Summit League chose the Bill Wilson Center (BWC) as the beneficiary of their 2021 Spring Event fundraiser. Summit League’s goal was to raise funds to assist in the building of a much-needed drop-in shelter facility, but in March of 2020, the Bay Area went into an unprecedented lock down, Shelter-in-Place order. Bill Wilson Center was faced with a growing and excessive need to help those in our community who had lost their support infrastructure.  At the same time, Summit League began to understand the impact of the pandemic and decided in would need to cancel the 2021 Spring Event due to future uncertainties. In lieu of a community fundraiser, the Leagues members and sustaining members together, quietly raised and donated $150,000.00 to San Jose’s Bill Wilson Center.   

Bill Wilson Center provides services to more than 4,950 children, youth, young adults, and families in Santa Clara County through various programs. Additionally, BWC reaches more than 30,000 clients through its Street Outreach and crisis line programs. While some businesses closed their doors, Bill Wilson Center was committed to continuing to provide shelter, food, counseling, educational support, and basic needs such as clothing, hygiene supplies, health care, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to homeless youth and families.

There were many needs that arose for BWC’s young clients during the pandemic.  At the onset it was access to food, but then it became how to continue their education when school campuses were closed.  Thanks to the generosity of Summit League and other community donors, Bill Wilson Center was able to provide chromebooks, earbuds, school supplies, and internet access at our shelters and for students in our homelessness prevention programs (those who were on the brink of becoming homeless). 

For homeless youth in our community, day-to-day living is tough.  It’s full of challenges that no young person should have to face.  Add to that a global pandemic, and youth may feel they have nowhere to turn.  

For youth accessing their Drop-In Center (those who were still living on the street when the pandemic hit), Bill Wilson Center provided them with a place to wash and sanitize, a place to access COVID tests and later COVID vaccinations, and a place to receive masks, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, and gloves.  Even today, Bill Wilson Center is still providing disposable masks and hand sanitizers to youth at the Drop-In Center!

“Thanks to the support of Summit League, Bill Wilson Center remained an essential service that continued to function, and in some cases expand, while meeting the 24/7 needs of homeless youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you, Summit League for enabling Bill Wilson Center to continue our mission of ending youth and family homelessness in Santa Clara County.”

~Chief Community Resources Officer, Pilar Furlong