The Fund for Santa Barbara has awarded Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) $10,000 to support its labor justice, youth development and language access programs in Santa Barbara County.

The fund will allocate a total of $103,000 to local nonprofit organizations in Santa Barbara County as part of its annual Fall General Grant Cycle. 

MICOP is grateful for the fund’s focus on social change and civic action to support its organizing efforts, said Ana Huynh, MICOP Santa Maria program director.

“Funding organizing efforts to create meaningful change is not easy to get in Santa Maria, our work relies on foundations that know this and make an effort to support, that is why we appreciate The Fund for Santa Barbara,” Huynh said.

Established in 1980, The Fund for Santa Barbara is a non-traditional community foundation that supports organizations and groups working for progressive social change in Santa Barbara County.

The Fund for Santa Barbara works to advance progressive change by strengthening movements for economic, environmental, political, racial and social justice. 

In previous years The Fund for Santa Barbara has helped MICOP further its mission to support, organize and empower the indigenous migrant communities in California’s Central Coast by naming MICOP a multi-year grant recipient in 2019.

As a result, MICOP has expanded Santa Maria’s youth development, the COVID-19 rapid response team, MICOP Immigration Legal Assistance (MILA), and its Indigenous Language Services. 

The Indigenous Language Services have seen increased staffing in Santa Maria that paved the way for partnerships with schools and hospitals, allowing institutions to better understand the community they serve. 

Through its community organizing efforts and labor justice program, MICOP trained dozens of farmworker leaders. By December 2023 MICOP plans to have 15 new farm worker leaders graduate from its leadership academy curriculum, teaching them vital organization and civil rights principles.  

In addition to MICOP’s labor justice advocacy, its Tequio Youth Program has served more than 50 indigenous youth each year since the beginning of the grant. MICOP recognizes that today’s youth are tomorrow’s future, and through the Tequio Youth Program, it strives to empower them to be leaders.

Tequio in Santa Maria regularly hosts meetings every Wednesday creating a safe space for youth to be themselves.