Power of Purpose Newsletter – January 28, 2021

 In Newsletters

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” – Pablo Picasso

Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,

One of the most inspirational meetings I have been in since the start of COVID-19 was with Natalia Staneva, CEO of Ventura County’s New West Symphony. Natalia’s leadership during this challenging time of COVID-19 has been nothing short of remarkable! New West Symphony’s new series, Global Sounds, Local Cultures, is not only innovative and accessible from our homes, but she is helping to cultivate resiliency and a spirit of connectedness during this time of isolation.

As we embrace 2021, let us not forget how important art and culture is in bringing us together. Whether it is music, painting, theater, poetry, dance, literature… the arts unite us in profoundly monumental ways.

Today’s newsletter also features the Museum of Ventura County, whose online exhibits mesmerized me this Saturday morning. Elena Brokaw, the Barbara Barnard Smith Executive Director at the Museum, immediately pivoted at the start of COVID-19 to bring our local history and culture alive online. I invite you to explore the Museum’s phenomenal online exhibits and specialized experiences for all age groups!

We want to honor the contributions of our local arts and culture organizations. These nonprofits help form the backbone of what it means to be a community. They keep our history alive, help to give our lives meaning, and celebrate the diversity that is Ventura County.

Over the next several newsletters, we will feature more of these amazing nonprofits. In the meantime, enjoy!

Yours in Service,

Ventura County Arts & Culture
During COVID-19

An Update from the Museum of Ventura County


The Museum of Ventura County has been busy since March, delivering new and exciting free programming to the community during the pandemic. Here is a snapshot of events that have been happening:

  • In September MVC proudly presented the first in a new series – Museum of Ventura County’s Changemaker Series: A Zoom Conversation with civil rights activists Dolores Huerta, Jorge Corralejo, David Damian Figueroa, and Chief Curator Anna Bermudez.
  • In October, MVC offered an onsite collaborative Community Altar and live streaming event with Dr. Roberto Vargas, teaching hundreds of viewers how to celebrate Días de los Muertos by remembering their loved ones and creating a Family Altar, or ofrenda. MVC also assembled and distributed over 1,300 free “Grab n’ Go” bags of arts and crafts materials, including those for Dias de los Muertos and other Agriculture Museum programming.
  • The Museum’s education department capped the year by offering live virtual tours from the Museum for students & educators. From October to year’s end, MVC served over 500 schoolchildren with this new program, in addition to 15 virtual learning modules on the website, all created to fill education needs since March 2020.

For more information about MVC programming, click here

New West Symphony’s Week-Long Holocaust Remembrance Programming


Top left photo: Jerusalem Quartet, photo credit Felix Broede
Center bottom photo: Alyssa Park, Violinist, New West Symphony Concertmaster

The internationally-renowned Jerusalem Quartet will join with principal artists from the New West Symphony and guests to present exclusive Holocaust Remembrance programming, culminating in a live-streamed performance January 31. The online concert will be part of the symphony’s week-long programming to commemorate and honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism.

The Holocaust Remembrance concert is the third “mini-festival” in the New West Symphony’s reimagined season, created in response to ongoing COVID-19 related restrictions and the symphony’s strong commitment to keep the beauty and healing power of music alive during these unprecedented times.

Ventura County Wildfire Recovery Update


Last month, VCCF awarded $875,000 to support survivors of the Thomas, Hill, and Woolsey Fires with housing assistance. We are grateful to Totally Local VC Agricultural Education Foundation, YMCA – Southeast Ventura County, and Interface Children and Family Services who will be distributing this direct support to 250 very low-income families.

  • $125,000 to provide $2,500 to 50 Thomas Fire survivor households
  • $125,000 to provide $2,500 to 50 Woolsey Fire survivor households in Ventura County
  • $125,000 to provide $2,500 to 50 Woolsey Fire survivor households in Los Angeles County
  • $500,000 to provide $5,000 to 100 Woolsey Fire households in Ventura or Los Angeles Counties.

Thousands of Ventura County Residents Come Together to Help Those in Need – VCCF COVID-19 Update


Since the start of the global pandemic, Ventura County Community Foundation donors have contributed just over $14 million to local nonprofits serving our community during this challenging time. Together, you have helped so many, including:

  • 385 seniors through the delivery of 150,753 meals with Conejo Valley Senior Concerns
  • Close to 500 families on the verge of homelessness with direct cash support to help pay essential bills through the Southeast Ventura County YMCA
  • Close to 3,000 undocumented families, mostly farmworkers and local service workers, with direct cash assistance for rent and basic needs
  • 3,500 farmworker families impacted by COVID-19 with safe housing
  • More than 2,000 local small businesses directly supported by the Economic Development Collaborative and Women’s Economic Ventures and nearly an additional 4,400 small businesses reached through informational webinars to help businesses obtain resources and navigate the challenges caused by COVID-19
  • 150,000 people in need of food each month, through your support of FOOD Share Inc.
  • 83 local Veterans navigating housing insecurity during COVID-19 through support of Gold Coast Veterans
  • Over 6,400 families who could better cope with school closures by providing safe environments for learning and education for children, including providing lunches and additional support services through the funding of Safe Passage, local YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs

