Dear Readers of the Bakersfield News Observer:

Since 2016, Give Big Kern has been observed locally on the first Tuesday in May as “One Day to Celebrate the Giving Spirit of Kern County!” 

A nonprofit strengthening initiative of Kern Community Foundation, Give Big Kern helps participating nonprofits increase their visibility, capacity and sustainability through a highly publicized online fundraising effort that allows them to raise unrestricted funds while growing their donor and volunteer support base. The campaign is absolutely FREE: Kern Community Foundation’s gift to the nonprofit community. 

While May 7 is the BIG day to give, the website has been accepting donations since April 7, and we hope you will want to join in the fun of giving to a cause you care about.  

This year, thanks to a wonderful partnership with the Bakersfield News Observer, we are highlighting several participating agencies that are either African-American-led, or whose fundraising efforts involve leadership from members of the Black community. 

This week we are proud to feature the Bakersfield Senior Center, Rebuilding Together Kern County, and the Wendale Davis Foundation. We celebrate Black leaders’ efforts that are as diverse as helping older adults fight diabetes; rebuilding homes for seniors, veterans and disabled persons in need; and raising awareness about gun violence, as well as helping victims of violence and their families.  

As you read the following brief profiles and fundraising appeals of these nonprofits, please consider donating to any one of them, or to the more than 120 other charitable organizations participating in Give Big Kern. Find your passion and give!

Simply go to, search for an organization you would like to support and click the “Donate” button on their page. It’s that simple. The minimum donation is $5. All moneys donated go straight to that organization.

If you prefer to give of your time and talents to any one of these nonprofits, find the “Volunteering” option on the drop-down menu on the home page. Fill out the online volunteer form, and pledge volunteer hours to the nonprofit of your choice. That agency will contact you after Give Big Kern Day. 

Let’s all come together as a community to support our hard-working nonprofits!

Thank you!

Louis Medina, Director of Community Impact, Kern Community Foundation

By Lilli Parker, Executive Director
Bakersfield Senior Center’s mission is to help improve the health and well-being of seniors and veterans by reducing hunger and isolation, and by providing them access to better health services and programs so they can age in their homes with dignity. 

We offer a Lunch Nutrition Program that is FREE to seniors 60 and older, a FREE six-week Diabetes Program, a wide range of exercise activities, health & nutrition education programs and food demonstrations. 

This is our second year participating in Give Big Kern and we want to raise $20,000 to replace the 30- year-old roof over our dining hall where all our events and activities take place. We don’t want our congregates to stay home for fear of the soaked ceiling tiles falling down upon them. 

We will be hosting an Open House at 530 4th Street on Tuesday, May 7th, from 9 a.m.  to 2 p.m. Any questions, please visit Please donate to us on our page on 

 Lilli Parker (Right), Bakersfield Senior Center Executive Director.
Lilli Parker (Right), Bakersfield Senior Center Executive Director.

By Greg Collins, President
Rebuilding Together Kern County is the local affiliate of Rebuilding Together, a national nonprofit whose mission is “Repairing homes, revitalizing communities, and rebuilding lives” at NO COST to those in need.  Last year, throughout the country, over 30,000 volunteers donated 230,000 hours to this cause.

This is our second year participating in Give Big Kern. Last year we received just over $2,500.  This year we are hoping to increase that amount.  We are also always looking for both skilled and unskilled volunteers to work with us to repair and make safe the homes of seniors, veterans and disabled persons.

As we prepare for Give Big Kern Day, May 7, we will have completed our annual Rebuilding Together Day project April 27, 2019.  This years’ project is the Barraza’s, a Gold Star Family.  The Barraza’s son, Staff Sgt. Ricardo “Ricky” Barraza paid the ultimate price when in 2006 he was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Visit our website,, or our page on

 Greg Collins (Foreground), Rebuilding Together Kern County.
Greg Collins (Foreground), Rebuilding Together Kern County.


By Denise Davis, Chief Operations Officer

The Wendale Davis Foundation is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit that provides prevention and intervention services to victims of violence and their families—both youth and adults.  Our organization was founded by my father, Wesley Davis, as a response to the tragedy of my 16-year-old brother, Wendale, who lost his life from a gunshot to his face fired by unknown assailants on April 23, 2006. We are asking for donations to support our after-school and mentoring programs, our outreach events to continue to raise awareness about gun violence, and also our efforts to offer assistance to victims of violence. Our website is Please donate to us on our page on 

 Wendale Davis
Wendale Davis
 Denise Davis (Left), Wendale Davis Foundation Chief Operations Officer.
Denise Davis (Left), Wendale Davis Foundation Chief Operations Officer.