Profiles of Recent Grants


Through its grants program, the Farrington Historical Foundation funds a wide variety of projects and services in Santa Clara Valley.  Since 1998, we have distributed more than $3.6 million in community and director-designated grants to over 200 non-profit organizations.  Our annual endowment varies based on economic conditions.  In our 2018-2019 fiscal year, we gave a total of $200,000 in grants to 19 non-profit organizations that applied for fall and spring community grants. In addition, we awarded the Junior League of San Jose $20,000 in grant funds. Lastly, our directors awarded $33,000 in discretionary funds to 26 agencies of their choice.


Below are some snapshots of recent projects completed by Farrington grant recipients. Many of these projects illustrate Farrington's primary commitment to supporting art and culture, historic preservation, animal protection, and the environment.



San Jose Fire Museum – “The Engine That Saved San Jose” Educational Exhibit


Everyone has heard of California’s infamous 1906 earthquake, a 7.9 magnitude trembler that devastated San Francisco and resulted in fires that nearly annihilated that city. But San Francisco wasn’t the only scene of destruction. The quake jolted much of Northern California. The city of San Jose was also hard hit, first by the quake, then by the broken gas main fires that raced through downtown.


San Jose’s city center might well have been destroyed by fire if not for the valiant efforts of San Jose’s Franklin No. 3 fire brigade. The brave fire fighters were aided in their assault by a marvelous piece of fire fighting technology called the Amoskeag Steam Engine. Though their firehouse had burned to the ground, the men dragged the steam engine through the streets and fought the fires for three days until all blazes were extinguished.



The story of “the engine that saved San Jose” is now being told at the San Jose Fire Museum. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a restored 1890 Amoskeag steamer, which was recovered in pieces in a scrapheap and brought back to life by dedicated volunteers. With the help of a Farrington grant, the museum compiled pictorial panels documenting the 1906 quake and fire, as well as historic videos showing the engine at work and in use by a fire crew. This little unsung fire engine and the brave men who operated it saved our city. Farrington is proud to be a partner in helping to bring this piece of local history to life.




Ashworth-Remillard House – Roof Repairs


The Ashworth-Remillard House is an 1864 farm home built by Gold Rush pioneer John Ashworth on his 160-acre ranch in San Jose. In 1891, Ashworth sold the house and land to Pierre Remillard, owner of the Remillard Brick Company in Oakland. Remillard was attracted to the ranch because its creek beds contained abundant natural clay deposits. There, Remillard set up a brickworks and until the 1950s, the land provided clay to make millions and millions of pressed clay bricks, a popular building material used throughout the Bay Area.


Though listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976, the Ashworth-Remillard House fell into a state of serious disrepair over the years. It is now owned by an all-volunteer, tax-exempt organization whose goal is to restore the house and grounds for the community to use and enjoy.


A recent Farrington grant provided funds to repair the flat roof over the sunroom in the main house. The roof had been patched many times and was covered with tarps to keep out moisture and rain. Further, a large hive of bees had infiltrated a portion of the ceiling in the sunroom, causing further damage to the structure and threatening the interior of the house. 


Led by a local roofing contractor, a group of volunteers peeled off layers of asphalt roofing material and sailcloth, eventually exposing the roof’s understructure. They then applied a sealant and coated the roof with a waterproof, flexible membrane. As drainage is vital on a flat roof, they sloped the repair so that runoff goes down a drainpipe and away from the house’s foundation. Best of all, the project came in under budget. With remaining funds, the volunteers were also able to replace the kitchen roof and re-seal two exterior porch roofs.


Farrington applauds the determination and enthusiasm of the Ashworth-Remillard volunteers. Through their single-minded dedication, they are preserving an important remnant of our Valley’s historical heritage.  The restored sunroom now houses the visitor entrance to the historical house and a gift shop.





Santa Clara Women’s Club – The Historic Adobe Club House


“The Adobe,” home to the Santa Clara Women’s Club, is one of the oldest surviving adobe structures in Northern California.  Constructed around 1790, this building was once part of the Mission Santa Clara compound.  It was originally one of a group of small, two-room structures built to house married Native American couples that resided and worked at the Mission. 


