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McCune Foundation Awards $360,000 in Community Organizing Grants

By Claudia Armann for the McCune Foundation |

The McCune Foundation has awarded more than $360,000 for community organizing and social justice initiatives in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

Sixteen groups received grants in November to organize residents in voicing their concerns and solutions to improve public transportation, immigration policies, services for homeless families and other vital issues.

“The goal of our grantmaking is to build leadership and power for those who haven’t traditionally had a voice in decision-making,” said Sara Miller McCune, the foundation’s president and co-founder. “Grassroots groups supported by the foundation are training and mobilizing youth, farmworkers, parents and others.”

Grant dollars provided by the foundation will pay for operating expenses, salaries for community organizers and other program expenses. Projects are being funded in Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Ventura, as well as the smaller communities of Cuyama, Fillmore and Lompoc.

Grassroots organizations that meet the foundation’s funding guidelines and that are interested in being considered for a grant may submit a letter of inquiry by the next deadline of Jan. 14. Click here for more information about applying for a grant.

In 2012, the foundation provided 32 grants and dozens of contributions totaling more than $800,000. The foundation was honored in November as the Philanthropist of the Year for Santa Barbara County by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The McCune Foundation was established in 1990 by Sara Miller McCune and George McCune, the founders of SAGE Publications Inc. in Thousand Oaks. The foundation focuses its grantmaking exclusively in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties with the mission of being an agent of productive change in society by supporting the growth of social capital in communities.

Grants Awarded in November 2012

» The ARC of Ventura County — $10,000 for “Project R: Rethink, Reconsider, Respect,” a grassroots initiative led by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to eliminate the words “retard” or “retarded” from everyday vocabulary in Ventura schools

» California Center for Cooperative Development — $25,000 for Lompoc Cooperative Development Project to develop worker cooperatives to promote economic development in Lompoc

» Central Coast Future Leaders — $25,000 for the development of Latino youth and families through leadership, education, service to community, activism, and personal development in Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Cuyama and Lompoc

» Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST) — $20,000 to organize residents of Santa Barbara’s Eastside to advocate for pedestrian safety and public transportation

» Cuyama Valley Family Resource Center — $25,000 for Cuyama in Action to grow Cuyama Valley’s culture of active civic engagement across ethnicity, socio-economic class and generations, and to support residents in defining and pursuing civic projects

» Just Communities Central Coast — $23,000 for the Family Engagement Network, a new partnership between Just Communities, Future Leaders of America, the Parent Project, and United Parents-Padres Unidos to support the development of parent leaders to lead school advocacy efforts

» La Hermandad Hank Lacayo Youth & Family Center — $30,000 for grassroots organizing and leadership training among working-class immigrants in Ventura County to promote immigration reform and social justice

» Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project — $35,000 to develop community leadership among indigenous Oaxacan farmworkers in Ventura County

» One Step A La Vez — $25,000 for youth committees in Fillmore and Piru working to expand the community’s voice for social change to address transportation needs, clean-up of a toxic Superfund site, and restorative justice practices in law enforcement

» Palabra — $15,000 for the Leadership Development Process, a partnership between Palabra, Just Communities, and Future Leaders of America to empower youth at risk for gang involvement and their parents with the knowledge, skills, and support to address problems in their lives and neighborhoods

» Ventura County Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice — $20,000 for Dreamers Without Borders, a student movement led by college students and recent graduates to end the isolation of undocumented youth by educating and mobilizing them to improve access to opportunities

» Ventura Education Partnership — $10,000 for the Homeless Family Project at Lincoln School to involve homeless parents and children in identifying and eliminating the causes of family homelessness

» ySTRIVE for Youth — $10,000 for the Excellence In Education Partnership to develop the capacity of parents in Santa Barbara and Goleta to advocate for more equitable public education for students of color

Second-Year Funding for Grants Awarded in November 2011

» CAUSE — $40,000 for general operating support with an emphasis on creating electoral voting power in low-income, minority neighborhoods and regional issue organizing toward the development of a network of progressive allied community, labor, faith and environmental organizations

» El Centrito Family Learning Centers — $25,000 for the Padres Promotores Education Project which trains, organizes and empowers Oxnard parents to address educational inequities in their children’s schools and take leadership roles on school committees

» Ventura County Community Foundation — $25,000 for the Social Justice Fund to conduct community outreach to engage residents as supporters, advocates and leaders in the social justice movement

— Claudia Armann is executive director of the McCune Foundation.




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