Easy Lift Transportation has been selected as one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Cox Cares Grant.

More than 120 nonprofits from Santa Barbara County and Orange County submitted applications for the $10,000 grant. The winner of the grant will be chosen by the public via online voting.

Starting Sept. 1, the public can vote online for their favorite nonprofit organization. The voting is open until Sept. 15. The winner will be announced at an award ceremony at Cox’s headquarters in Rancho Santa Margarita on Sept. 23.

The finalists for the Cox Cares Grant were selected by a committee of Cox associates and community and business leaders. Finalist selections were based on program quality and their potential impact on youth, seniors and education. The first-place winner will receive a grant of $10,000, and the other finalists will each receive grants of $5,000.

Easy Lift Transportation submitted its Children’s Accessible Transportation (C.A.T.) program for the grant application. The program is directed to the less advantaged children of South Santa Barbara County so they can access the numerous youth-serving programs available to foster a vibrant, healthy future. Any funds received will be used to support transportation for children from low-income homes, shelters, and those who have lesser financial and physical means to access after-school programs.

Many youth and teen programs do not have transportation in their budgets, whereas Easy Lift, as the designated CTSA (Consolidated Transit Service Agency), has the ability to transport children in a safe and competent manner.

Click here to cast a vote for Easy Lift’s C.A.T. program.

“C.A.T. is the sole program of its kind in Santa Barbara,” said Ernesto Paredes, executive director of Easy Lift Transportation. “No other agency has devoted itself 100 percent to the transportation aspect vital to bridging the space between Santa Barbara’s less fortunate children and the programs here to improve their lives.”

C.A.T. is free of charge to its recipients and is arranged through collaborative efforts with the partnering youth agencies. Since 2008, C.A.T. has provided more than 8,000 rides to the less advantaged children of the community.

— Leann Anderson is the community relations director for Easy Lift Transportation.