Grey Bears

Connect Sustain Recycle

Santa Cruz, CA   |


Grey Bears improves the health and well being of seniors and our community through food distribution, volunteerism, resource conservation and recycling.

Notes from the nonprofit

Grey Bears continues to evolve, improve and grow to better serve the needs of our clients and community.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr Tim Brattan

Main address

2710 Chanticleer Avenue

Santa Cruz, CA 95065 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

California Grey Bears, Inc.



NTEE code info

Senior Centers/Services (P81)

Food Service, Free Food Distribution Programs (K30)

Recycling (C27)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Health care providers and experts in the field of aging have identified nutrition and other long term services and supports (LTSS) as an effective strategy for maintaining the health, independence and quality of life of seniors. Our programs ensure seniors have access to healthy food, volunteer opportunities, activities and ways to socialize - all essential components of Santa Cruz County's LTSS efforts. Grey Bears meets the nutritional needs of 4,000+ seniors, families, veterans and farmworkers in Santa Cruz County through the Healthy Food program. The program delivers weekly bags of groceries, daily food distributions and healthy hot meals to seniors, families and farmworkers. Myriad volunteer opportunities are offered to volunteers who derive health benefits while making our programs possible. Weekly classes such as chair yoga, Spanish, cooking, tech help and support groups, and free luncheon events keep seniors active and socially engaged.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Healthy Food delivery program

Local, vital and multifaceted, Grey Bears promotes good nutrition, activity and social connection as the perfect recipe for healthy aging. Their food rescue, gleaning and fresh produce distribution programs serve 4,000 seniors each week, delivering the equivalent of two million meals annually. Grey Bears reuse, thrift and recycling operations divert 7,500 tons of materials - including Styrofoam - from local landfills. Volunteer opportunities abound. More than 800 amazing volunteers donate 80,000 hours of service to Grey Bears each year, helping connect, sustain and preserve our community and environment.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work


Certified Recycling Collector, CalRecycle 2019

Affiliations & memberships

Aptos Chamber Organization of the Year 2015

Thousand Points of Light by President Bush 1990

Volunteer Center's Organization of the Year 2011

Aptos Chamber Organization of the Year 2015

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients whose nutrition has improved

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Age groups, Ethnic and racial groups

Related Program

Healthy Food delivery program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goal is to ensure that all Santa Cruz County seniors and families receive regular deliveries of fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy staples. Volunteers will be engaged in food quality control, assembling brown bags, delivering bags to sites and to homebound seniors, and preparing up to 200 daily meals. Volunteers also support our other resource conservation programs: three county recycling centers including CRV beverage container redemption, e-cycling and polystyrene (Styrofoam) densification; in our thrift store, computer electronics store, bookstore, hardware store, and composting; and in our classes, activities and annual luncheon events for seniors.

Participants learn about our programs through broad outreach efforts, including advertising, referrals, event information tables, direct mailings, newsletters, website, social media, and feature stories in local newspapers.

Participants sign up via mail, in-person in our office, or though our website, Office staff and volunteers interact with clients to guide them into the program. Clients receive an information packet that includes a welcome letter, participant ID card, distribution route for pick-up or homebound delivery day and time, Senior CalFresh flyer, and list of local merchants offering senior discounts. Both homebound and site delivery brown bag recipients develop personal relationships with other participants and volunteers. New clients are surveyed upon entry, and re-surveyed after six months on the program answering questions including: eating more fruits and vegetables, saving money on food costs, and improved health.

Participants also receive regular newsletters and invitations to annual luncheon events and other activities. They are encouraged to contact staff and/or volunteers with any concerns or questions. Client program engagement averages 8-10+ years. Nearly two dozen Grey Bears volunteers have volunteered more than 20 years of service, and three for more than 30 years.

Grey Bears employs 45 full and part-time employees, and benefits from the service of 600 volunteers who support operations, repurposing programs, outreach, office/admin, and program management. We operate on a 3-acre property that Grey Bears owns in the center of Santa Cruz County.