By the mid-1800s, California's mission properties were gradually being decommissioned by the Norte Americanos.  California Governor Alvarado awarded the adobe and surrounding land to a settler named Jose Pena en lieu of back salary.  The adobe remained in the Pena family until 1911, when the last heir to the property passed away.  Soon offered for sale, the Santa Clara Women’s Club purchased the home and adjoining small parcel of land in 1913 for $350.


The Club has made numerous improvements to the property over the years including adding a large meeting

room, a commercial

kitchen, and

indoor bathrooms, replacing the tile roof, and artfully re-landscaping the surrounding garden.


However, improvements to the adobe walls within the historic structure were not made by contractors familiar with restoration of this fragile material.  As a result, over time the interior walls had started to crumble and the paint was flaking off. 


A grant from Farrington provided funding to hire specialists to properly restore and conserve the interior walls.  This work was completed during 2018.  Today the restored interior offers a glimpse into early California history and provides a welcoming home to the dedicated women of the Santa Clara Women’s Club.




The Ronald McDonald House at Stanford – Home Away from Home


The Ronald McDonald House at Stanford does such good work. Since 1979, the facility has provided a safe and warm home-away-from-home for families of children receiving life-saving treatments at local hospitals.


The “House” offers so many comforts for these families – cozy, hotel-style lodging, meals and snacks, laundry facilities, recreation areas, exercise rooms, transportation, baby sitting, counseling services, seasonal day camps, and even a one-room schoolhouse where the siblings of kids undergoing treatment can continue their education while away from home. All of this is provided for a nominal fee of $10 per night, or for free to those who cannot afford to pay. The Palo Alto center welcomes 123 families each night and is the largest RMD House in the world.



Farrington was pleased to help fund an on-going program at the House called Family Support Services. Headed by a licensed psychologist and staffed by doctoral students in clinical psychology, the program provides individual, couples, and family counseling to help resident families cope with the stress of their child’s serious illness.


The program also manages support groups, parent workshops, and weekly Fun Clubs.  These engage families in interactive activities that provide a sense of community and offer relief from the stress of experiencing medical crisis far from home. Further, for families that lose a child to illness, the grief and loss program provides on-going counseling support for up to 24 months after families leave the House.


In 2017, the Family Support program provided 3,600 hours of therapeutic help to families, an increase of more than 70 percent over the year before. Family feedback surveys rated this program “very important” in helping them to deal with their child's illness.




San Jose Museum of Art – Sowing Creativity


In addition to being a showcase for art, a major mission of the San Jose Museum of Art is nurturing creativity – particularly in youngsters. As school budgets for the arts have been cut in recent years, filling the arts education gap has become a major goal for the museum. Through its workshops, lectures, performances, art camps, and K-12 education programs, the museum is currently the largest provider of in-school arts education in Santa Clara Valley.


Launched in 2013, the award-winning Sowing Creativity visual arts residency program has become the cornerstone of the museum’s arts education. It conforms to California’s Common Core State Standards and seeks to promote creativity across disciplines. The program brings elementary school classroom teachers together with teaching artists from SJMA and science instructors from the Youth Science Institute to promote student creativity and success.


A Farrington grant helped fund development of a fifth-grade level course designed to interject creative learning and hands-on art making into elementary school’s science, math, and engineering curricula. Lessons such as “Can’t Live Without It,” for example, explore the intersection of art and engineering. Starting with the integrated role that engineering and art played in the construction of the ancient pyramids, students developed their own projects that combine both.


Over 1,200 4th through 6th graders from 44 classrooms throughout the Valley participated in the program last year. Student enthusiasm for the program was high. The kids had fun but at the same time learned valuable lessons about design, creative thinking, and time management. The museum plans to roll the program out to as many schools and grade levels as possible in the coming years.




The Tabard Theatre Company Setting the Stage 


“It’s expensive to care for a theatre in a building that is over 150 years old!” notes San Jose’s Tabard Theatre Company when describing their location in the old Farmer’s Union building on San Pedro Square. 


