Children and Youth

Grants from Women’s Fund celebrate women, girls

The Women's Fund, housed at the Community Foundation for San Benito County, awards $40,000 to local nonprofits
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In early May, the Women’s Fund Advisory Committee convened during lunch at Paine’s Restaurant to hear presentations from six nonprofits who applied for a grant from the Women’s Fund during the 2017 grant cycle. This year, the committee focused on those programs that provided support for poverty prevention, youth empowerment, and domestic violence services for women and girls in San Benito County. By the end of the meeting, four nonprofits were nominated and within a week, the grants were approved.

Sun Street Centers – $10,000
The Hollister Women’s Sober Living Environment opened in July of 2016 and gives at-risk women and children a place to begin their journey of self-empowerment. The current Life Skills Program provided to residents will be enhanced to include employment eligibility and resume building, cooking and healthy eating classes, budgeting and financial empowerment workshops, and GED test prep courses for those who have yet to attain their high school diploma.

Junior Achievement of Northern California – $10,000
Building on their success of providing empowering financial literacy, career readiness, and entrepreneurship lessons, Junior Achievement will reach out to students at the San Andreas Continuation High School with hands-on, interactive lessons to help them gain the knowledge and skills needed to earn and effectively manage money, get and keep a job, and to understand the connection between education and opportunity.

Community Solutions – $10,000
To address the significant problem of marginalization amongst victims of intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking in San Benito County, Community Solutions has recruited and trained a team of promotoras (community health educators) to share resources on healthy relationships, victim rights, and legal remedies. These funds will be used for approximately 100 presentations over the next 12 months, focusing on neighborhoods and residents at risk due to social isolation and poverty.

Girls, Inc. of the Central Coast – $10,000
The ECHO Leadership and Mentoring Program at San Benito High School is managed by Girls, Inc. They work with high-risk, low-income teen girls, providing them an opportunity to explore and envision a future that includes a college education and economic self-sufficiency, while helping them overcome substantial cultural and economic barriers to their success. ECHO helps them make the connection between the choice to avoid risky behaviors and a future with a myriad of possibilities.

Congratulations to all four of these organizations! We look forward to hearing and reading about their successes.

The Women’s Fund was established in 2012 and, to date, has awarded more than $140,000 in grants to nonprofits who serve the needs of San Benito County. The Women’s Fund Advisory Committee consists of community leaders who lend their time, expertise, and knowledge to this valuable program. The Community Foundation would like to thank Mary McCullough, Beverley Meamber, Lynda Robinson, Allison Rohnert, Barbara Shackelton, Linda Smith, Mary White, and Bonnie Wilkinson for their contributions. For more information on the Women’s Fund,  email Stephanie Hicks or call her at 831-630-1924. Additional information is also available at

President Gary Byrne

Gary Byrne is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation for San Benito County. Gary has over 25 years of nonprofit development and management experience. He is a native of Dublin, Ireland and lives in Santa Cruz with his wife and two children.