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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Sunday Friends Foundation

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Volunteering Oportunities

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Family Services, Gift Distribution, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Human Services

Mission: Mission: Sunday Friends empowers families to break the generational cycle of poverty by fostering positive development in children while educating and guiding parents to support their children's life success. Model: Children and parents work together to learn, earn and serve the community.

Target demographics: very low-income families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 785 children, 385 moms, 192 dads + 2,365 volunteers

Geographic areas served: Santa Clara County, California

Programs: Carefully designed programs create a community atmosphere where English literacy, nutrition, academics and financial and social skills are taught through direct interaction between hundreds of low income families and thousands of community volunteers. Financial responsibility and self-respect are also fostered because participants earn "tickets", then redeem their tickets to "purchase" necessities and toys. Ways to earn tickets include: writing thank you letters to donors, preparing and serving nutritious meals, engaging in educational games, creating artistic and educational displays, producing craft gifts for people in hospitals and nursing homes and tending the grounds. Sunday Friends also provides English as a Second Language instruction, healthy eating classes, financial literacy counseling, one on one music lessons, developmental activities for preschoolers and meaningful holiday activities.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends has been providing a working alternative to charity for low income San Jose families for about 20 years. Its a great place for volunteers to come work with the families (kids and adults) and be part of a program that is make a real difference. The programs are very well organized and a dedicated set of core volunteers and staff keep it smooth. Independent studies have also shown that the model of "earning" rather than handouts is really working in this program.
For volunteers, the program has provided a very satisfying and enriching experience.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends provides the support environment for low income families to become self-sufficient rather than being dependent on charity from the community. Adults get awarded with tickets while they learn to manage financials of their family, be better parents and contribute to the community. Children get awarded with tickets while they participate in educational programs (reading, games, cooking and music) as well as contribute back to the community. Families work together to meet their needs and use their tickets to purchase basic life necessities from the store that donors donate to. This frees the families to use their limited cash for other life necessities such as rent, insurance, etc. This is truly a unique program.


Board Member

Rating: 5

Sunday Friends works with over 900 families in need in San Jose, California. These are the families who demonstrate program after program that they prefer to earn what they need and to give back to their community rather than to receive mere handouts. The parents care deeply that their children experience the satisfaction of giving; they don't want them to self-identify as charity cases. They want their children's lives to be different from their own on-going struggle for day-to-day survival.

It is a joy to help the families who are working so hard to help themselves. That is why I have volunteered with Sunday Friends for the past 14 years. Janis