The Farmers Union building in 1874


The Farmers Union was established in 1874 at the corner of Santa Clara and San Pedro Streets to serve local farmers and ranchers as a one-stop shop for banking, groceries, hardware, and agricultural equipment. As ranching gave way to commerce in San Jose, the building was converted to office and retail space. Today the historic brick building houses a restaurant downstairs and the Tabard Theatre upstairs.


The Tabard Theatre is an open space with auditorium-style seating surrounding a quarter-round stage. The Company uses the theatre to stage a full season of theatrical and musical productions.



When not in use by Tabard, the theatre company leases the venue for private events including concerts, dance and music recitals, lectures, parties, and receptions.  


As part of our charter to preserve local history and support the arts, Farrington has been pleased to work with Tabard over the past five years to upgrade the theatre.  Our grant funds purchased new stage drapes, restored the exterior signage and lights in front of the theatre, and installed a high-tech lighting and audio-visual system in the auditorium.  These improvements greatly enhance Tabard’s own productions.  Equally important, they make the space much more desirable as a rental venue, bringing in vital additional revenue for this vibrant, local theatre company.    




The Triton Museum of Art Bringing Art Treasures to Light


Between 1968 and 1978, the Triton Museum of Art was fortunate to be gifted 48 paintings from the estate of California impressionist painter Theodore Wores. Mr. Wores was born in San Francisco in 1859 and called the Bay Area home for most of his life. Primarily a painter of outdoor scenes in the plein air style, he traveled the state capturing the beauty of our mountains, woodlands, and rural valleys. His luminous California works shimmer with color and light. His paintings can be found today in collections including those of the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Crocker Art Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the White House.



The Triton came to Farrington with a request to fund cleaning and restoration of 25 of the works in its collection. These paintings are a mix of oil paintings and watercolors painted in and near Santa Clara Valley between 1910 and 1930, depicting orchards, meadows, and mountain landscapes. Some works simply needed a light cleaning. Others required more thorough restoration including removal of dust, dirt, mold and discolored varnish, and canvas re-stretching. The goal was to mount a major local exhibition at the Triton to benefit Bay Area audiences, after which the paintings would be made available for tour to other museums throughout the United States.


Farrington provided two grants, first to fund the restoration of the collection, and second to prepare the collection for tour. Theodore Wores spent a lifetime capturing the expressive beauty of the lovely California landscape. Farrington was thrilled to be part of making these hidden treasures again available for people to contemplate, study, and enjoy.




Life Services Alternatives – Jordan-Bennett Residential Care 


Life Services Alternatives believes that everyone deserves to live the best life possible, especially the most vulnerable in our community. Particularly vulnerable are developmentally disabled adults who may have nowhere to go when their parents age and can no longer care for them. There are more than 6,000 of these special needs adults in Santa Clara County.  LSA’s mission is to provide a family-like, community living environment for as many of these folks as possible – a home where they receive not only 24/7 medical/therapeutic care, but also vital life skills training. Starting with a single residence in 2002, LSA has expanded to operate twelve licensed care homes located in residential neighborhoods throughout Santa Clara County.


Life Services Alternatives came to us with a request to help support the Residential Care Program at its Jordan Bennett home is Campbell, CA. This provides in-home services for residents including 24-hour staffing, medical care, and therapy. The life skills component teaches residents household management, finances, safety, interpersonal skills, and community living. Also included are outings and volunteer opportunities to increase independence, confidence, and sociability.



Residents that participated in this program gained increased confidence, self-esteem, and independence. They also gave back to the community by participating in volunteer programs at local food banks, community gardens, senior centers, libraries, and churches. Farrington was inspired that our grant helped these adults not only to “live the best life possible,” but to do so with pride and dignity.




Montalvo Arts Center – Art Barn Studio


The historic Villa Montalvo estate, located in Saratoga, California, was constructed in 1912–1914 by California statesman and businessman James Duval Phelan.  After Phelan's death, the entire property was donated to California as a park, and later became a cultural hub known today as Montalvo Arts Center. Many of the historic buildings on the property serve as venues for the classes, artist-in-residence programs, exhibitions, and performances that comprise Montalvo’s annual arts calendar.


