For years, thousands would gather in November at Union Square to witness one of San Francisco’s time-honored traditions: the lighting of the “Great Tree.” People from all walks of life could be seen watching the 83-foot-tall pine come to life, and reflecting a collective hope for the good of the community. For that moment in time there is a connectedness, a brief acknowledgment of the interdependence of those around. And yet, one in four families in attendance struggle with challenges that make it next to impossible to thrive. 

San Francisco Union Square Annual Great Tree Lighting

This year, the tree lighting ceremony happens just hours before the official start of Giving Tuesday 2021, a day created to give back to your community following Thanksgiving. Contributions to Felton’s Giving Tuesday campaign acknowledges the interdependence of community members and assists them through their struggle to thrive.

Throughout the year, Felton Institute advocates for Bay Area families and individuals experiencing inequitable access to health care, education, employment, and more. Through its work with children, families, those with behavioral health concerns, older adults, persons with disabilities, and justice impacted individuals—Felton understands the complex and nuanced needs of the communities it serves.

A gift to Felton Institute helps to provide critical services through over 50 programs for thousands of individuals across Northern California. Your support this Giving Tuesday, means:

The Bay Area continues to have the highest income gap in California, but with contributions from people who care about the protection, progress, and prosperity of their neighbors, Felton Institute can help all residents thrive. On November 30, this Giving Tuesday, please join in supporting this beloved community by contributing, volunteering, or spreading the word.

Together, the spirit of collective hope can have a life beyond that moment under the Great Tree; the Bay Area can be a more compassionate and equitable place to live, for everyone. 

Getting Ready to Give


bAlisa Thorsen


About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.

Felton is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the ”conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency.