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Community Leadership Project Empowers Nonprofits

Two nonprofit organizations reflect on their final year of funding and reveal efforts for this years' grant

Community Foundations provide grant-making and capacity-building efforts through the Community Leadership Project (CLP) to nonprofits in the Central Coast. CLP assists with three years of grants in training, peer learning, and technical assistance for small and medium-size community-based organizations that serve low-income communities.

Overall, the goal of CLP is to support and enhance nonprofit efforts by building sustainability in three key areas: resilient leadership, adaptive capacity, and financial stability.

In 2013, three San Benito County nonprofits were selected as grant recipients: Community Food Bank for San Benito County, CASA of San Benito County, and Homeless Coalition of San Benito County. As two organizations enter their final year of funding, they reflect on how CLP has impacted their organizations and reveal efforts for this years' grant.

Community Food Bank of San Benito County CEO Maria Lynn Thomas shared on April 27, 2016 the following, “Through a rigorous application process, the Community Foundation chose the Food Bank to participate in the CLP. Originally, the project was designed to be a three-year grant at $20,000 per year specifically to build capacity. What does that mean? Well, we’re not supposed to spend the money to pay normal bills and expenses. The idea is to infuse extra money into the organization that can be used to pay for those projects that are critical to the organization’s long-term success, but tend to get put on the back burner in exchange for more pressing items like making payroll or paying the rent. Some of the projects that we have invested in so far are: a board recruitment process which resulted in four new board members, an executive succession plan for the retiring executive which resulted in my hiring (I really liked that project), and a three-year strategic plan.”

Not only does the CLP program support resilient leadership efforts, but it also awards funding for technical assistance such as training, consulting, and equipment. This year, the Community Food Bank of SBC sets to launch Phase 1 of its technical assistance program in which they will purchase new computers for the organization.The funds geared toward this form of sustainability, Thomas says, “allows our organization to remain adaptable to modern technology.”

 Esther Curtice, executive director of CASA of San Benito County explains, “The CLP grant over the years has allowed us to explore possibilities of efficiency and sustainability that would have been difficult to implement on our own, especially for a new nonprofit. Because we are a small-size organization, effective ways to remain efficient and sustainable are a challenge. Through CLP’s support in technical assistance, we were able to retain a consultant to assist us in developing our three to five-year strategic plan. Additionally, we’ve been able to purchase software and computer hardware equipment to strengthen our infrastructure.” 

For the past three years, the CLP was able to provide funds to 13 nonprofit organizations on the Central Coast.

Monterey County

Alisal Center for Fine Arts, East Salinas
Big Sur Health Center, Big Sur
Loaves, Fishes & Computers, Marina
Sol Treasures, King City
The Village Project, Seaside

Santa Cruz County

COPA, Watsonville
Conflict Resolution Center, Santa Cruz
Pajaro Valley Arts Council, Watsonville
The Watsonville Law Center, Watsonville
YWCA of Watsonville, Watsonville

San Benito County

CASA of San Benito County, Hollister
Community Food Bank, Hollister
Homeless Coalition of San Benito County, Hollister

The CLP is funded through a partnership between The David and Lucile Packard, James Irvine and William and Flora Hewlett foundations to strengthen small nonprofit organizations serving low-income people and communities of color in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast. For more information visit:


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