Atherton couple Sue and John Diekman are probably best known philanthropically for their support of Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center but they have also become one of Humane Society Silicon Valley’s key benefactors over the past 18 years. The couple recently donated $3 million to support and expand Humane Society Silicon Valley’s Regional Rescue Program, which will be named in their honor.

The Sue and John Diekman Regional Rescue Program partners with dozens of shelters throughout the Bay Area and the state to provide a safety net for animals when those shelters run out of space or other resources. And you might be stunned to find out that Humane Society Silicon Valley brings in about 4,000 animals every year through the program, which is more than half the number of animals it brings in overall.

“We love the Regional Rescue Program because of the significant impact it has both for the individual animals and the shelters they come from,” Sue Diekman said in a statement. “Watching the animals come off the Rescue Roadster and knowing that they have a better future is incredibly heartwarming.”

The Diekmans have a personal relationship with the program, too. In 2015, they adopted Jeremy — an arthritic golden retriever who needed dental work — through the program after he was transferred from another Bay Area shelter that didn’t have the capacity to take care of him. And three years later, they adopted Benny, a lab mix who was also a Regional Rescue dog.

LEVITT PAVILION PREVIEW: The plan to construct a Levitt Pavilion in San Jose’s St. James Park is still alive and well and has recently gotten past a lawsuit that had halted its progress. And now the Friends of Levitt Pavilion San Jose, the nonprofit group working to build the permanent concert venue downtown, is giving the public a peek into its potential future by staging its first concert series in the park over the five Sundays in October.

The Levitt San Jose Fall Concert Series kicks off Oct. 2 with Brooklyn-founded Afro-beat band Antibalas, followed by rapper Lyrics Born (Oct. 9), contemporary jazz artist Jose James (Oct. 16), San Francisco-born Latin folk singer La Doña (Oct. 23) and funk/soul band Orgone (Oct. 30). You can check for updates and future shows at

The shows are all free and all-ages, starting at 3:15 p.m. with an opening act before the headliners come on at 5 p.m. It’s a bring-your-own blanket affair, and you can come with your own food or take advantage of the food trucks that’ll be at the park. Camino Brewing will be pouring at a beer garden every week, too.

Pasquale Esposito entertains at the 2nd Annual Little Italy San Jose Street Festival on North Almaden Boulevard in San Jose, California, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2017. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Pasquale Esposito entertains at the 2nd Annual Little Italy San Jose Street Festival on North Almaden Boulevard in San Jose, California, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2017. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) 

GOING ITALIAN: Developer and philanthropist John A. Sobrato will be the grand marshal of the fifth annual Little Italy Street Festival on Oct. 2, a celebration of the historic business district between SAP Center and Highway 87. The festival, which starts at 10:30 a.m., is expanding into the neighboring Guadalupe River Park to give festivalgoers a little more elbow room.

The festivities include wine tasting, soccer demonstrations and food from more than a dozen Italian food vendors, as well as a display of Ferraris and Lamborghinis. There will be a full day of music and dance performances on the main stage under the Little Italy arch. Italian tenor Pasquale Esposito will be the headliner at 3:15 p.m. The festival is free to attend, but proceeds from sales will benefit the Italian Cultural Center & Museum, which is currently under construction. Get more information at

GETTING CREATIVE: The city of San Jose wants its residents — and everyone else — to let their creativity shine during the month of October. And it’s not that hard to take part in the “We Create 408” challenge, either. Participants who sign up at will get a daily prompt starting Oct. 1 to inspire their creativity, along with links to events and activities happening in San Jose that day. Then, you can share your response on social media with the hashtag #WeCreate408.

There’s also a kickoff event Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. hosted by Ricardo Cortez, one of San Jose’s Creative Ambassadors, which will include work by the 408{ART} artists that celebrates San Jose’s lowrider culture with sound-reactive lights and custom collages. It’s happening at 20 Barack Obama Blvd., just south of SAP Center and Arena Green West.

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