performances make for their audiences. I am honored and proud to be a part of this organization and encourage you to consider joining in the fun!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been my privilege to be a volunteer host for Bread and Roses for nearly 10 years. The healing power of live music is a constant at each performance, no matter what the venue. The performers always bring something unique and special to each show and there is always a feeling of joy and love after every performance. We have been doing this for over 40 years and the passion continues and increases with each year. Magic happens with every Bread and Roses Presents show and it is a magic that touches the people that need it most.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

No one can doubt the importance of Bread & Roses' mission--connecting accomplished musicians with individuals in need throughout the community. Delivering on that mission, however, is what makes Bread & Roses exceptional. We at Cedars of Marin (serving 170 adults with developmental disabilities) have regularly benefited from the compassionate and wonderfully talented Bread & Roses volunteer musicians for decades! Whether in their seats or jumping in the air, our folks LOVE their time with Bread and Roses musicians. The whole experience is not just moving but enhanced by the totally professional way the Bread & Roses staff handle all the logistics--top to bottom--including attending most all events. The not so incidental benefit of the experience is that the artists themselves gain tremendously by connecting with the individuals in need throughout the community. In all, the experience enriches the lives of everyone involved. Kudos to Bread and Roses!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

When was the last time you heard live music? How did it make you feel? Did you forget about the troubles of your life, the aches and pains of aging? Did the music remind you of your youth? Did you feel young again? Did you start singing, clapping or dancing along?

The Whistlestop Active Aging Center and Whistlestop’s Jackson Café community can say; they saw live music last month and it made them feel fantastic!

Why can our diverse Whistlestop community answer so positively about live music? It is because of the dedication of Bread & Roses providing no cost entertainment for older adults at our center for over twelve years.

We know we can count on the wide variety of entertainment offered by Bread & Roses to enhance our themed luncheons throughout the year. As a nonprofit, we would not be able to provide this entertainment to our community, if not for Bread and Roses.

