The McCune Foundation recently made grants to 14 organizations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties that support parents, bus riders, gay activists, youths or others seeking to improve their lives and neighborhoods. More than $350,000 in grants was made for the first of two grant cycles this year.

How will these grants transform local communities? Projects funded will work toward safer roads for cyclists, parental involvement in the classroom and in shaping school policy, protection of renter rights, more buses, juvenile justice reform, access to healthy food, better mental health care and more.

Grassroots groups that meet the foundation’s funding guidelines may submit a letter of inquiry by the next deadline on July 11. Click here for details on applying for a grant to be awarded in November.

The McCune Foundation was established in 1990 by Sara Miller McCune and the late George McCune. The foundation makes grants in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Its goal is to build social capital through empowerment and engagement of citizens at the grassroots level.

Grants Awarded in May

» Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE) — $20,000 for Year 1 and $15,000 for Year 2 for a Strategic Communications Capacity Building Project to provide communications trainings, cultural and linguistically appropriate messaging, database management, and strategic use of social networking and other technology for CAUSE and partner organizations in Ventura County.

» Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST) — $26,774 for two bilingual organizers for the Alliance for Sustainable and Equitable Regional Transportation (ASERT), a regional transportation alliance created to advocate for public transportation and mobilize bus riders in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

» Conflict Solutions Center — $32,670 for the Restorative Justice Partnership Initiative, which promotes and offers Restorative Justice responses to youth crime in Santa Maria.

» Families ACT! — $25,000 for community organizing work to achieve changes in the mental health and criminal justice systems in Santa Barbara County.

» Foodbank of Santa Barbara County — $25,000 for Community Organizing to Promote Food Security in North Santa Barbara County, which will mobilize low-income residents to advocate for changes to increase access to healthy foods.

» Future Leaders of America — $50,000 for general operating support for organizing youth activists in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to impact the community through civic engagement.

» Just Communities Central Coast — $50,000 a year for two years in general operating support for youth and family organizing efforts in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

» Pacific Pride Foundation — $12,500 for Santa Barbara Equality Project, an effort to motivate and promote local activism in support of marriage equality and civil rights for the gay community on the Central Coast.

» PUEBLO — $50,000 for operating support for the multi-issue grassroots membership organization mobilizing low-income residents of Santa Barbara County to work for social and economic justice, including education reform, immigrant rights, and fair housing campaigns.

» Ventura Climate Care Options Organized Locally (VCCool) — $25,000 to organize, mobilize and sustain a diverse network of cyclists to advocate for bicycle route improvements and transform Ventura into a bicycle-commuter friendly city.

» ySTRIVE for Youth — $7,500 for the Parent Education Advocacy Group to develop the capacity of parents to advocate for changes in how children are treated and educated in the Santa Barbara public schools.

Technical Assistance Grants

» California Center for Cooperative Development — $15,000 for a feasibility plan and training workshops for the Mexican Immigrant Labor and Producers’ Association in Santa Maria.

» Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project — $10,000 for computer and financial trainings for Mixtec staff and volunteers in Oxnard.

» PUEBLO — $5,000 for executive director transition and staff expansion in Santa Maria.

» Ventura County Community Foundation — $3,000 to support Communications Leadership Institute trainings in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

— Claudia Armann is executive director for the McCune Foundation.