One such building is Montalvo's barn art studio. Originally Senator Phelan's horse stable, the structure was a perfect location to create a spacious studio for art making.  Before that could happen, however, the 100-year-old building needed to be brought up to code through seismic renovations, floor repairs, and the addition of storage and work space.


Early photo of Senator Phelan's horse stable



A grant from Farrington helped fund the renovation of the historic barn. Aided by a crew of volunteers, a local contractor led the work of installing seismic support frames and railings, expanding the loft space, and smoothing out the dangerously uneven floor.


They also built storage cupboards and shelving to provide counter workspace and lots of room to store art supplies.  Because volunteers completed much of the demolition work, the overall cost of the project was reduced by $4,000.


In the spring of 2018, for the first time in six years, classes in printmaking, paper cutouts, and watercolor resumed in the barn. Youth summer art classes returned later that year. In its first year after renovation, over 675 kids and adults enjoyed arts education workshops in the newly refurbished space. Farrington was proud to team with Montalvo to further its mission of unleashing creativity through the arts.




Happy Hollow Zoo – Saving the Honey Bee Apiary


San Jose’s torrential flood on February 21, 2017 devastated hundreds of homes and up-turned the lives of those living along San Jose’s Coyote Creek flood plain.  In addition to human suffering, animals were not immune to the rising waters.  The Happy Hollow Zoo was hit badly by the storm, destroying zoo enclosures and forcing the evacuation of most animals to higher ground.  Sadly, the wonderful apiary that sits at the east edge of the zoo, right along the creek, was completely inundated by the flood.  The muddy, polluted water swept through the bee garden, killing an estimated 1 million honeybees and contaminating all of their beehives.


Because of our orchard heritage, Farrington feels a special bond with honeybees.  The fruit trees that originally grew on the Kirk-Farrington ranch would not have flourished without these vital pollinators.  So we were very happy to be able to assist in the rebuilding of the honeybee apiary at Happy Hollow Zoo through a Farrington community grant. 


Led by beekeeper extraordinaire Steve Demkowski, a team of dedicated volunteers swooped in to clean up the mess and rebuild the bee habitat.  Local businesses donated new hives, lumber, and building supplies to support the effort.  The volunteers worked tirelessly for several months to remove the debris and build a bigger and better home for the bees.  


By June 2017, a lovely new bee garden was in place.  Besides dozens of hives happily buzzing with bees, the apiary features a meandering path that winds through a garden filled with carefully-chosen plants that attract and nourish honeybees. 


Farrington was proud to support this community effort that not only restored a precious agricultural resource, but provides a learning environment for local school classes and 4-H kids, and a source of support (through sales of the Zoo’s “Gorilla Honey”) for the Mountain Gorilla reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo.




Silicon Valley Pet Project – Dudley


Dudley was discovered wandering in San Jose – lost, dirty, matted, and totally emaciated.  Taken to the San Jose Animal Care Shelter, he was quickly scooped up by a volunteer from Silicon Valley Pet Project (SVPP).  The forelorn look in his eyes was irresistible.  She knew she had to save him.


Since 2014, SVPP’s volunteers have rescued, fostered, and found homes for hundreds of stray or abandoned dogs and cats.  This extremely professional organization is comprised of dedicated teams focused on animal rescue, foster parenting, animal rehabilitation, marketing, communications, volunteer management, program development, and administration.  In addition to rescuing young, healthy animals, somewhat unique to SVPP's mission is the rescue of elderly and health-risk animals, those more difficult to place in homes because of old age, illness, or disabilities.


Which brings us back to Dudley.  After several weeks of foster care and a battery of medical tests, Dudley’s vets determined that he was emaciated due to a medical condition called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI).  This is a life-threatening inability to properly digest food due to a lack of digestive enzymes made by the pancreas.  Dudley's body was literally starving him to death.  The good news is that this condition is treatable through medical care, a strict special diet, supplemental pancreatic enzymes, and TLC.  Dudley’s transformation was slow but steady, thanks to the loving care of his vet team and his amazing foster mom.  The miserable, bedraggled dog that could barely lift his head when found, slowly doubled his weight, gained back his energy, and became a lively, barky little cutie.  And -- happy endings -- he found a loving, forever family with two active, young boys, who absolutely adore Dudley!