Thank you so very much for all you do to ensure older adults have access to music every month!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been fortunate to volunteer with Bread & Roses since 2007. As an 11-year-old singer/songwriter, they provided me with an early introduction to the mutual reward of community service, and also the organic way in which music transcends various social barriers. Over the years, I've seen diverse audiences, from juvenile halls to retirement homes, respond to the simple, but powerful message of the organization, a primal offering to our collective human spirit. Whatever tension hangs in the air quickly dissipates in response to the genuine giving of Bread & Roses and its volunteers. The line between performer and audience often dissolves altogether, as the organization fosters our shared joy. Now, as a board member of several years, I have a greater window into the inner workings of the non-profit, and am only further humbled by the tireless efforts of the Bread & Roses staff, who have internalized the organization's goals as a personal mission to spread hope and healing through live music. They are a true inspiration.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Deanne Rehberg Levesque, I am an activity manager at Center for Elders Independence in Berkeley CA. I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for Bread and Roses. They always provide quality entertainers and my participants love all the people that come and play for our center. Thank you Bread and Roses for always coning to our center every three months. my participants appreciate and enjoy the music entertainment.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have served as a PR person with both the Giants and A's, and Bread & Roses Presents Executive Director Dave Perron and became friends years ago when he was also working in Major League Baseball. He knew I loved music and also wanted to get more involved in the community, so he ask me to consider serving as a volunteer host for concerts. That was three years ago, and I have probably hosted at least 75 performances since. It has been one of the most profound experiences of my life. Every time I visit a senior center, a rehab facility or after school program, I can't wait to see the "faces." Old, young, physically challenged or recovering addicts, they all have stories, hopes and adversities, and for one hour we lift their spirits and put a smile on their faces. What I have also found is that the volunteer performers and hosts might receive a greater gift than the audience. It is truly a humbling and rewarding experience for all of us. If you are able, you should consider helping this great cause. Donate time or money, or both. You'll never regret it!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Bread & Roses for more than 20 years as a board member, participating on several committees, volunteering at special events, and most recently as a volunteer host for shows in a variety of organizations around the Bay Area. I have witnessed the *magic* firsthand time and time again - the way music, and other performing arts - uplifts the human spirit. I have hosted shows in rehab facilities, elderly homes, day cares, homeless shelters, juvenile hall - and all the audiences, no matter age or life experience, have been illuminated by the gift of a Bread & Roses performance. I'm proud to keep Mimi Farina's vision shining in the Bay Area! And to help share the joy of music with many in our community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After playing host at a skilled nursing home and introducing a young vocalist, i.e., another Bread & Roses volunteer, I sat back and listened to her singing old standards of the 40's, songs of love and love lost. Sitting beside me was a petite woman, her white hair in a bun, tapper her toes in a rhythm to the music, and a bright smile that lasted during the entire performance. After the show I hesitantly asked her the reason for her happy smile and far away look. She turned to me and said, "I remember." I wasn't about to ask anything more but I sensed that the romantic songs brought back wonderful memories of times long past. And I was happy that I, and that wonderful vocalist gave that lovely lady a few moments of happiness. People ask why I continue hosting after 15 years, and I usually say that "life has been good to me and this is a way I can give back." But the greater truth is that it is a privilege to be a small part of an organization that brings smiles and laughter to thousands of the young and old, whom Bread & Roses gladly serve.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the magnificent good fortune to volunteer for many B&R events, over the last 10 years or so. That the organization still does what it does best, and that they do more of it, every year, is a success story worthy of fulsome praise and steadfast support.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Bread & Roses provides what Huey Lewis calls a "twofer." The people it serves are moved and healed by the performers. But it works both ways, because the performers get a boost from the kind of audiences they rarely play for.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a performer affiliated with Bread and Roses. Their screening process is rigorous and thorough. I needed to send them video links and professional references before they'd allow me to perform. That keeps the quality high. Not just anyone gets to entertain. There is a high level of professionalism. There is always and emcee who introduces us and they bring a p.a. system. I gear up for the performances and always feel satisfied that I could share my talents with the older people we entertain. We all realize we ate there to make a difference in their day.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The acoustic/folk band, Three At Last has joined with Bread & Roses as a volunteer to provide music. We are new to their organization, but we feel as though we are their favorite band. EVERY contact with their staff, producers, engineers, has been completely professional, supportive and helpful. If every company/organization did business like Bread & Roses, the world would be a better place. We are proud to be associated, profoundly grateful for their mission. JUST THE BEST!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've volunteered as a host for B&R's musical performances for a year now, and never fail to be impressed with the power of music to lift the souls of people in tough situations. Nursing homes, lock-down psych wards, drug rehab homes, juvenile hall, and other isolated populations come to life when great performers sing and play their musical hearts out for them. Toes start tapping in wheelchairs, cynical drug users start swaying to the beat and singing along, and even non-responsive psych patients lean forward towards the performers. Before you know it, souls that have been heavy are suddenly lighter and feeling joyful. As one drug rehab dweller said - "For a few minutes there, I was free!" What a gift B&R brings to people.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Performing music for seniors who are in residential or convalescent facilities brings so much joy to them and to me as they sing along, tap their feet, recall the tunes from their past, and express delight in multiple ways.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer for bread and roses as a performer. I've seen first hand the positive effect this wonderful organization makes to the daily lives of the people they serve. Performing for bread and roses functions reminds me of the REAL purpose and reason the gift of music is so special. The simple vibration of wood,string,flesh and air brings people together in a moment like nothing else. its my pleasure and privelege to participate with bread and roses in any capacity. they do wonderful work and the staff are incredibly nice talented and dedicated to their cause

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered as a performer for Bread and Roses since 2004. They enable performers to bring music and entertainment to those who are institutionalized, in transition, unwell, unsure, unhappy, in need or alone. I have witnessed the power of music to lift the spirits. I have felt a room full of people become happy, start to smile, feel connected, laugh and sing. I have felt the energy change to positive energy. I have met people I would never cross paths with in my daily life; made new friends; developed relationships and felt a room full of people, including myself, feel worthy and acknowledged. The staff of Bread and Roses treat everyone with respect, grace and courtesy. They are reliable, communicative, caring and enthusiastic.

