Who are we?

Deborah’s Palm is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and is run as a public benefit charity, guided by a volunteer Board of Directors. Its purpose is to support all women in our community, by providing support, referrals and information, in an encouraging and warm environment. As society becomes more challenging and stressful, women of all ages can find help, support, understanding and friendship through our carefully selected groups, classes and activities.

Founder and executive director, Katie Ritchey, has researched the effects of stress and isolation on women, and the importance of social support systems. Katie, a native Palo Altan, recognized the need for a women’s center in the community, a place for women to connect and encourage one another. She took on the task of renovating an 1896 Victorian, formerly run as a Bed and Breakfast, to create a welcoming space for women to form meaningful relationships and to celebrate life.

Where does the name come from?

Our inspiration comes from an ancient Israelite woman named Deborah…a powerful and well-respected woman in her time, when women were considered nothing more than chattel. She was regarded for her courage and wisdom, and would sit beneath a palm tree, as people sought her advice. It is in that same spirit, that we hope to offer our expertise and resources, in order to reach out to those who come through our doors.

What we are NOT…

We are not a battered women’s shelter, a clinic, a church, or a palm reading room. We are simply a safe place for all women to gather, whether you reside locally, commute here for work or live in neighboring communities.

What does it cost?

There is not a membership fee. Some activities charge a fee, such as individual and group counseling, educational classes, workshops or lecture series. But others, such as our book club, knitting/sewing circles, discussion panels, etc. are free. You are welcome to come and use our center to access resources, use our internet, pick up printed materials from local agencies, enjoy our library or have a cup of tea.

What is the library policy?

We have a growing collection of books available to you. You may check out two (2) books at a time, for up to a month.

We also have an Adopt-a-Book Program to help expand our library. In our reception area, we have books waiting to be adopted, so they can have a permanent home in our library. Your contribution will add a book to our library, and this gift can be made “In the Memory Of” or “In Recognition If” for someone you would like to honor.

What are the hours of operation?

We will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, and open most evenings for classes. We will also have activities on Saturdays, such as workshops and seminars. We are closed on Sunday and holidays.

Where do I park?

We have 9 parking spaces (8, plus one space for handicapped parking) located behind the house, at 555 Everett Court, between Cowper and Webster. Please drive slowly and be considerate of our neighbors. Walking and biking are strongly encouraged!

In addition, we offer hourly parking for our counseling clientele located in the parking garage under the Bank of America. There is also a city garage located between Cowper and Webster, behind California Pizza Kitchen and Tamarine restaurants, off of University Avenue.

I have a disability… is there access to the facility?

Yes, we have a handicapped parking space, wheelchair lift, and ADA-compliant classrooms and bathrooms.

Do you offer childcare on site?

Unfortunately, due to insurance and zoning restrictions, we cannot offer care for infants and children at our center. According to our friends at the Parent’s Club of Palo Alto and Menlo Park, they recommend contacting either Urban Sitter or Care.com for local babysitting services.

I would like to make a donation to Deborah’s Palm. How can I do that?

We gladly accept donations anytime. In fact, your monetary support is necessary for us to continue to provide our services and programs. You can make a monthly donation or opt to make a one-time gift. All gifts are tax-deductible and  receipts include our federal tax identity number. If you wish to donate any items, please refer to our updated “wish list” of items we need the most. Due to limited staff, we are not a donation drop-off site, but can refer you to organizations that do need basic items, such as clothing.

Photo credit: photosteve101