Such special care to a sick animal comes at a cost – in Dudley’s case over $5,000 in vet bills.  Farrington was very happy to help fund Dudley’s medical care through one of our director grants.  A life-long dog-lover, our benefactor Mrs. Farrington would have been so pleased to see our grant funds help special-needs foster pets like darling Dudley!




Christmas in the Park – Holiday Wonderland


Christmas in the Park is an annual holiday tradition that takes place in the heart of Downtown San José at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez. For over 30 years, this whimsical event has brought people from all over the Bay Area together during the holidays.


Each year, the two-acre park is transformed into a holiday fantasy with over 60 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights, and the 60-foot Community Giving Tree.  Some of the original displays include a melting snowman, caroling mice, and elf woodcrafters.  Guests enter a winter wonderland of lights, songs and local entertainment while strolling through an enchanted forest of trees decorated by San José schools, community groups, and businesses.  And Santa Claus and his elves are always on hand in their North Pole workshop to collect everyone’s Christmas lists.


Christmas in the Park is a free event, open to the entire community, with a simple mission:  to bring “A Gift of Joy and Magic” to everyone.  The event is produced by the Christmas in the Park non-profit organization.  It relies entirely on donations and grants to keep this San Jose tradition alive.  The Farrington Historical Foundation has been pleased to help fund this wonderful event that touches so many members of our community at holiday time.




San Jose History Park — Empire Firehouse Renovation


One of the most recognizable buildings at San Jose History Park is the stately Empire Firehouse.  This building is a reconstruction of San Jose’s first fire department headquarters — the Empire Engine Company #1 — which was located at 375 Second Street from 1869 until it was lost to a blaze that consumed several city blocks in 1892.  


The upstairs rooms of the History Park firehouse have hosted school programs, meetings, and events for many years, but the 2,000 sq. ft. downstairs engine room has been used mainly for storage.  A partnership with the San Jose Fire Museum presented an opportunity to develop an interactive educational and museum space at the Park, and Farrington was excited to help fund the renovation of the engine room for this purpose.



Farrington board members and History Park president Alida Bray
check out an antique fire truck in the restored engine room


Our grant funds paid for cleaning and painting the engine room interior, as well as installation of heat and climate control systems.  The formerly cold, dark storage area is now a spacious, bright room, ready for occupancy.  History San Jose plans to dedicate half of the space to showcase rotating exhibits of antique fire trucks and fire fighting equipment/artifacts from the San Jose Fire Museum collection.  The other half of the building will house interactive teaching and information exhibits on fire safety.  Every year, scores of grade school classes and thousands of park visitors tour the firehouse.  The bright, new engine room will invite visitors to have fun while learning important fire safety lessons that might someday save property and lives.




The California Pioneers of Santa Clara Valley —

Roberto-Sunol Adobe and “Laura Ville” 


The Roberto-Sunol adobe and adjacent “Laura Ville” home, located on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen, are historic structures built during California’s Spanish and Mexican colonial periods (1776-1846).  Luckily, the families that have owned the buildings throughout the years appreciated their historic significance and protected them as well as their personal finances permitted.  Special credit goes to Mr. John Bruzzone, Sr. who, after acquiring the property in 1973, embarked on a series of historically-accurate restoration projects and saved both structures forever by registering them as historic landmarks.


The Laura Ville House after receiving a fresh coat of paint


To continue his mission of protecting the property, Mr. Bruzzone’s heirs began a search for a group that would properly conserve it, and ideally make it available to those interested in local history. In 2013, they chose the California Pioneers of Santa Clara Valley, a 450-person organization dedicated to the research, education, and preservation of the heritage of our state.  Thrilled to relocate its headquarters to an historic landmark and have a place to showcase their collection of early California artifacts, the Pioneers gratefully accepted the Brussone bequest.  The house and adobe now function as a museum, with exhibits focusing on the early history of Santa Clara Valley, especially the Native America, Spanish, and Mexican eras. 


