Business / Economy

“Thank you night” celebrates a solid year of financial growth for BenitoLink

Community supported, online nonprofit news organization celebrates another year of growth and its establishment in the community as a trusted news source.
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BenitoLink hosted donors and sponsors Sept. 29 at the San Benito County Historical Park’s dance hall with food, beverages and enjoyable jazz from the Moondance Band.

For the second year, board members, staff and the team of photographers and reporters who produce local news and information for San Benito County readers put time aside to thank those who make it happen. About 50 financial supporters gathered for several local wines including Alesio Carli's Alicat, Tuscan-themed appetizers by Thyme Catering and what showed to be the hugely popular “25 ‘Til Infinity” by local Brewery 25. Thyme owners Sarah and Shaun McFall put out a variety of heavy appetizers, all described in Italian like caprese salad, a bean spread on Suncoast bakery bread and pork with a delicious San Benito Pinot Noir sauce. BenitoLink and San Benito County residents are so lucky to have these great fresh, local food and drink producers and we appreciate their consistent generosity to community based news.

Executive Director Leslie David reviewed several 2018 achievements with the crowd, stressing that none of the achievements could have been done without donors and sponsors. Their support, along with individual donations and grants from the Community Foundation for San Benito County, United Way and NewsMatch, is an essential part of the site’s financial stability.

BenitoLink Board of Directors Rohit Sharma, Lois Locci, Bob Marden and Karminder Brown introduced and welcomed new board member Raul Ceja. He grew up in San Benito County and currently works for the Silicon Valley Hispanic Foundation. As BenitoLink has grown, the board needs to continue growing with it. Anyone interested in learning more about the BenitoLink Board of Directors or committee positions can contact Leslie David at [email protected]

Content Manager Nicholas Preciado spoke of the expanded staff with a focus on bringing in local reporters and team members. Executive Director Leslie David spoke of training in investigative reporting and additional help from BenitoLink copy editor Paul Hersh.

Everyone appreciated the good vibes from Moondance Band, which somehow managed to fit in a third gig that same night.

“I never played that many gigs when I was doing it full-on professionally,” said Rich Haggett, who originally got the band going in Saratoga back in 1976.  Haggett moved to San Benito and since then the group of musicians have come back together playing Tuesdays at Mangia. With the band’s rebirth and growing popularity, they are busy traveling back and forth between San Benito and Santa Clara counties for gigs.

The Thank You Night was held at both the Historical Park’s Dance Hall and the old bar next door, which once sat at the corner of San Felipe and Wright Road in Hollister. BenitoLink board member Karminder Brown and her husband Randy handled beverages in the authentic saloon. They were pouring the recently released “25 ‘Til Infinity” by Brewery 25.  The hazy IPA consistently got great reviews by our beer samplers. Brewery 25 has opened up a tasting room in San Juan Bautista, and recently expanded their hours to Fridays and Saturdays until 8:00 p.m. For more information, check out their Facebook page.

Specific thanks went out to 2018 major individual donors Randy and Rebecca Wolf, Hugh and Jackie Bikle, Sallie Calhoun and Matt Christiano and substantial family donations made by the Sharma family combined.

Huge sunflowers provided by BenitoLink florist friend Maria Philbin brightened up the tables, setting the early fall mood. Professional photographers Lisa Robinson, Rene Rodriguez and John Chadwell exhibited personal work, in addition to pieces published previously on BenitoLink.

Special appreciation also goes out to Suncoast Bakery for providing their beautiful bread, Postal Graphics for their help producing the annual report and the photo exhibit, Brigantinos for their award-winning olive oil, and the Historical Society for the use of their one-of-a kind facility.

The local nonprofit news organization's largest fundraiser, Pledge of Champions, is off to a great start thanks to the national NewsMatch campaign supporting news websites like BenitoLink. Pledge of Champions will begin Nov.1 and go through the end of the year. NewsMatch, which supports local nonprofit news will be providing the opportunity for donors to match $25,000 and BenitoLink will be announcing the total match figure in the next few weeks.

2018 BenitoLink Sponsors:

  • Anderson Homes
  • Bianchi, Kasavan, & Pope
  • Breen Law Firm
  • Calvista Insurance Agency
  • Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital 
  • Heritage Bank
  • Marilyn Ferreira-Intero Real Estate 
  • Karey Grimsley-Intero Real Estate 
  • Monterey Bay Green Business
  • Pet Friends
  • Ranchers Feed
  • RJR Recycling
  • San Benito County Fair
  • San Benito Medical Associates
  • San Benito Realty
  • San Juan Oaks Golf Club
  • SBC Eyecare
  • Stonebridge Homes
  • Teknova
  • Thyme Catering 
  • True Value
  • United Way
  • Vivian Investment Partners
  • Water Resources Association of San Benito County

BenitoLink Donors ($1-99)