The list goes on and on! Additional nonprofits receiving support include:
Interface Children & Family Services, 2-1-1, Future Leaders of America, Give An Hour, Nyeland Promise, CAREGIVERS: Volunteers Assisting the Elderly, Casa Pacifica Centers for Children & Family Services, Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity, Harbor House, Lutheran Social Services of Southern California, Mercy House Living Centers, Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), Gabriel’s House (a program of The Kingdom Center), Turning Point Foundation, Ventura County Family Justice Center Foundation, Villa Esperanza Services, Westminister Free Clinic, Women of Substance & Men of Honor, Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, Secure Beginnings, Kinsa, Inc., Cabrillo Economic Development Corp, Conejo Community Outreach, Conejo Free Clinic, Project Understanding of San Buenaventura, Rescue Mission Alliance, Community Solutions, Inc. Ventura Case Management, Spirit of Santa Paula, Adelante Comunidad Conejo, Help of Ojai, Manna Conejo Valley Food Distribution Center, Inc., and many more!

VCCF 2021 Scholarship Applications Due January 29

scholarships-2021 applications open

Important Nonprofit Updates

Find Grants — Access to Foundation Directory Online Extended until end of 2021


“It’s a one-stop treasure trove of funding possibilities for nonprofit professionals – simplifying the research process to get to the ask faster! Highly recommend.”

—Jenn Delacroix, MPA, Chairperson of Piper Foundation

VCCF is excited to share that our subscription to the Foundation Directory Online (FDO) is available, via a special remote access link, until the end of 2021!

Save the Date: Center for Nonprofit Leadership’s
Annual Celebration of the Sector


Did you know? The Center for Nonprofit Leadership hosted and co-convened 32 webinars and virtual workshops, serving 3,179 attendees since mid-March 2020, representing a 250% increase in leaders served in just one year. See more exciting workshops scheduled for 2021 here.

Power of Community

Good News from YOUR Ventura County Community

power of community header

This month we are proud to feature Secure Beginnings, a nonprofit based in Ojai, CA dedicated to providing support services such as classes, workshops, counseling, newborn home visits, and more to families with children 0-5 years in Ventura County, California. Ventura County Community Foundation is a supporter of Secure Beginnings and was able to help them continue their mission during the pandemic with a grant from the Rapid Response Fund.


As pandemic-related stressors mount, caregiver stress is having a cascading effect upon our youngest community members. Brain researchers have repeatedly demonstrated the impact of parental mental health on early brain development in children, affecting children’s outcomes for life. Secure Beginnings is dedicated to mitigating the negative impact of stressors on adults, and therefore infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Through partnership with many community organizations and donors, along with the substantial Rapid Response Grant from VCCF received in early June 2020, Secure Beginnings has been able to respond to the unprecedented demand for diapers and wipes by vulnerable Ventura County families.

Secure Beginnings now is serving over seven times more children per bank than in 2019, and in 2020 distributed diapers for over 50,000 diaper changes. They are now providing diapers and wipes for over 250 children per month.

While Secure Beginnings’ site is closed due to COVID restrictions, they are creatively partnered with the Ojai Unified School District as their site host. With this partnership, families are able to partake in the district’s free food program while attending the diaper bank. As families attend diaper banks, they learn about Secure Beginnings’ additional “wrap-around” programs including Online Parenting Workshops, Counseling, 1:1 Parent Consultations, Young Parent support, Latino Parent support, and Breastfeeding/First Feeding Care Line, and the Newborn Support Program. Program plans are underway to expand services in both Spanish and English language to these diaper bank participants that include additional parenting supports and learning readiness initiatives.

The generosity of our community and donors has been a lifeline. Through your support of Secure Beginnings, you’ve provided a vital safety net for local families with very young children when COVID-19 brought urgent and profound material and emotional needs into their lives.

Diaper need, like food need, is a top contributor to parental distress. Since COVID-19, need at the diaper banks has skyrocketed by 600%! Your support of Secure Beginnings directly addresses this stress, enabling parents to better provide the consistently nurturing, predictable, and responsive care that young children need in order to thrive. This secure beginning is vital for children to grow up to be successful — in school, society, and for lifelong mental health — which in turn impacts generations to come.


Testimonials from Local Families

“Los panales son siempre una gran necesidad. A veces no compro algunas otras cosas porque necesito comprar panales y no alcanzo. Agadezco mucho recibiendo los panales, gracias.” [Diapers are always a great need. Sometimes I don’t buy other things because I need to buy diapers. I really appreciate receiving the diapers, thank you.]

“I never ask for help but with my husband out of work and newborn twins, plus my two other children the diaper bank has really saved us!”

“You guys helped me out when I was at my lowest.
Gave me hope and so much love.”

Donor Testimonial

“We have to ensure that this generation of babies, young children, and young families come out of this time of pandemic healthy and resilient – that we don’t have a damaged generation. Secure Beginnings is the lifeline for that. Investing in young families right now is investing in our future in a completely direct way.”
—Caryn Bosson

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