Trained staff and volunteers record and enter client and volunteer data into a customized database to track and provide reports for our programs, including:

1) Healthy Food for Seniors - participant contact information, gender, ethnicity, income, homebound delivery or site pick-up, food categories and weight, confirmed receipt of weekly brown bags, updating distribution route summaries, completion of satisfaction surveys; and

2) Volunteer Activities for Senior Wellness - volunteer contact, emergency contact and health information, programs and activities, dates and hours volunteered, background checks, completion of satisfaction surveys.

Technical services are performed by three consultants in database programming, website development, and IT support. Vertical Response is used to create, send and track emails, e-newsletters, survey invitations and social posts for 6,000 clients, volunteers and other stakeholders. Staff and volunteer consultants are used to develop participant, volunteer and event attendee surveys; Survey Monkey is used to track survey results, outcomes, and comments.

The Leadership team includes:
Tim Brattan, Executive Director has 20 years of experience in nonprofit management. Tim has overall responsibility for the effective planning, development, implementation and supervision of all programs under the governance of Grey Bears 13-member Board of Directors.

Grey Bears Fiscal Officer, Lisa Noble, tracks the organization's revenue and expenses, manages employee payroll and benefits, and provides reports and budgets to the Executive Director and the Board of Directors Finance Committee.

Operations Manager, Mary Buck, manages operations, human resources and supports department managers.

Program Manager, Danielle Wong, is the key liaison with food co-ops and distributors for the Healthy Food program, coordinates fleet and drivers that rescue an additional 600,000 pounds of food from local markets and bakeries, and provides data for grant deliverables.

Tony Becerril, Warehouse Manager, is responsible for food quality control, brown bag assembly, receiving, weighing, storage, cooling and daily food distributions.

Program/Volunteer Coordinator, Rosie Otero-Foraker, supports program and volunteer outreach, onboarding, classes and events.

Office Manager, Sharon Gross, tracks Healthy Food participants, deliveries, drivers and other program logisitics.

Through COVID-19, economic hardship and CZU Complex fire recovery, our food deliveries, ways to volunteer and socially connect, and resource conservation programs make our community stronger and healthier while reducing our collective carbon footprint.

This year Grey Bears will:
- Distribute 2.5 million pounds of food to 4,500 seniors and families – including 1,300 isolated seniors.
- Serve 36,000 meals.
- Repurpose 1,500 tons of household items.
- Divert 8,000 tons of recycling materials and organics from landfills.
- Connect seniors through more than 20 ways to volunteer, in classes, activities and support groups.

Grey Bears was named one of President Bush’s "Thousand Points of Light," named Organization of the Year by the Aptos Chamber and a Be the Difference Award by the Volunteer Center, and voted Best Nonprofit by readers of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Good Times and Santa Cruz Waves magazine.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To fulfill governtment grant deliverables,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Board and staff completed a grant-funded, facilitated Strategic Planning process in 2108. The plan identified four core strategies, priorities, goals and key actions that are improving board training and staff morale, participation in our programs, fundraising, . Survey responses of clients receiving weekly brown bags of groceries indicate a need for more fruit in the bags. We have increased our efforts for glean team volunteers to pick fruit from more available orchards, including apples, persimmons, pears and other tree crops to include in bags. We are also sourcing other options including fruit purchases, such as oranges and berries.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,


Grey Bears

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Grey Bears

Board of directors
as of 11/29/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms Pamela Goodman

Owner/Founder of Lifespan

Term: 2020 - 2022

Board co-chair

Mr Reed Geisreiter

Regional President Comerica Bank, retired

Term: 2021 - 2023

Rachael Katz

Health Care Provider

Enda Brennan


Rita Hester

Faculty Cabrillo College School of Nursing, retired

Joe Jaconette

Doctorate Program Mentor, Brandman University

Ventura Leon

Branch Administrator, Santa Cruz County Bank

Leslie O'Malley

City of Santa Cruz Waste Reduction Program Manager

Dan Reed

Lockheed Martin Union Steward, retired

Frank Turner

Small Business Owner

John Presleigh

Director, Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works, retired

Tristan Kass

Certified Financial Planner/Portfolio Manager, Morgan Stanley

Ole Christensen

IBM Engineer/Financial Manager, retired

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/01/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/01/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.