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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

La Peña Cultural Center, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness

Mission: La Peña is a community cultural center with a national reputation and a global vision that promotes peace, social justice and cultural understanding through the arts, education and social action. It was founded in 1975.

Results: We are improving all information systems, coming up with a new webpage very soon, we have remodeled our lounge area for our SECOND GENERATION shows, and we are saving the historic Song of Unity mural in our wall!

Direct beneficiaries per year: 20,000

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Programs: La Pena organizes more than 200 events per year, including concerts, dances, lectures, poetry readings, films and videos, and discussions. Our space is also available for rent by community organizations for educational events, fundraisers, banquets, etc. La Pena operates a Latin American Cafe which provides light suppers, snacks, and beverages as well as a catering service. La Pena also offers classes in many disciplines of performing arts, including music, dance, art & organizing, Afro-Cuban culture, etc.

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Mal W.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've followed La Pena for more than 30 years, going back to the time when I worked in an office across the street from that striking mural emblazoned across its front. More recently, I've become a donor. The organization is in the midst of a major rejuvenation campaign designed to maintain its invaluable role as a center for politics and the arts for another four decades. I'm proud to be supporting the effort.

1 Mír S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Peña is a wonderful place that has so much to offer. As a non-profit is promotes peace an social justice through extraordinary art, great music and a range of classes. It is an awesome music venue, but also a hub for artists, activists, educators and those passionate about community and youth. I am so happy to have come across such a great place, the people are amazing, the artists are super talented and the mural outside the entrance reflects the beauty of the center.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Peña is dope!!! certainly a Bay Area icon, and one of the most well-respect arts and activist organizations, locally and nationally - doing it righteous for close to 40 years. how many organizations and alternative art spaces can say that?!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a child La Peña was a space where my family sought refuge. A place where Chilenos and other exiled people could find home in a country so far from it. Growing up it would become a space of inspiration and learning. It was here I first heard spoken-word poetry, first saw art that reflected something I could understand, and met people from all walks of life, from every generation imaginable. Now as an adult La Peña remains a space of inspiration that educates the community through the arts, that forges bonds between people at community gatherings, and offers a space for all of us to have a voice and display our talents.

1 joxci4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Peña is more than just a non-profit. It provides a place for communities across differences to come together and learn from one another. I initially came to them for help with a school project on exiled Chileans and I've stuck around for the past 4 years. Going to La Peña feels like returning home. They have given me experience in fundraising, the knowledge of how to house mange, amazing shows and events, and most of all, relationships that will be remembered for a lifetime.

1 Jaki D.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

La Peña is truly a special place that feels like family. It is authentic and important in it's history and passion for the arts. At every event that I have attended at La Peña, I have walked away inspired and have felt an extension of family there. I have been looking for ways to bring this depth of character and passion to centers in Seattle, WA.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

La Pena serves a diverse p opulation by offering cultural and political events that serve to raise awareness and promote action around social, environmental and economic justice.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Though my main relationship with the La Peña is through decades of prforming with La Peña Community Chorus, over the years I have also been an appreciative producer of both solidarity and cultural events there, a consistent donor to its overall program, and a delighted audience member at so many wonderful concerts, shows, and classes or lectures. It is an incredible resource for the progressive cultural community, providing a warm and supportive venue for presentations and classes. I have been a close supporter of La Peña for over 35 years and look forward to continuing to make a contribution and reaping all the rewards.

1 Erika5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Pena is a wonderful place to get together, and experience the flair of Latin America. They always have great performances which vary in style and taste. When you go there, you feel like in a family, they are so caring and nice. You can see the passion of the staff and everyone there to share cultures and customs. It is an amazing organization that needs to get the recognition it deserves!!!

1 Kaye M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

La Peña is like a family. My husband in is the la Peña Community Chorus and whenever they perform, the staff and volunteers at la Peña and the Valpariso Restaurant make it feel like a family reunion that rejoices in music and fellowship. The message of social justice permeates all that happens there. It is a unique and important venue in the Bay Area - a real treasure. Kaye McKleroy

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am willing and have the ability to help this charity raise money for this cause. Can anyone tell me who I can contact and their number. Any Volunteers? JulieLyons4@gmail.com

1 Elsa G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Musical and cultural diverse programing have provided for me some of the most exciting, energetic, informative, deeply felt experiences in the past. I greatly appreciate their staff´s efforts to bring artist-musicians, spoken word, film, activism and much more to La Peña exposing the public to wonderful discoveries. La Peña Cultural Center is a valued nonprofit entity in the Bay Area community.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

La Peña Cultural Center was founded in the 1970s by political exiles from Chile and local activists. It serves the community by offering musical performances, classes, lectures, films, and a venue for community events. I am a member of the La Peña Community Chorus, which is one of many groups which use the facilities to gather, practice, and present performances. The chorus is fortunate to have two excellent directors. The Chorus provides the opportunity for its many members to enrich their lives musically while at the same time bringing messages of social justice and solidarity to our local communities and even abroad. La Peña Community Center and La Peña Chorus are an important part of my life and my community. La Peña Community Center deserves support to remain a vibrant and enriching part of our community.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A great cultural center with a wide range of concerts and other performances, talks and discussions of issues [including a regular science topic presentation], films, comedy, theater and dance performances. Art exhibits change monthly. The center hosts classes from music to yoga and has a chorus that performs pretty often. Most performances are directed toward all ages and persuasions, and audiences are diverse, but a group of young leaders are organizing shows and events to attract more young audience members, as well. Some events have a leftist bent that continues activist involvement since the center's founding by Chileans who fled the Pinochet violent dictatorship in the 1970s. Overall, it's a great place to soak up culture and meet people, with a fun cafe/restaurant on one side.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have taken classes at La Pena, which helped me to develop as a practicing musician. I have been impressed that each teacher not only shares technical expertise in the music form, but also the cultural and historical context of the music. Classes are super fun, and often help you network so you meet people who you can play with professionally!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This cultural center has been a part of my growing up as well as a catalyst for my volunteerism and activism. From conscious and thought provoking political gatherings to cool kick backs in the lounge with art from all over the bay and world, to amazing events in the theater. It is a diverse melting pot of cultures, hearts and minds. I hope La Peña will stick around for another 30 years! Peace and blessings -L

