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Ventura County Community Foundation Purchases Camarillo Building

The center will serve as a hub for nonprofit leaders and provide community meeting space

The Ventura County Community Foundation late last week bought a Camarillo office building to house the foundation’s headquarters, expand its Center for Nonprofit Leadership and serve as a hub for nonprofits at a centralized location.

Called the VCCF Nonprofit Center, the new quarters allow the foundation to triple the classroom and technology space for CNL, which offered more than 110 workshops in nonprofit management last year.

Having doubled its hours of instruction since 2004, CNL has outgrown the space VCCF leases off Central Avenue. The center has been forced to rent off-site space to present its most popular course offerings.

VCCF also will lease office space to fellow nonprofits at below market rates in the 53,500-square-foot building at 4001 Mission Oaks Blvd., neighboring the Camarillo Ranch House.

On freeway frontage off Highway 101 near the Flynn Road and Dawson Drive interchanges, the building will feature community rooms large enough to welcome as many as 150 people.

“Buying this property is an expression and an extension of our mission to promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community by having a place where community leaders can gather,” said Pierre Tada, VCCF’s board chairman. “The investment in this building is a way to build up Ventura County nonprofits by increasing opportunities for the sector’s leaders to interact and learn together at the Center for Nonprofit Leadership. We see that as an asset for the entire community.”

This is the first building VCCF has bought in its almost 25-year history, and favorable market conditions allowed the foundation to make the purchase from inventor and philanthropist Fred Kavli, according to Hugh Ralston, VCCF president and CEO.

The VCCF board has committed $3 million of the foundation’s capital to the Nonprofit Center and will embark on a capital campaign to raise $10 million more. VCCF officials are negotiating leases with several local nonprofits with varying space needs, Ralston said.

“We believe this close proximity will foster collaboration between nonprofits that will result in more creative and cost-effective programs to serve the needs of the people of Ventura County,” Ralston added.

The purchase is not expected to affect VCCF’s grantmaking, because the money put toward the building will come from funds donated expressly to support VCCF operations. VCCF granted $3.7 million to local nonprofits and students in 2011.

“We believe this is not only a good investment for our portfolio but one that pays excellent dividends for the community in the long term,” said Tada, founding principal of Granite Peak Partners Inc., a real-estate investment and advisory firm, and former CEO of Limoneira Company in Santa Paula.

The VCCF board, made up of local business and institutional leaders, unanimously voted to purchase the property in early May. VCCF’s current lease expires in November. Construction to finish the interior is scheduled to begin immediately with occupancy expected in early 2013.

The foundation is working with Main Street Architects and Staples Construction Company, both of Ventura, and S.L. Leonard & Associates of Camarillo, who is supporting the project as the owner’s representative. They, along with other partners, have provided discounted and pro bono hours to make the VCCF Nonprofit Center a reality.

Click here for more information on the Nonprofit Center.

The nonprofit VCCF invests the charitable capital that drives the philanthropic engines of Ventura County. Its portfolio performance ranks No. 8 of all community foundations in the United States for long-term growth. With total assets of $109 million as of March 2012, its mission is to promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community for good, which it does through grant-making, scholarships and training at its Center for Nonprofit Leadership. For more information, click here or call 805.988.0196.

— Hugh Ralston is the president and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation.

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