A Letter from Our President & CEO, Vanessa Bechtel
Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,
On March 13th, the Ventura County Community Foundation, in coordination with the County of Ventura, Amgen Foundation, Aera Energy, Southeast Ventura County YMCA, Give An Hour, and the Economic Development Collaborative, launched the Ventura County Rapid Response Fund. The next day, the 805 UndocuFund COVID-19 fund was activated with partner organizations, including Future Leaders of America, CAUSE, MICOP, and the McCune Foundation.
Immediately, VCCF awarded the following grants:
- $25,000 to the Southeast Ventura County YMCA for their work in launching individual and family assistance grants available to residents meeting eligibility criteria in Ventura County.
- $25,000 to the Economic Development Collaborative to help support their direct business advising program to help local firms navigate through the economic slowdown and connect businesses with the full range of resources available, including low cost capital.
- $25,000 to Give An Hour to provide mental health and emotional wellness needs in our community by launching daily online support groups in both English and Spanish.
Within a few days, VCCF awarded additional grants for our community:
- $120,000 to the Southeast Ventura County YMCA to help several hundred families with direct financial assistance grants. The first round of payments to families is being distributed on April 10th.
- $300 to support critical programing for nonprofits on legal issues relating to COVID-19 provided by the Center for Nonprofit Leadership.
- $125,000 to Women’s Economic Ventures for a 1:1 matching grant to support the Quick Response Loan Fund for micro-businesses in Ventura County. These businesses are defined as those with fewer than five employees and less than $1 million in annual revenues, and generally do not qualify for SBA Disaster Recovery Loans.
- $50,000 to the 805 UndocuFund COVID-19 Fund to provide support to undocumented immigrants during times of COVID-19.
And, yesterday, the VCCF Board approved additional emergency funds for our community:
- $60,000 to FoodSHARE for unrestricted support to support the logistics of delivering food in current circumstances and support the emergency need to purchase food for tens of thousands in our community.
- $25,000 to Future Leaders of America to support staffing needs related to the 805 Undocufund. Within the first 24 hours of the application being open more than 1,700 applications were received. By the following morning, 300 additional applications were received. The demand is tremendous as our local service workers and farm workers respond to the impacts associated with COVID-19.
- $40,000 to Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP) for general operating support to assist with a robust outreach and education effort and to ensure the indigenous community have the resources they need during COVID-19.
VCCF donors have also activated their personal giving, supporting numerous local organizations, including Safe Passage, delivering daily meals to 200 at-risk youth, the Ventura County Rescue Mission, 805 UndocuFund, Interface Children & Family Service, and 2-1-1.
As of yesterday, 100% of funds received have been distributed. We are actively fundraising for additional dollars and will be awarding funding to local nonprofit organizations rapidly as additional contributions are received.
The need is unprecedented. We have received millions in requests for support and will do all we can to help. It will take all of us collaborating together, which is why VCCF is not assessing any administrative fees and 100% of funds contributed will help those who need it most.
I wish I could share my inbox with you. In the face of so many challenges, I am receiving hundreds of emails from local community members stepping forward to help their neighbors during this time. It is heartwarming and reinforces the fact that Ventura County is a resilient and generous community. We will get through this together!