Power of Purpose — May 31, 2022

 In Newsletters

Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,

Like each of you, our hearts are heavy with the devastating news of the Uvalde shooting, in the wake of the Buffalo, Orange County, and hundreds of other mass gun violence events in our country so far this year alone. Many of you have reached out to see how you might best be able to help those affected by the most recent tragedies. The nonprofit organizations listed below are partners we know and trust, and they are working diligently to help. We are happy to connect you if of interest anytime.

If we can be of further support to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here for you.

Jeffrey Lambert, VCCF Chief Operating Officer

Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,

This morning, as I listened to the album Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens, I thought of you. Recently, I learned that Stevens created his 1970 album after recuperating from tuberculosis at the young age of 22. Quite timely, I came across this fact during my own recent struggle with a more difficult case of Covid-19. I must say I found such peace in Stevens’ music during my recovery process, and, as we lift up Mental Health Awareness Month, I encourage us all to celebrate the power of the arts to heal.

Angelina Leaños, local Youth Poet Laureate, captured this powerful relationship between our emotional wellbeing and the arts in her exquisite poem “Art, Mi Amor.” Reading Leaños’ moving piece reminds me that we have such a wealth of local talent in our community. Without a doubt, Ventura County is a leader in the nation for creativity, being recently named one of the Top 10 Most Arts-Vibrant Mid-Sized Communities in the U.S.

Please help spread the word on the many ways to enjoy the arts in our community, including seeing live performances at Teatro in downtown Oxnard; plays at Rubicon Theatre Company; live music at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Theatres and the Oxnard Performing Arts Center; compelling exhibits at Studio Channel Islands, the Museum of Ventura County, and Santa Paula Art Museum; and more! Most of these treasured nonprofit organizations sponsor community days and ways to participate regardless of financial means.

Finally, I’d like to recognize Ventura County Board of Supervisors for their recent approval of a new Arts and Culture Manager. This exciting leadership position will be committed to helping our local arts organizations thrive and connect with government funding opportunities. We believe this position couldn’t be more important to the health and vibrancy of our community.

My best to you,
Vanessa Bechtel, VCCF President & CEO

Art, Mi Amor” by Angelina Leaños 

Watch 2020-2021 Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate Angelina read her powerful poem “Art, Mi Amor, a moving piece about the importance of the arts in our world and lives.

Angelina is a student at California Lutheran University. In high school, she won the Poetry Out Loud competition at both the school and county levels and has since returned as a recitation coach for Ventura County. She is a board member for the Ventura County Arts Council and is also the youngest poet in California Poets in the Schools’ history on their Board of Directors.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

As we wrap up May, we’d like to celebrate National Mental Heath Awareness Month. Millions of Americans live with mental illness, and this month’s goal are fighting the stigma of talking about mental health, providing support for those experiencing mental illness, educating the public, and advocating for policies that support those living with mental illness.

The need for these changes have become even more evident over the last two years during the pandemic. In 2021, Interface served more than 12,000 Ventura County residents in need of mental health or trauma treatment. This is why VCCF supports Interface Children & Family Services’ mental health and trauma treatment programs.

VCCF Scholarships – $1.4 Million
Awarded this Season!

VCCF is proud to announce that we will be sending out our 2022 scholarships to hundreds of bright and deserving students across the county! This year, over $1,417,700 in scholarship awards are being sent out to 318 individual students, with a total of 461 scholarship awards this year. Congratulations to all of the brilliant, talented and hardworking students who have persisted in pursuing their education in the midst of a pandemic.

This year’s awards are an incredible trend from $1.05 million for 227 students in 2019, and the giving has only increased since then thanks to the life-changing generosity of VCCF’s scholarship donors who continue to lift up the future of Ventura County.

While students wrap up their semesters and head off for their summer vacations, the VCCF Scholarship teamScholarship Director Dr. Cristina Miranda and Scholarship Assistant Malena McKaba, have been working tirelessly to finish this season and send out this year’s scholarships. We thank you both for your hard work!

