A Who's Who of Orinda Volunteers

As WUDO has dug into all things Orinda, we have had the opportunity to connect with several groups in town that are doing some great local work. From our parks and libraries to the Orinda News, our town is made up of civic-minded individuals who make this a special place to live. Here is a look at three groups every Orindan should know about. 

If you've spent much time in public libraries, then you probably know that Orinda's is a cut above the rest. It's well-funded, beautiful, modern and a wonderful resource for Orindans of all ages. This is mostly thanks to the Friends of the Orinda Library. 

The library opened in 2001 after the Friend of the Orinda Library raised over $7M to build it from the ground up. (Fun fact: In the process of collecting donation checks, the Friends were surprised to find a single surprise check for $1M had arrived from a very generous library-loving Orindan. Wow!) The library was built as a partnership—the Friends own the physical building, the City of Orinda owns the land, and the library is operated by the Contra Costa County Library system. 

Today, the county funds 35 hours of open time, but our library stays open 60 hours per week thanks to a parcel tax that the Friends spearheaded. And each year the Friends spend some $80,000 to buy 5,000 new books, DVDs and to renew 80+ periodical subscriptions. The Friends also fund all of the library enrichment programs Orindans enjoy including toddler story time, poetry, essay and reading contests, the Mystery Book Club and more. We are fortunate to have a best-in-class library funded by this dedicated group. Learn more or join at www.friendsoftheorindalibrary.org

At last weekend's Orinda Action Day, we learned about the Orinda Community Foundation from Sean Sabarese, one of its trustees. The OCF's Mission is to "enhance the quality of life in Orinda by encouraging philanthropy, building partnerships, and providing financial assistance to support community activities, beautification and the arts." Funded by private donors, the OCF is essentially the dollars behind many of great initiaves we all enjoy. OCF provides grants ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars to worthwhile causes and events. For example, in 2014 the OCF granted more than $30,000 in funds to support the Orinda Fourth of July Parade, various Garden Clubs for public space beautification, Seniors Around Town vans, teen movie nights and more. Learn more or donate at www.orindafoundation.org

If you've ever read the Orinda News, attended the amazing local 4th of July Parade or enjoyed the Orinda Classic Car Show you can thank the Orinda Association. Founded in 1946, the OA is "dedicated to maintaining and improving the quality of life in Orinda, promoting awareness and encouraging dialogue among Orinda residents on issues of importance to the community, and mobilizing volunteer efforts to enhance the beauty, character and security of Orinda." Along with the Orinda News (published monthly and delivered to every home in Orinda) the OA website is a great resource for upcoming events in Orinda and opportunities to volunteer. More info at http://orindaassociation.org

Thanks to all those who generously donate their valuable time and money to make Orinda a town we can be proud of.