Power of Purpose – April 7, 2020

 In Newsletters

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 Mission805 UndocuFundInterface 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!


Ventura County Rapid Response Fund
New Grants Awarded:

  • FOODshare – $150,000 – To support the dramatic increase in food needs in Ventura County. The organization has been serving up to 15,000 new households per week since the shelter-in-place directive was issued.
  • Project Understanding – $28,000 – To provide basic assistance, including food and housing support, to individuals and families in order to prevent homelessness.
  • Senior Concerns – $28,000 –This organization has pivoted quickly to meet the need of the at-risk senior population by expanding the home-delivered meals and including grocery shopping and pharmacy delivery services as emergency wraparound services. The demand for these services has increased by 69% since the start of shelter-in-place.
  • Spirit of Santa Paula – $28,000 – As the only shelter for homeless individuals in the Santa Clara Valley, this organization is doing everything possible to serve these neighbors and keep them safe during this challenging time.
  • Gold Coast Veterans Foundation – $21,000 – This organization is working with homeless veterans in Ventura County to ensure that 50 veterans who have been unsheltered receive housing at motels in Ventura County during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Economic Development Collaborative – $70,000 – To help EDC support several thousand small business owners in our community as they grapple with some of the most serious economic conditions we’ve ever faced.
  • Interface Family and Children’s Services – $20,000 – To support our community’s 211 help line, which received 4,162 calls/texts requesting assistance in March alone! The calls being received are more complicated than other disaster and are often quite urgent. This demand represents an increase of over 200% of a “normal” month.
  • Channel Islands YMCA – $10,000 – To support childcare for healthcare workers at its Ventura and Camarillo locations.
  • Adelante Comunidad Conejo – $5,000 – To provide food and other essentials to children in extreme poverty.
  • Help of Ojai – $15,000 – To support food delivery to seniors and provide a safe lunch program to homeless.
  • Manna – $11,000 – To help provide food and basic essentials and help meet unprecedented demand.
  • Cabrillo Economic Development Corp – $5,000 – Providing low-income families with assistance, including food, rent, utilities, and broadband access.
  • Nyland Promise – $5,000 – To support the feeding of lunches to the poorest population in Ventura County.

New Charitable Giving Incentives

It is with a grateful heart that we share that the 900-page CARES Act under section 2204 includes a universal tax deduction of up to $300 for individual donors that they can use on their 2020 tax return. This provision reinstates the opportunity for gifts of all sizes to qualify as tax-deductible.

While this above-the-line deduction doesn’t apply to donors who itemize their deductions, an additional tax incentive that increases the cap on charitable contributions from 60% of a donor’s AGI to 100% will benefit itemizers, too.

805 UndocuFund (COVID-19) Reactivated


Unlike U.S. citizens, undocumented immigrants do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Those now without normal pay due to the novel coronavirus outbreak will struggle to make payments or feed their families.

“Undocumented immigrants have been the backbone of our economy,” said FLA executive director Eder Gaona-Macedo, who himself was undocumented until 2016. “We have got to make sure that we have a safety net for undocumented families and that they do have funds to get them through this pandemic.”

Aera Energy Donates $355,000 for Emergency COVID-19 Funding to Support Several California Communities

Donate Now to the Rapid Response Fund to Double Your Impact


Aera has given VCCF $50,000 in immediate funding to be distributed through the Ventura County Rapid Response Fund for COVID-19 recovery efforts. On top of the donation, Aera is challenging our community to contribute matching funds, in any amount, in an effort to increase support for nonprofit organizations addressing the needs of individuals and families with food and housing support, childcare, wage replacement, mental health care, and more. during this pandemic. VCCF is proud to partner with direct service providers…

Personal Protective Equipment Donations Needed
for Local Hospitals, First Responders and Medical Facilities

The County of Ventura and Ventura County Operational Area Emergency Operations Center are putting out a call to the community and local businesses for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following items are requested:

  • Procedure Mask with Face Shield
  • Isolation Gowns, All Styles
  • Surgical Masks, All Styles
  • N95 Masks, All Styles
  • Dacron Culture Swabs
  • Goggles
  • Tyvak Suits
  • Thermometers
  • New and unopened iPads, so that isolated patients may FaceTime with their families

The addresses for donation drop off locations are as follows:

  • VCCF address: 4001 Mission Oaks Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93012
  • Two addresses for Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin:
    • 2301 E. Daily Drive, Suite 200, Camarillo, CA 93010

Project Understanding Needs

Our friends at Project Understanding are in need of the following items to serve our community during these challenging times:
  • Brand New Plastic Bags – used to bag the groceries for the clients
  • Masks
  • Gloves
  • Hand sanitizer, and any other cleaning products to wipe down counters
  • Paper towels
  • Baby items – Diapers, wipes, formula.
Donations can be made at Ventura County Community Foundation
4001 Mission Oaks Blvd, Camarillo, CA 93012

The 2020 Census is Here – Be Counted Today!

We know these are stressful times, but now more than ever, it is crucial that we get an accurate count of Ventura County to help create a healthier, thriving community for the next 10 years. Remember, you can respond to the Census from the comfort and safety of your own home. The census questionnaire is only 9 questions and takes just five minutes to respond.

Stay healthy, wash your hands, and respond to the 2020 Census!



Literally, millions and millions of dollars are at stake for the essential programs that help to mend the gaps in our society and allow all to live in dignity. The distribution of more than $675 billion in federal funds, grants and support to states, counties and communities are based on census data. That money is spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs!

Webinars + Additional Resources


Wednesday, April 8
2:00 – 3:30 p.m.


WEBINAR: Navigating Local, State and Federal Resources
Available Through The CARES Act

Next webinar: Wednesday, April 8
12:30-1:30 p.m.

Stay in Place, Maintain your Space and Cover your Face!

Reminder! Medical masks such as surgical and N95 masks are in short supply and needed most by healthcare professionals. To prevent shortages, the public should avoid purchasing these masks. Opt for a bandana, neck gaiter or homemade mask!


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