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McCune Foundation Awards $345,000 in Community Organizing Grants

The McCune Foundation has awarded $345,000 for community organizing and social justice initiatives in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Sixteen groups were approved for grants to organize residents in voicing their concerns and finding solutions to improve public education, immigration policies, mental health services and other critical issues.

“Our grants help community groups develop leaders who can add their voices and perspectives to the public discourse,” said Sara Miller McCune, the foundation’s president and co-founder. “With our support, grassroots groups are training and mobilizing youth, immigrants, parents, and others in neighborhoods throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.”

Grant dollars provided by the foundation will pay for salaries for community organizers, trainings, and other program expenses. 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 July 12, 2013. Details on applying for a grant are available at

In 2012, the Foundation provided 32 grants and dozens of contributions totaling more than $800,000. The Foundation was honored in 2012 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 D. 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 April

» CAUSE — $50,000 for community organizers in Santa Maria, Guadalupe and Santa Barbara to build grassroots power among working families.

» Centro Binacional Para el Desarollo Indígena Oaxaqueño — $20,000 for Youth in Leadership, a program for indigenous youth in Santa Maria to support their higher education goals and develop their civic, leadership, and advocacy skills for social change.

» Coalition for Sustainable Transportation — $15,000 for the Alliance for Sustainable & Equitable Regional Transportation (ASERT), a transportation coalition that advocates for better public transit.

» Congress of California Seniors Education & Research Fund — $10,000 for Empowering Underserved Seniors to train and engage seniors in issue campaigns.

» Families ACT! — $24,000 for community organizing led by individuals and families dealing with mental health and substance use disorders to improve mental health services in Santa Barbara County.

» Foodbank of Santa Barbara County — $20,000 for Community Leadership Training & Food Security Project, to build leadership among North Santa Barbara County residents to mobilize for increased food security and an equitable food system.

» Foundation of Santa Barbara Regional Health Authority — $15,000 for Partnering to Improve the Lompoc Community & Create Social Change Together, an effort to train a network of promotores in Lompoc to identify and mobilize around community issues affecting the Latino community.

» The Fund for Santa Barbara — $25,000 to provide technical assistance services to nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara County.

» Future Leaders of America — $36,000 for general support for youth leadership training, youth activism in community campaigns and alumni engagement in Oxnard and Santa Barbara.

» Just Communities Central Coast — $40,000 for general operating support for the Educational Equity Initiative to work in schools and communities to create leaders who are equipped with knowledge and skills to promote educational equity and student success.

» Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County — $15,000 for the Common Ground Santa Barbara County Homeless Advocacy Project and Advisor Group to engage homeless individuals and those who have experienced homelessness in identifying solutions and policy changes to end homelessness.

» Pacific Pride Foundation — $17,500 for LGBT Advocacy Programs to support LGBT advocacy and leadership development work in Santa Barbara County.

» Parent Institute for Quality Education — $17,500 for Parent Leadership courses to empower economically and socially disadvantaged parents to form parent advocacy groups around school issues in Santa Maria and Lompoc.

» Teachers for the Study of Educational Institutions — $8,000 for Teaching FAIR to develop K-12 curriculum that is culturally relevant and meets the mandates of the FAIR ACT to teach about the contributions of various ethnic groups, people with disabilities and LGBT people.

» Ventura Climate Care Options Organized Locally — $20,000 for Reclaiming Public Roadways for Bicyclists as a Tool for Public Engagement to organize and empower cyclists to advocate for bicycle route improvements and safer conditions for cyclists in Ventura County.

» Ventura County Community Foundation — $12,500 for capacity building for the Social Justice Fund for Ventura County, including constituency-building, development and communications/marketing as the organization establishes itself as an independent nonprofit.

— Claudia Armann is executive director of the McCune Foundation.

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