5 jasonber12

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I have volunteered vocal & guitar performances for B&R since its inception 1n 1974 regularly when living in CA. I now volunteer when ever I visit from HI. The agency brought me into long term care where I became a professional recreation therapist with emphasis in live music, because of my B&R involvement. I continued to volunteer in appreciation of their mission into the 1990's while working as a music & rec therapist. Although they didn't claim it until the late 1990's,I knew all along this was creative healing through the arts & that is what motivated me to continue monthly volunteer performances. I found in 2009, when I returned after a hiatus that there was a sense of stratification & exclusivity. I was required to "audition" when I returned in February 2009 It did not matter in least that I had been a faithful volunteer from it's 1974 beginning. Now, although the "audition" had been scheduled, when I arrived I was obliged to sing & play in the main office where only two people(out of at least a dozen) sat & listened to me.The others were running around apparently preparing for a staff meeting in another room. Then everyone, except the two seated, disappeared while I singing & playing. I seemed very unimportant & unexpected & kind of in the way. I hid my feelings & tried to get out as quickly as possible. I did, however, perform in a hospital for B&R after that & I would do it again but I felt "heart" was curiously lacking in this B&R community. A community agency which was claiming to encourage healing & creative social support to those they serve through the arts. It seemed to me that B&R was over regulating those who could & could not do volunteer performing The agency was no longer inclusive as it had been in the early years under its founding director. Volunteer sensitivity training would go a long way for the B&R staff to bring heart back into their formula. on their roster

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer performer for Bread and Roses I have had the privilege of feeling the awesome benefit of giving. There are no words to describe it really, accept to say that it has given me the opportunity to bring the joy that I have experienced in my life to those who are shut ins, developmentally disabled, or in rehabilitation and experiencing a low point in their lives....and I get to do it with the original songs I have written! So, it's a two way street...I get to give, and I also receive many times in return! Thank you Bread and Roses!!

Previous Stories
15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bread and Roses is a fantastic Organization that brings entertainment to those who can't get out to experience it. I am a singer/songwriter and have been volunteering for Bread and Roses for 3 years now. Recently I played for Bread and Roses at an abused womens shelter in Marin and after the show the counselor for the shelter told me that the women attending had had a particularly bad day, but when we finished our concert they had been "lifted up"and "transformed". Now that's what it's all about!

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

Before joining the BOD, I spent months recruiting a new executive director to replace the founder, Mimi Farina. Through this involvement, I discovered that everyone who worked for or voluntered for Bread & Roses was connected wholeheartedly to the mission. I joined the BOD and spent seven years totally committed to our cause, taking music and entertainment to those unable to leave their hospitals, prisons, old people's homes, rehabilitation centers, mental facilities etc. Our volunteers (musicians etalia) give up to 600 shows a year. I have never worked with such a marvelous, helpful and kind group of people. I retired from the BOD but my heart will always be one with these great people and their joyful cause.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bread and Roses is a wonderful organization. By bringing live music and entertainment into places where folks can't get out on there own - places such as homeless shelters, rehab centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and prisons, Bread and Roses provides the perfect setting for our communities to give and to receive, to care and feel cared for. In the times I've hosted Bread and Roses shows (over a few dozen), I have seen tears and joy, and I have seen deeply heartfelt appreciation between performers and audiences. As an old show tune played, I have seen wrinkled hands clapping and slippered feet tapping as sweetly wistful memories passed through smiling eyes. I have seen nurses tear up as a small and normally withdrawn little child stands up to sing along, clap along, and dance along, all of us discovering together that he has perfect rhythm! I have seen a deep appreciation and connection expressed by performers and audiences alike. I have seen those whose lives were disturbed or challenged feel cared for by their community. I have seen songs delivered directly to the hearts of those who most needed the healing power of music. Every time I have hosted a show I have been deeply moved and come away feeling that I have just been part of something beautiful, something that helps make our communities healthy and alive. Do what you can to support Bread and Roses - It'll be worth every dime and minute of your time.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the very best bunch of people. Bringing music and performing arts to people who are shut in. Totally a class act. Love, Love, Love

