Power of Purpose Newsletter – June 17, 2021

 In Newsletters

Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,

Last month, as a result of your continued generosity, the VCCF Board of Directors approved $3,367,026.84 in transformational grants to our community. Highlights include:

  • $1,124,100 in scholarships to local students pursuing higher education and career training;
  • $210,000 to fund a 4-Unit Tiny Home Village at the Ventura County Family Justice Center to serve families and pets fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking situations;
  • $577,550.42 to support the efforts of 34 local organizations helping with vaccine outreach and education. This funding was made possible due to our treasured partnership with the County of Ventura and the 2020 Census Complete Count Committee, now referred to as the Complete Reach Committee;
  • $158,185 to Interface Children & Family Services to fund Ventura County’s Long-term Recovery Group, dedicated to assisting families impacted by the Thomas, Hill, and Woolsey wildfires;
  • $1,297,191.42 in additional grants to dozens of local nonprofits, including American Red Cross of Ventura County, Future Leaders of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of Moorpark & Simi Valley, Camarillo, and Santa Clara Valley, Turning Point Foundation, Livingston Memorial VNA, Ventura Land Trust, Alzheimer’s Association California Central Coast Chapter, CASA, KidSTREAM, Museum of Ventura County, Ventura County Botanic Gardens, Food Share, Ojai Music Festival, and more!

I’m beyond inspired by the current and future impact of these meaningful grants and cannot thank you enough for your continued commitment and service to Ventura County and beyond!

I also want to thank all those who helped bring awareness to May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the mental health of people of all ages. Now, more than ever, it is critical to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and share resources.

According to Give An Hour, one in five in our nation has a diagnosable mental health condition and more Americans are expected to die this year by suicide than in car accidents. We can all help change this by building a culture of mental health, encouraging everyone to pay attention to their emotional wellbeing, sharing tools, like the Five Signs of Emotional Suffering and the Healthy Habits of Emotional Wellbeing, so that we all have a common language to identify when someone is suffering and how we can all stay emotionally healthy. Please learn more by visiting www.giveanhour.org.

Until next month,
My best to you,

Vanessa Bechtel
President & CEO

Mental Health Needs to Be a Top Priority for Philanthropy. Here’s Why


From May 10 – 16, Give An Hour hosted A Week to Change Direction, a global event dedicated to changing the culture of mental health by encouraging everyone to stay emotionally healthy. VCCF President & CEO, Vanessa Bechtel, was honored to be invited as a panelist on their session entitled, Collective Impact: Communities Collaborating to Improve Mental Health with Randy Phelps, Ph.D., CEO, Give an Hour, Cara McNulty, DPA, President, Aetna Behavior Health, Christina Neider, Ed.D., Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Phoenix, and Hal J. Roesch II, Commander-in-Chief, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

There is so much we can do together to address mental health needs. Interested in learning more, please visit the article in Inside Philanthropy by clicking the button below.

COVID-19 Complete Reach Committee


Our community is once again pulling together to support our local economy and region. The 2020 Census Complete Count Committee (now Complete Reach Committee) has launched a public outreach campaign to build community immunity in partnership with the County of Ventura and the Ventura County Community Foundation.

After Ventura County went from being the 59th most at-risk county of an undercount out of more than 3,000 counties, to being in the top 95th percentile in the nation for an accurate self-response during the Census count, it is clear that our Complete Reach Committee of over 300 members is a powerhouse of dedicated leaders and trusted messengers.

Click the button below to visit VaccinateVC.org to learn more!

Ventura County Botanical Gardens & Los Padres ForestWatch: Virtual Presentations


Last week, the VCCF Board of Directors and Donor Peer Network met virtually with Dr. Joe Cahill from the Ventura Botanical Gardens and Jeff Kuyper from the Los Padres ForestWatch. The two presented on the amazing work their organizations are doing to preserve our local environment and educate about the nature within our communities. A recording of this talk is available for your viewing pleasure to learn more about these organizations and ways you can support their missions.

On June 17th, the Los Padres ForestWatch will be hosting their 14th Annual Ojai Wild Silent Virtual Auction to benefit the Help of Ojai. Click here for more details or contact Jeff at jeff@lpfw.org.

Click the button below to watch the presentations from these incredible non-profits.


With Your Help, 805 UndocuFund Distributes Over $5 Million!

The 805 UndocuFund was launched in 2018 with the belief that during the critical recovery period following a natural disaster, undocumented residents should not be excluded from emergency relief funding made available to all other residents. In March 2020, the 805 UndocuFund was reactivated in response to COVID-19, and since then, the 805 UndocuFund has granted over $5 million in direct assistance to more than 12,000 undocumented individuals in over 4,000 households.

To learn more, check out the latest video from the 805 UndocuFund!


Welcome Lauren Graf!

lauren graf

Lauren Graf, originally from Carpinteria, CA, is the newest addition to the team! Lauren is a recent graduate of California Lutheran University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in both art and communication with an emphasis in advertising and public relations, graduating summa cum laude as one of her class’s valedictorians. Lauren now serves as the Administrative Assistant to the Office of the President and is pursuing her lifelong passion of supporting community-based nonprofits. Learn more about Lauren here.

Welcome to the team, Lauren!

Small Space with Window for Rent Available at
VCCF Nonprofit Center

vccf nonprofit center

If you’re looking for a new location for your nonprofit, look no further! The VCCF Nonprofit Center has space available on our second floor to rent for a qualified 501(c)(3) organization. It consists of 315 useable and 376 rentable square feet and is configured as two distinct rooms. The lease also includes use of the second floor shared conference room and kitchen.

For inquiries, please contact Bonnie Gilles.

Power of Community

Good News from YOUR Ventura County Community

power of community header

This month we celebrate the National Search Dog & Rescue Foundation. This nonprofit, based in Santa Paula, is dedicated to strengthening disaster response by rescuing and recruiting dogs and partnering them with first responders. Together, they find people buried alive or missing, and our hearts are filled with gratitude for their heroic efforts during the Montecito mudslides.

If you haven’t yet attended the National Search Dog & Rescue Foundation Graduation Ceremony, you are in for a treat! Last week, the Training Team officially handed the leashes of five incredible search dog graduates to their new handlers. A recording of this ceremony is linked below.

For more information, please visit their website. They also had great recent coverage at KEYT News and People Magazine. Click the links to read more about this phenomenal organization.

Watch the full video of the graduation ceremony here!


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