Power of Purpose – October 9, 2020

 In Newsletters

Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,

Happy New Year! October marks the beginning of VCCF’s fiscal year, and this evening, my thoughts turn to you and all that we have accomplished this past year together.

First and foremost, we are celebrating an unprecedented year of giving! As of September 30th, over $26,700,000 has been contributed to the Ventura County Community Foundation to support:

  • The incredible work of hundreds of local nonprofit organizations
  • Scholarships for hundreds of students
  • Cash assistance to families struggling due to COVID-19
  • Financial assistance for families impacted by the Thomas, Hill, and Woolsey wildfires
  • Outreach for the 2020 Census
  • Farmworker housing and support for our undocumented neighbors
  • Cash assistance for local small businesses
  • And so much more!

We have also welcomed over 10,000 new donors to the VCCF Family – your collective generosity has been inspiring! What we can build together in the future is tremendous!

Additionally, many of you have taken time this past year to work on leaving a legacy to our community that goes on into perpetuity. VCCF has worked on over $98 million in planned giving this year, most of which is dedicated to serving Ventura County through our local nonprofits and scholarships for local students. Thank you!

In the coming weeks, we will publish a report that highlights our collective efforts more, but in the meantime, I hope you will join me in celebrating the power of community and to marvel at the generosity that is Ventura County.

Most importantly, we are grieving the loss of one of Ventura County’s most influential philanthropists, Mary Leavens Schwabauer. Our hearts go out to her son David, Michael, Brianne, and the entire Leavens family. As VCCF’s first female Board Chair, Mary has had a profound impact on our ability to best be of service to Ventura County and we will miss her always.

With gratitude,

Remembering Mary Leavens Schwabauer,
A Woman of Endless Generosity


She was a philanthropist and a historian, a mentor to many and an inspiration to countless others who credit her for making Moorpark and Ventura County a better place to live.

The community is remembering Mary Leavens Schwabauer, who died Sept. 19 at age 93, as a woman who dedicated her life to serving others through her work with more than a dozen organizations and museums.

“She was a woman of great poise and endless generosity,” said Vanessa Bechtel, president and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation. “The impact that she had is unparalleled. I cannot think of someone who was involved in the creation of more community organizations…”


The Farmworker Household Assistance Program (FHAP) was created to support Ventura County farmworkers who have been economically impacted by COVID-19.

FHAP is a collaboration between agricultural employers and farmworker advocates working in partnership with the Ventura County Community Foundation, House Farm Workers!, the Farmworker Resource Program, and the County of Ventura. In a matter of days, over 4,000 farmworker families applied for support.

Every penny of your donation will go directly to farmworker families who are struggling to pay rent and other essential bills. Please help us reach our goal of $400,000.

Protecting Our Essential Farmworker Families During COVID-19: Conversations with Ellen Brokaw

We sat down [virtually] with one of the leading voices for farmworker housing, Ellen Brokaw, chair of the Brokaw Ranch Co. and co-founder of House Farm Workers!, to find out how the Farmworker Household Assistance Program (FHAP) came to be and how Ventura County residents can ensure some of our most vulnerable community members can receive critical financial support in the time of COVID-19. Read the full story here.

Learn even more about the Farmworker Household Assistance Program — from Ellen Brokaw herself! In the following audio interview, Ellen Brokaw discusses the Farmworker Household Assistance program, held at Ventura County Community Foundation. Listen to the interview here.

There is Still Time to Be Counted!
Respond to the 2020 Census Today


A federal judge has issued an order to clarify that, for now, the U.S. Census Bureau must continue counting for the 2020 census through Oct. 31.

Californians should not wait—the time is now. 

Complete your 2020 Census form today. Please respond online, call or complete your paper forms to ensure you, your family and your community get your fair share of resources and representation for the next 10 years.

The Census on Q95.9

Vanessa recently spoke with Q95.9 radio station to discuss the critical importance of the 2020 Census in our community for the next 10 years. Thank you Q95.9 for helping us spread the word! Listen to the conversation below.

Upcoming AFP Funders Panel:
Engaging with Community Foundations


Beyond grant applications, how can fundraisers engage with Community Foundations to create meaningful partnerships and further their goals?

If you have ever wanted to learn more about engaging with your local community foundation, now is your chance! Register today.

Recording – State of Philanthropy: A Conversation with Community Foundation CEOs


We are so grateful to the Pacific Coast Business Times and Founder, Henry Dubroff, for hosting a meaningful conversation on the State of Philanthropy with Jackie, Carrera, President & CEO of the Santa Barbara Foundation, Heidi McPherson, President & CEO of The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, and our own Vanessa Bechtel, President & CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation.

New West Symphony 2020-2021 Season


From October through June, the New West Symphony will present 8 virtual mini-festivals that highlight our extraordinary region and communities we serve. Our Ventura County and Conejo Valley neighbors and friends represent traditions with deep roots in family and music.

Please join this musical tour that will bring you closer to the traditions you know and those that may change the way you view the world!

Ventura County Community Foundation is a proud supporter of New West Symphony.

Power of Community

Good News from YOUR Ventura County Community

power of community header

This month we are proud to feature Nyeland Promise. Nyeland Promise has done exceptional work supporting and feeding our communities throughout the COVID-19 crises, in addition to helping get out the census count for Ventura County. Ventura County Community Foundation is a proud supporter of Nyeland Promise.

Nyeland Promise

Nyeland Promise is designed to provide the residents of Nyeland Acres with support, resources, advocacy, encouragement, services and basic needs to transform their lives and families. These goals were inspired by the United Nations Goals for Sustainable Development adopted in 2015 to “Transform our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”​

Their vision is to transform Nyeland Acres into a prosperous community filled with hope and pride. Here are some of their programs in action!

Nyeland Promise has done exceptional work supporting and feeding our communities thorughout the COVID-19 crises, in addition to helping get out the census count for Ventura County. Ventura County Community Foundation is a proud supporter of Nyeland Promise.


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