In 2011, the California Legislature saw fit to abolish “Redevelopment Agencies” in the State of California. Putting statewide politics aside, the Leadership Group focused on local impacts with community solutions. One impact of eliminating “RDA’s,” the loss of local funding for “Christmas in the Park” in Downtown San Jose, enjoyed annually by more than 600,000 people from throughout our region.
As emergency effort is launched in 2011 by then San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Downtown San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group to “Save & Strengthen Christmas in the Park and Downtown Ice.” Phone Calls & Fundraisers are launched by the three leaders to keep Christmas in the Park whole, but it is quickly recognized as a stop-gap effort, rather than a permanent solution.
For 2012, the Leadership Group Foundation steps forward with an idea – to build community and once again serve needy families, the primary audience of the “free-of-charge” tradition known as Christmas in the Park. With less than a year to plan, a new community/charity race is launched, with the finish line at Christmas in the Park, called “Santa Run Silicon Valley.” In that first year of December, 2012, more than 2,300 people – all dressed like Santa Claus – run and walk to benefit Christmas in the Park. In just four years, the 2016 “Christmas in the Park” grew to a sold-out crowd of nearly 4,500 paid participants. Register today for the 2017 “Santa Run Silicon Valley” on Sunday afternoon, December 17, at “Santa Run Silicon Valley.”