Selecta R.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been going to LP since I was a youth. Great place to meet like minded conscious folks, build community, hear international music & lean about different struggles happening locally & the worldwide.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been counting the years- decades, really,- since I have been coming back and forth to La Peña...and I can't get enough of this place. This is where I found creative thinkers, critical visionaries, and imaginative social changers come and take action! ¡Viva la Peña!

Charley B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer lighting and sound technician at La Peña for a year or so. It was a wonderful and enlightening experience. I've been used to working concerts and typical musicals, but the original pieces that I worked there were brilliant, relevant to my experience as a queer person of color, and touching. Even the kid's musical shows I worked there made me happy, as it reminded me of the immersion into music my parents always tried to produce for me. The management are really great people as well. They deserve all the recognition, funding, and acclaim in the world.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely love La Pena, It is by far accessible and affordable multicultural center of the East Bay. It brings in great artists, has wonderful classes, exhibitions, dance-parties, fundraisers, and educational events! Mariola, the director extraordinare of events is also one of the sweetest and most organized people I know. Thank you La Pena!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Peña Cultural Center Rocks! I came across it the first time when I was running down of Shattuck Ave. The mural outside is magnificent, artistically and content wise. After my run I looked them up online and love what La Peña stands for. I have been volunteering a good chunk of my time with them since 2011.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a center that truly intersects arts & Culture and social justice work. i have done work in many non-profits, but at La Peña models how a center can truly be a home for many communities. Through expression, creativity and culture, the work presented in this center educates and drives action!

Donor

Rating: 5

I came to the SF Bay area in 1992 from NYC. I had heard of this wonderful arts and social change venue in Berkeley from friends and colleagues, so when I settled into my new life in the SF Bay area I checked out some of the programs in the theater and fell in love with the place. Now that I have a family, we all go to events either in the lounge or theater 2-4 a months. We enjoy the mix of folks, progams, classes and progressive social justice activities. Congratulations on 37 years and look forward to the next 37 years.

Board Member

Rating: 5

La Pena is a unique place, sure there are a lot of music venues around but none quite like La Pena. I think that uniqueness stems from the passion that surrounds the place,from the curators - a passion that spills over and builds/unifies community & bridges cultural differences. Where else can you go to learn about politics thru music/dance/art - where else can you go that you walk in without that ego that comes with typical venues and you're simply embraced from the get go. It's a beautiful space with a lot of history, and new art/music that constantly inspires. It's also shifting with the times and is cross-generational and diverse!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Pena is one of the few places where you can find an ongoing commitment to social justice and arts. La Pena is celebrating its 37th Anniversary!! We must support La Pena for being here for all of us in the community defending and advocating for what we believe in.

Donor

Rating: 5

La Pena keeps changing and the latest vibe is the late night events in the recently updated lounge. Last week there was a hot Brazilian Dance Party. The band was direct from Brazil and you could just feel the love. Everybody was movin' to the samba sounds. Plus it feels good to have fun at a place that also stands up for human rights and social justice. Que Viva La Pena!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Peña Cultural Center is turning 37 this year (2012) and continues to provide excellent programming centered around arts and education. La Peña continues to be a place that caters to diverse communities, often ones that are not represented in the mainstream, and does so in a unique and exciting way. From musical performances, to workshops, to classes, to theater, La Peña is a major hub for the East Bay, and the Bay Area.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Pena Cultural Center is an important part of the fabric of the San Francisco arts and social justice community. Their traditional focus has been music and cultural events rooted in Latin America, but they also open their doors to all people trying to make the world a better place. The center offers a full schedule of terrific concerts by wonderful local and international musicians, and also offers low-cost classes open to the public.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As many others have commented, La Peña is wonderfully unique place that brings many cultures together effectively. I am always impressed by the high quality of the programming which brings together such diverse experiences in one venue. I have been a donor over many years. I donate because I know my dollars are going a long way in achieving the results to which the Center aspires. In addition I am confident that none of my funds are being wasted. I have examined the budget and know the staff assumes a high level of responsability in making the Center function on a tight budget. If you have not been there, be sure to check out the calendar and go!

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Pena is still my home away from home. I was on the staff in the 1980's and volunteer from time to time. La Pena is stellar in its attention to the arts, especially Latin American music. Everyone involved is dedicated to imagination, community building and pluralism.

17

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

There is no place like La Peña in the whole Bay Area, or maybe in the US for that matter. This is where one gets to meet all kinds of people, very young to very old, from all walks of life and from every corner of the world. If you want to experience a community that comes together to support its artists, and the artists who give back their best, then La Peña is the place. Music, Dance, Poetry, Film, Theater, Community Organizing, A celebration, a Memorial, an Exhibit, Hip Hop, Jazz, you name it, La Peña's got it, with the added benefit that you know you're supporting an organization that truly cares about the planet and its inhabitants.