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 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.
The founder, Katie Ritchey, has done research on stress, isolation, and the importance of social support systems. Katie, also a native Palo Altan, saw that there was no women’s center in her community for women to gather and encourage one another during daily challenges and seasons of change throughout a woman’s life. She took on the task of renovating an 1896 Victorian, in order to create a welcoming space, for women’s relationships to form and grow, and life to be celebrated.
What does the name mean?
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 bravery and wisdom, and would sit beneath a palm tree, as people would come to her for advice. We hope to extend our collective wisdom in order to reach out to those who need assistance.
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 in our community, whether you reside in the Palo Alto area or commute here for work.
Does it cost anything to use the center?
There are no membership fees in order to use the facility. There are some activities that will charge fees, such as individual and group counseling, educational classes, workshops or series of lectures. It is free to participate in our support groups, book clubs, knitting/sewing circles, discussion panels, etc. You are welcome to come and use our center to access resources via the internet, pick up printed materials from local agencies, use our library or enjoy a cup of tea.
What is the center’s library policy?
We have a fledgling, yet growing collection of books, and you are welcome to check two (2) books out at a time, for up to a month, using the honor system.
What are the hours of operation?
We will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and open in the evenings for the classes we offer. We will also have off-site activities planned on Saturdays, such a hiking, walking or antiquing. We are closed on Sunday.
Where is the parking?
We have 9 parking places (8, plus one handicapped space) that are located behind the house, at 555 Everett Court, between Cowper and Webster. Please drive slowly and be good neighbors. Walking and biking are vigorously 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.
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.
Will you offer childcare on site?
No. Due to insurance and zoning restrictions, we cannot offer care for infants and children.  We are researching drop-in child care locations in our immediate neighborhood.
Do you take donations?
We gladly accept monetary support and need it continually in order to provide the programs for our clientele. You can give a one-time donation, or opt for a monthly support plan. All gifts are tax-deductible and all receipts will 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, and can refer you to organizations that do need basic items, such as clothing.