And a final thank you to the VCCF Scholarship Committee. These volunteers made it possible for VCCF and our donors to award nearly $1.4 million in scholarships to our local students. We appreciate you all and would not be able to accomplish this without you!

Meet Laura Brooks

VCCF had the opportunity to speak with our donor-client Laura Brooks and hear about her passion for VCCF’s scholarship program in her volunteering as a Scholarship Committee Reader Leader and her son’s memorial scholarship. Click the button below to read her interview.

VCCF COO Named AICP Fellow

We would like to congratulate VCCF Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Lambert for being named to the prestigious American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows for his outstanding achievements in urban planning. Jeff and the rest of the 2022 Class of Fellows were honored at the National Planning Conference in San Diego earlier this month to receive this award. The AICP College of Fellows is the highest honor in the planning profession. Fellows are nominated by their peers to recognize their significant contributions as professional planners, as their efforts have left outstanding and transformational improvements to their communities. Congratulations, Jeff!

Power of Community

Good News from YOUR Ventura County Community

Canine Adoption Rescue League
CARL’s Pet Care Center

The Ventura County Community Foundation recently had the opportunity to visit CARL’s Pet Care Center in Santa Paula as part of the foundation’s site visits for its Animal Welfare Fund. The Canine Adoption Rescue League, which manages the center, is an all-breed, no-kill dog rescue and adoption nonprofit, and its mission is to advocate for animal welfare, seeking to end the needless deaths of companion animals through their adoption, education, and outreach programs. Since 1996, CARL has rescued and placed thousands of unwanted, sick, abandoned, and homeless dogs.

Events Calendar

Nonprofit Leadership Council – Aspiring for Equity: Uncovering the Path Forward with the Equitable Nonprofit Workplace Report
Wednesday, June 15 at 9 to 11:30 a.m. (Hybrid, Zoom and CLU’s Oxnard Campus)
Join us as Envision Consulting leads us into a deep dive into the 2021 Equitable Nonprofit Workplace Report for Southern California. Following the presentation the CNL and Envision will lead reflections together as a community in our collective path forward. Thanks to 415 nonprofit employees and 115 nonprofit organizations who completed their surveys, we can provide insights into topics including: how the Great Reshuffle is impacting our sector; how our sector is performing with respect to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion indicators; and how we fare in providing development and advancement opportunities to our workforce.
Both virtual tickets and in-person tickets are available. If you plan to attend in-person, please note that there is a limited number of in-person tickets available. In-person tickets are offered at a first come first served basis. There is no fee to attend, but RSVP a must.
If you plan to join in-person, doors will be open with fresh coffee and community at 8:30 a.m. Click here to register.

VCCF Virtual Donor Lunch & Learn
Thursday, June 16 at 12 to 1 p.m. (Virtual)
Hear from local nonprofits about the incredible work they are doing in your community, joined by like-minded community members and donors. These informational calls are free to attend and started in the beginning of COVID-19 to better understand the needs of Ventura County’s nonprofits.
Please join VCCF for a Virtual Donor Lunch & Learn on Thursday, April 28, 2022 from 12 to 1 p.m. We will be joined by Supervisor Linda Parks to speak about an upcoming project in Ventura, as well as an update on the VCCF Environmental Initiative. Click here to register.

Juneteenth Freedom Day Celebration
Saturday, June 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Hybrid, Facebook and Plaza Park, Oxnard)
The Juneteenth Celebration of Ventura County will be holding their 31st annual event on Saturday, June 18 at the downtown Plaza Park in Oxnard and live-streamed on Facebook.
This event celebrates the 1865 historical Proclamation of Freedom from slavery in Texas. Vintage attire is welcomed, and to celebrate this historic occasion, the event will have the Buffalo Soldier Mounted Cavalry Unit in attendance and showcasing the American Soldier of that era.
For more info visit JuneteenthOxnard.org.

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