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McCune Foundation Awards $350,000 for Community-Building Projects

17 grants are awarded to organizations in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties

The McCune Foundation has awarded nearly $350,000 for community organizing and social justice initiatives in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Seventeen grants were made in the first of two grant cycles this year to support organizing efforts by farmworkers, youths, parents and community members concerned with a variety of issues including farmworker rights, juvenile justice and other youth issues such as the education achievement gap.

“Sustainable change is possible when citizens come together to problem solve and advance their own solutions,” said Sara Miller McCune, president and co-founder of the foundation. “Community-based organizations like those supported by the McCune Foundation excel at engaging local residents around issues that matter to them.”

In 2009, the foundation provided 25 grants totaling more than $750,000. 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 on July 12. Click here for details on applying for a grant.

The McCune Foundation was established in 1990 by Sara Miller McCune and the late George D. 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 Spring 2010

» Cabrillo Economic Development Corp. — $10,500 for community organizing training for members of the Oxnard Community Peace Project, which seeks to build the skills of parents and residents to be effective leaders in improving safety in Oxnard schools and neighborhoods.

» Conflict Solutions Center — $15,000 for the Restorative Justice Partnership Initiative, which engages a community coalition of young people, parents and neighborhood leaders in promoting restorative justice responses to youth crime in Santa Maria.

» Cuyama Christian Academy — $15,000 for Cuyama Organizing for a Voice, a community organizing initiative to build a diverse coalition of residents to define and articulate the family resource needs in the remote agricultural community in Northern Santa Barbara County.

» Families ACT! — $15,120 for a community organizing campaign to give voice to Santa Barbara families who seek changes in the mental health and criminal justice systems to better serve their family members suffering from mental illness and substance use.

» Future Leaders of America — $30,000 of second-year funding for operating expenses and the Youth of California Making Change program to develop 100 youth activists in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to impact the community through civic engagement.

» Future Leaders of America — $50,000 for Just Communities to support the development of youth activists addressing critical community issues and dismantling oppression through youth-led action and youth-adult collaboration in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

» Guadalupe Cultural Arts & Education Center — $25,000 of second-year funding for Mixtecacion: Mixteco Translation and Resource Empowerment Project, which includes a centralized office where Mixteco families can obtain help from indigenous leaders. Volunteers and a translator/organizer provide translation services and organize the community to improve health care and human services for farmworkers and their families

» Organización en California de Líderes Campesinas — $40,000 for the Ventura County Campesina Policy Institute to train farmworker women to lead campaigns for social justice.

» Pacific Pride Foundation — $12,500 for Strategic Alliance for Marriage Equality, a project to motivate and promote local activism among the gay community and allies on the Central Coast of California.

» 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.

» Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura — $22,000 for Lift Up Your Voice, an effort to build a coalition of leaders from faith communities, the homeless community and other Ventura residents to decriminalize homelessness and seek resources to end homelessness in the city of Ventura.

» United Way of the Central Coast — $14,000 for Santa Maria Future Search Youth & Parent Organizing Project to build the capacity of parents and youth to actively engage in addressing the causes of youth violence in Santa Maria.

Technical Assistance & Other Grants

» The Fund for Santa Barbara — $15,000 for the Youth Violence Prevention Collaborative in Santa Barbara.

» Future Leaders of America — $15,000 for the Marilyn Gittell Youth Organizing & Activism Institute to be organized by Just Communities.

» PUEBLO — $6,750 for computers and software for the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria offices.

» Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura — $4,250 for three trainings to develop the advocacy capacity of homeless individuals and community allies.

» Ventura County Community Foundation — $9,000 to support two Communications Leadership Institute trainings in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

— Claudia Armann is executive director of the McCune Foundation.

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