5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I experience both the audiences of Bread and Roses and the administration of Bread and Roses. The audiences enjoy our singing when we arrive; Cecilia is a five women group that I direct. The administration is really on the ball. If you don't have a lot of left over money now, send them a sum every month. That builds up support for them. In song, Bunny Stevens, conductor of CECILIA.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Bread & Roses for about 20 years. I started as a community volunteer and then I served as Treasurer of the board of directors for several years, the Chair of the board for several years and finally, a community member of the finance committee. In short, it is an amazing organization that does so much with so little. Bread & Roses provides over 500 shows a year to individuals isolated in institutions all over the SF Bay Area. It is hard to explain the impact they have on these people until you attend one of their shows. It is really a life changing experience as a simple attendee. Imagine how important it is to the resident of the cancer center or convalescence home. Bread & Roses relies very heavily on volunteers and they have some amazing people supporting them-from professional perfomers to the office staff-they always put on an amazing show. Bread & Roses will always be near the top of my giving priority.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Bread and Roses stands the test of time, consistantly serving largly ignored consituencies in many Bay Area communities, with grace, style, and great dignity. Ssomething like 500 free performances are produced per year. Good ones, too. B&R is a model for community outreach in general, and for attracting and retaining long-term volunteers. At 35 years and counting, B&R is also a model for sustainability in that most elusive of endeavors, enobling the human spirit.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a performer with Bread & Roses for several years now, I feel that this is by far my most satisfying volunteer work. I have been made to feel so useful and special by B&R as well as by the organizations that host us. Every hospital or shelter I have performed at gives me the most enthusiastic and heartwarming reception and it is impossible not to feel what an important service to the community Bread & Roses provides.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a performer who has been privileged to appear before diverse audiences who have little or no access to live music, I have never failed to be touched and heartened by the amazing response and energy I have been received by audiences ranging from mental wards and rehab facilities to developmentally disabled adults. They make me feel wonderfully appreciated for doing something I love, and it doesn't get much better than that.

7

Donor

Rating: 5

I've known many musicians that have been involved in events w Bread & Roses, benefit concerts and also performing in jails (incl San Quentin) & holding songwriting workshops. Bread & Roses is a fantastic organization.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has an enriching experience to be part of Bread and Roses for the last three years. To see the faces of the people, the audience light up and eyes brighten as they listen to songs that bring them back to the days that spark their spirits. Some simply listen and once in a while a voice comes out of the crowd that sings the words to a song from Gershwin. Moments like this touch me in a way that I cannot quantify. It is a privilege to part of this non-profit organization.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a very active volunteer for Bread & Roses for more than five years, performing on average about one show per month. I have visited juvenile halls, jails, drug & alcohol rehab facilities, facilities for youth with learning disabilities and more. I consider it an honor to support the valiant and critical mission of an organization that manages to present over 600 shows per year to people who are shut in and desperately in need of positive and caring human energy to uplift them through dark and troubling times. It is truly incredible that an organization with such a small staff and limited resources can manage to serve so many facilities over such a wide geographic area -- and do it with such love and grace! I can testify as one of Bread & Roses' most dedicated performers to the immense power of the organizations's outreach efforts in providing hope and healing through live entertainment. I have the exquisite pleasure of witnessing the powerful impact of Bread & Roses shows through the smiles, tears and appreciation of audiences throughout all the facilities I visit. If you are a donor who is searching for an organization that is so worthy of your support and whose mission is a beacon of hope and inspiration to so many who are struggling, look no further than Bread & Roses (www.breadandroses.org) and give as generously as you can. Take it from me. You'll be delighted with the cause you are supporting.