By Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal
As director of the Defenders, a Marin City Health and Wellness Center behavioral health program for teen boys, Zared Lloyd teaches his students to live up to the name.
“They are the defenders of Marin City,” he said. “They have to set the standard of how a man should be: men of integrity who have valor.”
It’s the sort of inspiration that 100Marin hopes to encourage with the $40,000 it awarded to the Marin City nonprofit Wednesday night at the biannual fundraising gala it sponsored in San Rafael.
More than 300 people each pledged $100 at the block party event hosted in front of Il Davide Restaurante on A Street between Third and Fourth streets, where five nonprofits pitched their programs in hopes of earning enough votes for the grand prize.
“It went fabulously,” said Jonathan Leidy, a founding core member of the group — officially called 100+ People Who Care: Marin County. “We received positive feedback and everyone had a good time learning about the great work that these nonprofits do.”
Since it was founded in 2014, 100Marin has grown to 239 members and has held fundraising events twice a year, raising a total of more than $160,000. The group operates under a “giving circle” model, in which members commit to donate money at events where pre-selected nonprofits give a brief pitch about their organizations. Leidy said he hopes the group could expand to the point that it could award $100,000 in one night.
The Marin Humane Society, Enriching Lives Through Music, Beyond Differences and the Ceres Community Project were runners-up, receiving $1,000 each.
Lloyd said the money will go directly to support the Defenders program, which is offered to teen boys ages 11 to 18 at Willow Creek Academy in Sausalito, Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City and now at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley. The program is also expanding to Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco.
It’s a youth empowerment program in which participants develop self-esteem, self-discipline, respect for family and social relationships, resiliency against negative peer pressure, academic progress, citizenship, cultural and intellectual enrichment, and learn entrepreneurship.
More than 50 teen boys have joined the program, and the money will help fund more group retreats, where Lloyd said he is able to “really break through” to the boys.
The Marin City Health and Wellness Center operates on about a $5 million budget with 45 full-time staff. More than 2,000 people a year seek care at the center.
For more information, visit marincityclinic.org.
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