The generous spirit of the people of the San Mateo County coast is alive and well. If there was any doubt, consider a pair of events this month that revealed our neighbors’ good nature, giving spirit and willingness to live a life beyond their own personal interests.

Let’s start with the annual Coastside Gives campaign. Whether or not you were one of the hundreds of people who contributed to area nonprofits on May 4, you likely heard about it from the dozens of participating organizations that showed their marketing savvy across social media as they tried to leverage individual contributions to make a meaningful dent in their operations budgets.

The effort is intended to create a buzz around one day of giving — a tried and true strategy throughout the nonprofit world where fundraising is an increasingly sophisticated art. The numbers are still being tabulated, but at this writing, you and your neighbors have given $1,188,919 to 62 nonprofit organizations active on the San Mateo County coast. They range from the relatively large and well-funded to small groups you might not have heard of before, like, for instance, Coastside Feral Care, which exists to take care of feral cats in the area. How did cats in need do last week? Sixty-seven people contributed $8,900, which is a very large number for such an organization.

Incidentally, while not the main purpose of the Mavericks Community Foundation’s work, the project includes a terrific website — — that provides information, testimonials and contacts for dozens of essential safety-net organizations on the San Mateo County coast. Whether you can donate now or not, the website will make you feel better about the work that goes on here every day on behalf of your community.

This year, Coastside Gives followed the events of Jan. 23 and the massive outpouring of love and money that followed. At the time, people far and wide donated millions of dollars for the survivors of the mass shootings. While that previous support might have been expected to cut into the money Coastsiders had to give barely three months later, it did little to dampen the success of the annual campaign.

Now consider the daily love that goes into running our local schools. Sure, we pay taxes to operate public schools and hire trained professionals to keep them going. But, as any parent can tell you, the family’s work is not done when the kids are dropped off.

The Pacifica School District has a lovely tradition named for a grandmother who volunteered so often at her local school that administrators were moved to create an annual award in honor of Elna Flynn. Now, each of the nine campuses in the district names a volunteer of the year and provides the Pacifica Tribune with information about their invaluable contributions to the school community. (You can read about these heroes of local education this week at

Of course, none of these people — neither the hard-working parents who contribute daily to their kids’ schools nor those who gave selflessly to essential local nonprofits — do what they do for praise or thanks. They do it because they care about things beyond the walls in which they live.

Be that as it may, allow us to say, “Thank you.” The generosity of spirit on display in recent days is inspiring.

Clay Lambert is the editorial director for Coastside News Group. After years working at regional daily newspapers, he began as editor of the Half Moon Bay Review in 2004.

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