Recipients of the Central Coast Community Leadership Project Grants

More than $1 million granted through Community Leadership Project July 10, 2013 (Monterey County) – Fourteen small nonprofits in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties are getting significant support to meet the needs of local residents. They were awarded a total of $1,120,000 in grants awarded through the Community Leadership Project of the Central Coast.

The fourteen nonprofits were selected through an open and competitive application process to receive grants of $80,000 each over three years. The Community Leadership Project (CLP) of the Central Coast is a collaboration between the Community Foundation for Monterey County, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County and the Community Foundation for San Benito County, who worked together over a year to make it happen. The Central Coast CLP is funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of their larger Community Leadership Project initiative 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.

“We’ve worked with our colleagues in Monterey and San Benito counties over the years on smaller projects,” said Program Director Christina Cuevas of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, one of the three community foundation partners. “Being selected by the funders is a big step forward and a wonderful opportunity for the three community foundations to work together regionally,” Cuevas added. “I hope we can use or collective strength to repeat it again and again in different ways,” she continued.

The CLP grants come with training, peer learning and coaching to help the fourteen nonprofits strengthen their leadership and financial management while helping them achieve organizational goals they’ve set out for themselves. “The capacity building support is a key element to help expand the effectiveness of these organizations in serving their communities,” said Julie Drezner, Vice President of Grants and Programs for the Community Foundation for Monterey County.

“The collaboration among the groups and across counties will help all of us work in a more networked and powerful way,” she continued. “The grant will help us create a sound financial base and not just plan year-to-year,” said David Norum, executive director of Sol Treasures, an arts program in King City, and one of the fourteen grantees. The fourteen selected nonprofits serve low-income populations and people of color and are based throughout the three counties, with six in Monterey, three in San Benito and five in Santa Cruz.

“We’re the only food bank in San Benito County,” said Mary Ann Hughes, executive director of the Community Food Bank of San Benito County. “We’ve become too big to fail and I believe this grant will help us succeed,” Hughes said. She added, “We’ve been through a strategic planning process and need help achieving our goals to becoming a solid community program.”

About the three-year grant, Sharen Carey, executive director of the Big Sir Health Center said, “Sustaining quality healthcare services in Big Sur is challenging and this grant will help us increase access to local care to a broader segment of our population.” Judy Stabile, president of the board of the Pajaro Valley Arts Council in Watsonville added, “The grant takes us out of isolation and broadens our perspective so we can learn what others in the group are doing successfully.” The nonprofits in the project received an initial orientation and will begin working with their mentors to finalize a three year plan to improve services to the people of the Central Coast.

“We are grateful for the confidence shown by the funders and the three community foundations in community-based leadership and for validating what we already know, that doing good can start with empowering communities from the grassroots up,” said Henry Martin, senior attorney at the Watsonville Law Center, one of the fourteen nonprofits in the project.

CLP Phase 2 Community Grantees (2013-2016)


Alisal Center for Fine Arts, East Salinas

Big Sur Health Center, Big Sur

Community of Caring Monterey Peninsula, Seaside

Loaves, Fishes & Computers, Marina

Sol Treasures, King City

The Village Project, Seaside


COPA, Watsonville

Conflict Resolution Center, Santa Cruz

Pajaro Valley Arts Council, Watsonville

The Watsonville Law Center, Watsonville

YWCA of Watsonville, Watsonville


CASA of San Benito County, Hollister

Community Food Bank, Hollister

Homeless Coalition of San Benito County, Hollister