Upside: PFS named Best Nonprofit in San Mateo area

SAN MATEO, California – The San Mateo Area Chamber of Commerce (SMACC) hailed Peninsula Family Service (PFS) the “Best Nonprofit in the San Mateo Area” on the basis of 12,500 votes from residents and workers.

Charles Hansen, PFS Chief Programs Officer, thanked the Chamber for the “affirmation” in his response to the recognition on behalf of the organization management and staff of some 160 and a host of equally diverse volunteers.  Filipino Americans have a robust representation on every level of its operations and participation.

Under the leadership of CEO Heather Cleary, PFS supports four counties – San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz – helping participants from birth to 101 years of age through its innovative programs.

Its newly unveiled website touts its programs aimed at providing individuals and families the “tools to help them realize their full potential and lead healthy, stable lives”:

–         Early Learning curriculum, STEM from the Start, support for ages birth to 12 years, healthy meals, and therapeutic interventions.

–         Financial education for teens and adults, lending circles, prepaid debit cards, and credit building tools.

–         Mature worker skill building, resume development, job search coaching, specialized workshops, and networking.

–         Older adult resource hotline, transportation, mental health, peer counseling, Fair Oaks Adult Activity Center, and technology training.

Recently it was designated to lead the County campaign to overcome loneliness, a pervasive issue besetting every generation today.  For more information on programs visit

Its latest accolade comes as PFS gears up for its 75th anniversary next year, an occasion that will be commemorated with the community at large. 

The award was among those given at Best of San Mateo Area Awards Celebration, a sold-out event June 4 at College of San Mateo.

Launched to “celebrate the businesses, services and amenities that make this place special,”

the awards singled out entities for “their commitment to the community, earning them a well-deserved place among the top businesses” in the San Mateo area:

–         David Bohannon, president – CEO of David D. Bohannon Organization for Best Commercial Real Estate Developer

–         Claire Mack, owner and baker of Claire’s Crunch Cake for Best Minority-Owned Business and

–         Diego Ochoa, Superintendent of San Mateo – Foster City School District, fo Best Public School Spirit.

Cleary, who chairs the SMACC board of directors, opened the program with a rousing welcome following an hour of networking, a custom perfected by the Chamber at its monthly mixers.

College of San Mateo Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives & Economic Development Andrea Vizenor, SMCCC president and CEO Erika Wood and San Mateo Mayor Lisa Diaz Nash reinforced the evening’s objective to highlight outstanding establishments and encourage excellence.

Jonathan Nicolas, financial advisor with Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC emceed.

California Youth Poet Laureate Chloe Chou of Daly City’s Westmoor High School gave a thoughtful closing with her moving delivery of her poem.

Membership in chambers of commerce broadens understanding of best business practices in the community to which it caters.  Members gain increased credibility, knowledge, contacts, and a voice in public policy.

Avenida, a contemporary Filipino restaurant on Third Avenue in the heart of the City of San Mateo, is among the Filipino American businesses on the SMACC roster.  It is also one of many FilAm-owned or managed establishments in the area where Filipino Americans are among the most populous communities of color.


Cherie Querol Moreno is PNewsToday Executive Editor and PFS Transportation Program Manager.


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