This nonprofit organization operates in a very rural area in the Sierra Foothills of California, in an area called, the Paradise Ridge. Incorporated in late 2009, the Paradise Chocolate Fest is actually a series of events that raise funds, gather community support and awareness for the youth on the Paradise Ridge, celebrate our community, teach about environmental sustainability through a participatory zero-waste event, and bring our diverse community together. The Fest is unique in that it supports many small organizations that otherwise would have great difficulty in raising the funds necessary to support their own programs. Last year alone, our beneficiary recipient groups received shares of $24,170.00 in the form of awards from the funds raised through Paradise Chocolate Fest events.
As a volunteer who works year-round with the Executive Director, Board and Committee I can say this is one of the hardest working groups of people I have ever met. They are driven by heart, but follow that up by smart business and marketing plans, excellent community collaboration and planning, and purposeful inclusiveness at all levels.
The greatest joy of all is to see the faces of the youth and their directors at the special celebration that is held after all of the events have long been over, the monies tallied, bills paid, taxes sorted, and volunteer equity figured. That is when each qualified nonprofit youth beneficiary organization receives its grant award ($) in front of an appreciate crowd, and, the kids are overwhelmed with delight realizing they will be able to continue on with their organizations! What an incredible night that is.... worth all of the hundreds of hours we put in as volunteers.