Much work needs to be done to bring the buildings up to museum standards.  A recent Farrington grant funded part of a five-year capital improvement project for overall restoration of both structures.  Our funds paid a paint crew to prep and paint the exterior of the “Laura Ville” house to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for historic properties, a critical step to insure that the old clapboard building is protected from the elements for years to come.




City of Campbell — Interpretative Plaques


The history of Campbell, California — birthplace of our benefactor Dorothy B. Farrington — is being told “on the streets,” thanks in part to a recent Farrington grant. 


For some time now, members of the Campbell Historic Preservation Board have been working on a project to install interpretative plaques on structures of historical significance throughout downtown Campbell.  These plaques provide a brief history of the building or location, with the aim of educating locals about the rich and interesting history of their community.  The plaques are even tagged in the lower right corner with a QR barcode, which can be scanned by mobile phone users wishing to learn more.



Our funds enabled the board to create and install five new plaques providing historical background on the Courtyard Shopping Center, the Campbell Union Grammar School, the Growers National Bank, the Lena Swope French House, and the Serafino Manfre House. 




Good Karma Bikes — Transition to College Program


Good Karma Bikes is a full-service bicycle repair and sales shop — with a mission.  Their core belief is that reliable personal transportation is key to transforming the lives of low income and homeless individuals.  For every bike that Good Karma sells at the shop, they donate one free bike to a needy individual.  The goal is to help lift people from poverty by providing a dependable way to get to job interviews and to work.  



The Good Karma gang . . . ready to roll


Good Karma also believes that ending poverty starts early.  Their Transitional Age Youth (TAY) to College Program works with former foster and other disadvantaged youth, ages 18-26, to teach life and job skills needed to survive in the adult world. The kids attend a 16-month program to learn bicycle mechanics, customer service, sales, and e-commerce training before working part-time in the shop and enrolling in college. Once in college, they return as peer-mentors to a new group of participants.  Through working at the bike shop, the students learn business operations and engage in philanthropic activities such as fixing bikes for homeless and very poor individuals, and distributing free bikes.


A recent Farrington grant provided funds for Good Karma to set up a learning lab for TAY students.  The lab is fully equipped with a repair workstation and all the professional tools needed for expert bicycle repair.  To date, 10 youth been trained at this station.  Eight of these kids have gone on to college, and the other two are scheduled to start school next term.  Good Karma provides training, job skills, employment, and coaching to give these young people the boost they need to make it on their own in the future.




One Step Closer Therapeutic Riding Children of Fallen Soldiers


One Step Closer (OSC) of Morgan Hill, California provides horse-assisted therapy to children and adults with special needs, and to U.S. military veterans and their families.  Since 2006, OSC trainers and volunteers have provided thousands of hours of horseback riding sessions to participants with developmental disorders, traumatic injuries, and to military veterans recovering from PTSD. 


An off-shoot program called Children of Fallen Soldiers serves kids who have lost a parent in combat.  Riding the horses provides comfort for these children and helps build confidence to deal with the fear, anxiety, stress, isolation, and depression that come with the grief of their parent’s death.


A recent Farrington grant helped kick start the Children of Fallen Soldiers program with a special day at the OSC ranch, which hosted 18 Gold Star families and 20 children.  The U.S. Army Honor Guard formally ushered the


families onto the ranch where they enjoyed a day full of fun activities, horse back riding, and a catered barbeque dinner. The ranch atmosphere provided the families a safe, spacious environment where they could enjoy family activities together and be supported by other military families and veterans. 


Our funding also sponsored a week long summer camp attended by the Gold Star children, and a private Christmas screening of The Polar Express movie at the Granada Theatre in Morgan Hill.  The Farrington Historical Foundation is proud to honor and support these families who have sacrificed so much for us all.




Via Services West — Greenhouse


The Via Services West campus, located in the foothills above Cupertino, is a 13.5-acre mountain retreat nestled in the redwoods.  The beautiful facility, run like a weekend and summer camp, provides residential programs for special needs “campers” all year round.  Activities include both indoor learning and outdoor experiences.  The curriculum helps these young adults develop independent living skills through activities specifically designed to improve confidence and self-sufficiency.


