In what’s traditionally known as the season of giving, Campbell civil engineering firm Sandis just shifted its priorities a bit about whom it should be giving to this year, and that’s an example lots of Bay Area companies could be following.

Normally at this time of year, the company would be preparing to send holiday gift baskets — worth $250 to $300 each — filled with Scotch, tequila, cookies and other goodies to its construction clients and design partners. Instead, the company decided to donate the thousands of dollars it would have spent on each of the gifts to Hunger at Home, which has ramped up its efforts to supply meals to the hungry since the pandemic started.

“This year with the pandemic and the food insecurity we’re seeing with our neighbors in the Bay Area we thought it would be a good time to pivot away from gifts we typically give our clients and donate to a cause that helps feed people who are more food insecure,” Sandis Vice President Laura Cabral said at an event held Wednesday morning at Hunger at Home’s headquarters.

Hunger at Home CEO Ewell Sterner said “gifting pivots” like this one are even more important with most of the Bay Area back in a stay-at-home situation and restaurants — no longer allowed to serve outdoors — likely to lay off staff soon. He says the $300 spent on a gift basket will provide 60 meals.

When you think of all the company holiday parties that aren’t happening this year, you’ve got to think that money could go a long way.

NUMU GETS A NEW LEADER: Santa Cruz resident Ami Davis — who has worked at various California museums for the past 22 years as an educator, curator and fundraiser — will take the reins at New Museum Los Gatos on Jan. 1. She succeeds Maureen Cappon-Javey, who spent two years as the museum’s executive director and will continue to serve on its board.

Davis comes on board as NUMU is preparing for a few new initiatives in the coming year, including the recently launched Los Gatos History Project and the 10th anniversary of the ArtNow Santa Clara County High School juried art exhibition. She’ll also be working to expand NUMU’s public programs, including a selection of virtual events like its Meet the Artist series, Coffee Tawk to Go and virtual exhibit tours.

Not everything’s waiting until 2021, though. The museum’s inaugural benefit exhibition, “Art in the Time of Corona,” which launches Friday and runs through March 6, tackles the issues of isolation that we’ve been sharing. The exhibition, juried by curator and gallerist Craig Krull, is on display in the NUMU galleries and virtually at

GROUNDBREAKING CHOICE: Susana Inda will be sworn in as president of the Santa Clara County Bar Association in January, making her the first Latina to hold the position in the organization’s 148-year history. A graduate of Thomas Jefferson School of Law, Inda is a staff attorney for the Valley Transportation Authority and previously served as president of La Raza Lawyers of Santa Clara County.

TRIBUTE TO VETERANS: For the fourth year, Los Gatos Memorial Park cemetery will be one of the sites for Wreaths Across America, a nationwide event Dec. 19 during which evergreen wreaths will be placed at the graves of veterans. Last year, more than 2,500 wreaths were donated and placed on headstones in Los Gatos, where there are 2,800 veterans’ graves.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place this year, the 11 a.m. ceremony will not be open to the public or to volunteers, but it will be streamed online. More information and a link to the stream is available at


By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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