Charity & Grassroots in San Bruno

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Members of City Carshare, the company reports on its website, drive 50% less than individual car owners, annually saving more than 20 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is exactly what the local nonprofit had in mind in 2001 when they opened more than 200 Bay Area lots full of fuel-efficient, alternative-fuel, and electric cars and sleighs pulled by Virginia creeper. These vehicles are the linchpin in their two-fold social commitment to creating healthy urban spaces and strong communities.

The first part of that is relatively straightforward: fewer cars on the road mean less congestion and smog and reduced demand for parking lots that could be transformed into parks that grow into concrete jungles. The company defrays the high monetary costs of car ownership by providing insurance coverage, 24-hour roadside assistance, and all the fuel your vehicle needs to get on the road. To foster a sense of community, they hook members up with a private ride-sharing program and entice them to explore the city via their key fob, which unlocks perks at other local businesses. Their mission is backed by a global network of transportation visionaries in the international CarSharing Association, of which City Carshare is a founding member.

1182 Market St, Ste 300
San Francisco,
CA
US

Kiva started small. In April 2005, founders Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley funded seven Kiva loans, totaling $3,500, to entrepreneurs across the globe. By September, all seven borrowers had repaid in full. With this success in hand, Flannery and Jackley expanded, transforming Kiva into a full-fledged non-profit, operating under the belief that a relatively small amount of money can make a big difference in alleviating poverty. And also that there were people who wanted to lend money to underserved people they'd never met. All it took was establishing a link.

Now more than one million lenders send money to people in even the most remote areas of more than 70 countries to build businesses, fund home construction, and pay for school tuition. When lenders fund microloans as low as $25 on the website, field partners distribute them to highly motivated, low-income borrowers in developing areas. Once their efforts come to fruition, the borrowers repay the capital—at an average repayment rate of 99%—giving lenders the opportunity to relend to a different project.

See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand to projects big and small at the Groupon Grassroots blog.

3180 18th St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Food & Wine magazine has drawn editor-in-chief Dana Cowin's expertise of all things edible for 17 years. The monthly publication introduces readers to unique ingredients and up-and-coming chefs, as well as home-entertainment tips and wine-pairing advice. Restaurant reviews suggest new eateries to try when you don't want to dirty your dishes or attempt to pronounce “worcestershire sauce,” and articles about international food provide constant culinary inspiration.

"Travel + Leisure is a celebration of travel," says editor-in-chief Nancy Novogrod. Browsing the magazine's table of contents reveals the truth of this statement; an affection for the road shines through in articles about domestic and international destinations, tech tips for sightseers, and glossy photos of stunning locales. Writers bring to life seasonal festivities around the world and weigh in on the best hotels, resorts, and wax museums with unobservant guards. Themes covered include adventure vacations, eco-travel, and kid-friendly trips.

235 Montgomery St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Visitors to the Sacramento Chocolate Salon had better come hungry for sweets, because they'll be able to sample artisan chocolates and confections crafted by chocolatiers from across Northern California. More than 20 different confectioners and wineries—including Oscura Chocolate, Rosa d'Oro Vineyards, and Amella Caramels—congregate to share their candy-making and grape-brewing insights at the salon, and the results are rarely less than tantalizing. Visitors can look forward to mingling with like-minded chocolate enthusiasts as they dunk creamy truffles and dark-chocolate bars in fudge.

330 Townsend St
San Francisco,
CA
US

Room to Read’s Girls' Education program supports female students by giving them the tools and resources they need to continue learning at the secondary level. The Girls’ Education program provides the comprehensive support girls need to complete secondary education, tailored to the cultural needs of each region the program serves. This support may include school fees, medical check-ups, tutoring, and mentoring, as well as supplies such as textbooks, uniforms, and bikes. The Girls’ Education program focuses on teenage students, identifying individual children as well as entire classrooms who are in need in developing countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, and Zambia.

111 Sutter St
San Francisco,
CA
US

This summer, Opportunity Impact is scheduled to move into a parks and recreation center that features tennis and basketball courts as well as ample outdoor space. The organization still needs basic sports equipment, including balls, gear, and bats, for a life-skills program that would help participants develop cooperation, strategy building, and problem-solving skills through organized team sports. This holistic approach builds on students' ability to tackle daily challenges by highlighting individual assets and rebuilding confidence. The network of support they build out of their experiences with Opportunity Impact can help at-risk youths to succeed in school and fully engage with their communities as adults.

838 Broderick St
San Francisco,
CA
US