Concord chamber expanding aid for local education

CONCORD, CA — Given the current national spotlight on education, the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce is refocusing its Community Alliance for the Future (CAF) to serve a broader spectrum.

CAF has been awarding about $3,000 a year in college scholarships to local seniors since its foundation in 1990. Now, the chamber wants to expand the support to other educational venues.

“We’re making a push to revitalize it, because we recognize the need for a non-profit like this that is education based,” said Melissa Rea, director of programs and marketing for the chamber.

“We want to try to grow the fund, using the chamber workforce, to benefit education needs throughout the whole spectrum, including the trades and what services day cares may need,” she added. “We’re really looking at this as a tool to give back to the community in a useful way because education seems to be top of mind right now. It’s a great foundation with a wonderful purpose.”

Reaching out

The non-profit CAF started with a $20,000 grant from PG&E, and the chamber has maintained the fund through money raised at the dessert auction at its annual crab feed. As the chamber looks to expand CAF’s focus, the staff is reaching out to chamber members and the community at large for donations.

Acknowledging the competitive climate for non-profits, chamber president/CEO Kevin Cabral emphasized that 100 percent of all donations will be distributed locally – with the chamber providing labor costs.

Discovering needs

In lieu of scholarships this year, CAF started by donating $500 to Concord’s KinderCare to purchase headsets for online learning. Rea discovered the need through a conversation with a friend who works there.

“She told me she has 20 students in her class, and that’s 20 different teachers in 20 different schools – and the kids can’t hear because they don’t have earbuds,” Rea said.

As the CAF fund grows, the chamber hopes to help more local organizations.

“The idea would be to identify needs in the community, through all levels of education, and provide them support to try to solve their needs,” Rea said.

“Giving someone $500 is nice, but we’d really rather give them $5,000,” Cabral noted. “We’d like to have more money in there to make an impact.”

To make a donation to CAF or for more information, visit

Bev Britton
Bev Britton
Copy Editor at The Concord Clayton Pioneer |

Bev Britton graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Dakota and moved to the Bay Area with her soon-to-be husband Jim in 1986. She was features editor at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek before becoming managing editor of the Contra Costa Sun in Lafayette in 1995. She retired from newsrooms in 2001, but an ad for the Clayton Pioneer drew her back in. The family moved to Lake Wildwood in the Gold Country a few years ago - but working at the Pioneer keeps her in touch with her old neighborhoods in Concord and Clayton.