Children and Youth

COLUMN: Refer a Child, Help Make a Difference

The Martin Rajkovich Children’s Fund (MRCF) has been helping critically or chronically ill children in San Benito County since 2007.

This article was contributed by Community Foundation for San Benito County President Gary Byrne. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

Martin Rajkovich was a very caring man, with a wish to bring joy and comfort to children and their families, and statistics for children with medical complexities demonstrate a great need in our community., a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation, includes information on how children with special needs are faring in California. In 2015, about 3 percent of California children had major disabilities including serious impairments in vision, hearing, walking, cognition, or self-care.

From 2011 to 2015, 420 children in San Benito County were affected by a major disability and enrolled in California Children’s Services. This state program assists families with income less than $40,000 or with out-of-pocket medical expenses of more than 20 percent of family income. The Martin Rajkovich Children's Fund (MRCF) is designed to support these families, helping to provide their children with a better quality of life.

Do you know a child (under 19 years old) who needs support with special equipment, accessories, transportation, or Make-A-Wish arrangements? What about therapeutic treatment, family counseling, or respite care? The Community Foundation has a referral form that can be used to bring that special child to our attention.

Many success stories have occurred through previous referrals. MRCF has assisted children like Ashley Laurie with the installation of a hydraulic lift for the family van. Nicholas Archdeacon enjoyed a “Wish Trip” to Legoland. Brothers Emilio and Marcus Garcia received 12 months of physical and water therapy as directed by their physician. Our community is very fortunate to have this fund available with such a wide range of benefits for families.

With your help, the Community Foundation will continue to preserve Martin’s dream of bringing joy to children with special needs. You can find more information by visiting A link to the referral form is below.

The Community Foundation would like to thank Jacob’s Heart for assistance with some of the information in this article. They have been serving children with cancer in San Benito County for nearly 20 years and are a very knowledgeable group.

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President Gary Byrne

Gary Byrne is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation for San Benito County. Gary has over 25 years of nonprofit development and management experience. He is a native of Dublin, Ireland and lives in Santa Cruz with his wife and two children.