  • Amalia Ellis BenitoLink Donors ($1-99)
  • Amara Marshall
  • Ann Caetano
  • Archer Walters
  • Bradley Shirakawa
  • Charisse Tyson
  • Daniel and Denise Cauthen Wright
  • David and Robin Pollard
  • Debra Scherer
  • Denise Louie
  • Devii Rao
  • Edward DeGroot
  • George Fendler
  • George Lewis
  • Hugh and Jackie Bikle
  • J. and R. Bessa
  • Jean Weinhardt
  • Jennifer Westphal
  • Jerry Magorian
  • Jim Parker
  • Julie Filizetti
  • K Modic
  • Karson Klauer
  • Kathryn Flores
  • Kenneth Kovanda, DDS
  • Krista Van Laan
  • Kristy Buchard
  • Lori Arnold
  • Louk Markham
  • Lynn Overtree
  • Marianne Gennis
  • Martin Bress
  • Mary Margaret Lanning
  • Masten Edwards
  • Mindy Sotelo
  • Mission Village Voice
  • Paul Hain
  • Ramona Koch
  • Randall Brown
  • Reena Sharma
  • Rene Marie Faught
  • Rhoda Bress
  • Ria Macedo-Byrne
  • Robert & Esther Curtice
  • Roseanne Guibert
  • Rosemary Kley
  • Sara Steiner
  • Sasha Magee
  • Scott Richards
  • Sharlene Van Rooy
  • Sophie Schwabacher
  • Sue Cross
  • Susan Steiger
  • Tad & Karen Coatsworth
  • Teresa & Aurelio Zuniga
  • Teresa Lavagnino
  • Therese Cook
  • Thomas Breen
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Vickie Morris
  • Vince and Ann Fata
  • Virginia Basgall
  • Wanda Guibert
  • Will Schwabacher
  • William Meiggs

BenitoLink Donors ($100-999)

  • Andrew Shelton
  • Ann Ross
  • Anne Hall
  • Artesia Anderson
  • Beverley Meamber
  • Bob & Kathy Tiffany
  • Carlos Rivera
  • Carol Lenoir
  • Charles Tobias
  • Christine Breen
  • Claudia Fisher
  • Craig Barton
  • Dana Cleary
  • Daniel Dungy
  • Daniel Wright
  • David & Robin Pollard
  • Debra Scherer
  • Devii Rao
  • Dohn Larson
  • Frances Dinkelspiel
  • Franz & Mary Schneider
  • Gary & Ria Byrne
  • George Ball
  • Gonzalo Correa
  • Harriet Brin
  • Hollister Downtown Association
  • Jack Murphy
  • Jackson & Leslie Schwabacher
  • Jean Lierly
  • Jim Parker
  • ​​​​​​​Julie Filizetti
  • Karminder & Randy Brown
  • Kathina Szeto
  • Kathleen King
  • ​​​​​​​Leon & Janet Mayou
  • Margaret Correa
  • Margret Ellwanger
  • Marie & Gregg Hoffman
  • Martin & Joyce Richman
  • Michael Anderson
  • Michael Dobler
  • Michael Smith
  • Morris Grassfed Beef
  • Pam & Ray Pelland
  • ​​​​​​​Patrick Mullen
  • Pfizer
  • Philip Fortino
  • ​​​​​​​Ramona Koch
  • Rebecca Medeiros
  • ​​​​​​​Rebecca Salinas
  • Robert Marden
  • Robin Lucas
  • Safehouse Web
  • Sally Silva
  • Sandy & George Rose
  • Sara Steiner
  • Sarah McFall
  • Scott Kindred
  • Sharon Scagliotti
  • Sonia Sharma
  • Sonya Taylor
  • T O Cattle Company
  • Teresa Lavagnino
  • Thomas Walerius
  • Tiffany Motors
  • Tom Walerius Fund
  • United Way of Santa Cruz
  • Valerie Egland
  • Will & Lisa Sutton

BenitoLink Donors ($1,000- 1,999)

  • Alan Clark
  • Anne & Richard Morris
  • Christine Breen
  • ​​​​​​​Fernando Gonzalez
  • Heritage Bank of Commerce
  • Julie & Joe Morris
  • Kathleen King​​​​​​​
  • Marilyn Ferreira
  • Martha Schwabacher
  • ​​​​​​​Paul Levy
  • Peggy Pierce
  • Rebecca & Randy Wolf
  • Susan & Jefferey Modic
  • Ted & Irene Davis
  • Theo Schwabacher
  • True Leaf Farms
  • Wiliam & Lisa Sutton​​​​​​​

BenitoLink Donors ($2,000- 4,999)

  • Anderson Family Foundation
  • Anita & Mike Cullinan
  • Bob & Crystel Bianchi
  • Bob Stratton
  • David and Gerry Wright
  • ​​​​​​​Kay Filice
  • Larry & Diane Barr
  • Lois Locci
  • Nazhat Sharma M.D.
  • Rohit Sharma
  • Schwabacher Family Fund
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • Susan & Jeff Modic

BenitoLink Major Donors and Grants  ($5,000- 15,000)

  • Robert and Crystel Bianchi
  • Christiano Family Fund
  • Hugh and Jackie Bikle
  • Randy and Rebecca Wolf Family Fund
  • Community Foundation for San Benito County
  • James R. and John L. Knight Foundation
  • Institute for Nonprofit News- (NewsMatch18)


BenitoLink Staff