Now, there’s nothing like being out in nature all day to make you hungry — and Via West feeds the campers very well.  A gourmet chef prepares hearty, healthy meals for the kids, which are served up in the camp’s spacious dining room.  As much as possible, produce and herbs from the Via West’s own gardens are used in the recipes.  



Farrington board members and volunteers celebrate

the grand opening of the new Via West greenhouse



Campers paint clay pots

to prepare for the spring planting season


The link between good nutrition and health is key to the Via philosophy.  Via hoped to add gardening and horticulture to its roster of outdoor programs through the addition of a new greenhouse to the Via Campus. 


In the greenhouse, the campers would learn to grow and tend seedlings, then participate in planting them in the outdoor gardens.  Harvests of summer crops would provide healthful ingredients for their meals. 


Farrington was very pleased to help fund this building, which was constructed by a crew of dedicated volunteers and sponsors. The greenhouse was completed on October 2015, and will serve as a learning lab and source of nutritional food for many years to come.




Saratoga Historical Foundation — One-Room Schoolhouse


The Saratoga Historical Foundation preserves the unique history of Saratoga for the education and enjoyment of the community.  Their “one-room school house” program meets California standards for teaching local history to third and fourth graders.  The children don period dress and are taught by a “school marm,” in the style of the 19 th century.  A Farrington grant allowed SHF to make the program even more authentic by funding the conversion of an old shed on the property into an historically accurate one-room schoolhouse.  The building showcases the museum's collection of 19th century educational tools, is used for classroom for instruction, and immerses children and visitors in the experience of what it was like to go to school in rural America in the 1800s.





Sunnyvale Historical Society & Museum Historic Piano Restoration


Martin Murphy, Jr. was an early pioneer who crossed the plains to California in 1844 and founded what is now the City of Sunnyvale.  In 1850, he ordered a home milled to his specifications in Bangor, Maine, then had it shipped around the Horn and assembled in Sunnyvale.  This was the first frame house in the area and was continuously lived in by members of the Murphy family until it was given to the City of Sunnyvale in 1950.  The house was designated a State Historical Landmark in 1958, but unfortunately had to be demolished in 1961 due to extensive damage following a fire.  In 2002, to honor this distinguished citizen, the City provided land at the Orchard Heritage Park as well as a grant to build a replica of the Murphy house.  That house, completed in 2008, is now the headquarters of the Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum.



One of the original furnishings of the home is a Four-Square Grand Piano, circa 1840.  Over the years, the internal works of the piano had deteriorated to the point where it was barely usable.  A grant from the Farrington Historical Foundation helped fund the repair and restoration of this historic treasure by Nilson Piano Restoration.  The gleaming piano again sits proudly in the Murphy home drawing room, where visitors will be able to enjoy its beautiful music — provided by volunteer pianists — for many years to come. 




Village HarvestHarvesting Heritage Orchards


Village Harvest is a volunteer organization that harvests extra fruit from backyards and small orchards throughout the Bay Area, and then passes it along to local food agencies to help feed the hungry in the community.  Since 2001, volunteers have harvested over 1.5 million pounds of fruit, which resulted in more than 4 million servings of nutritious food that might otherwise have gone to waste.  Village Harvest recently launched a new project to harvest 30 small historic, non-commercial orchards throughout the Santa Clara Valley.  Most of these heritage orchards, located primarily in public lands such as open space districts, city parks, and state parks, have gone un-harvested for years.  Village Harvest hoped to make them productive again by capturing their fruit for the needy.  Given the Kirk-Farrington family’s long history as Valley orchardists, this grant complemented the Foundation’s historic mission very well.  Our grant underwrote the planning and coordination for large-scale harvesting of the historic orchards by hundreds of volunteers and brought thousands of pounds of cherries, apples, plums, and pears to our local food banks.  Harvesting highlights included gleaning a 150-year old apple orchard that was planted during the Gold Rush, picking cherries in the Guadualupe Historic Orchard, and visiting with the 95-year old owner of a heritage apricot orchard that dates back to earlier days in the Valley of Heart's Delight. 



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