VCCF Power of Purpose – April 2024

 In Newsletters

Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,

With Earth Month coming to a close, we dedicate our newsletter to the environment and how we can work together to make a difference.

The need is urgent. Reported by the Washington Post, Ventura County was identified as the fastest warming county in the continental United States. In 2021, the Ventura County Civic Alliance identified drought and climate change as the biggest threats facing our community.

The good news is that 76% of local donors in a VCCF study identified the environment as one of their top two giving priorities, with most donors sharing that they were unsure of where to give or how to make a difference.

To help with their philanthropic goals, VCCF embarked on a learning journey, interviewing over 50 local nonprofits and launching the VCCF Environmental Initiative to raise funds for supporting and granting to local collaborative efforts.

In November, we received a $25,000 award through the Community Benefits Grant from Clean Power Alliance and Calpine Energy Solutions in support of a grant writing specialist to help us raise funds. Since then, we’ve already secured an additional $1,600,000 to support local environmental initiatives across Ventura County and the Central Coast!

Additionally, this month the inaugural VCCF Educational Series on Animal Welfare took off with passionate community members around Ojai. The tour included the Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast’s Monarch Breeding and Research Institute, the Ojai Raptor Center, the Humane Society of Ventura County, and the California Coastal Horse Rescue. It was a wonderful day full of our favorite two- and four-legged friends! A special thank you to the VCCF Animal Welfare Taskforce for making the day extra special.

I am beyond grateful to facilitate VCCF’s Environmental and Animal Welfare Initiatives with our community’s support. To learn more about how you can support or participate, please reach out to

With gratitude,
Calleen Pardinas, Philanthropic Services Officer & Board Liaison

Edison International Awards $1 Mil for Environmental Workforce Collaborative

The Ventura County Community Foundation was awarded $1 million in support of the Environmental Workforce Collaborative in partnership with CREW, Safe Passage Youth Foundation, Santa Monica Mountains Fund, Ventura Regional Fire Safe Council, and Los Padres ForestWatch!

The Environmental Workforce Collaborative is committed to a multi-pronged strategy yielding direct interventions to mitigate and adapt to the risks we face while building toward a more sustainable, thriving region. This Collaborative was made possible by funding from Edison International.

On the Road with VCCF Animal Welfare Tour

Members of the VCCF Animal Welfare Steering Committee and donor community hopped on the bus for a tour of several VCCF Animal Welfare grant recipients, including Camp Arnaz & Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast, the Ojai Raptor Center, the Humane Society of Ventura County, and California Coastal Horse Rescue. Come along and see how these nonprofits are improving the lives of animals in our community!

Meet Our Newest Board Members

Headshot of Mike Januzik

Headshot of Leslie Leavens

Headshot of Dr. Cesar Morales

Headshot of Brando Pozzi

Headshot of Dr. Richard Yao

VCCF welcomes five incredible community leaders as new members of its Board of Directors: Michael Januzik, Leslie Leavens, Dr. César Morales, Brando Pozzi and Dr. Richard Yao.

“VCCF is honored to have these five esteemed leaders join our board,” said VCCF Board chair Sean Leonard. “Their wealth of experience and unique skills will greatly contribute to our efforts in serving Ventura County. Their dedication and passion for our community is inspiring, and each brings valuable insights that will advance our strategic initiatives.”

VCCF Donor Spotlight – Armando Lopez

This month’s VCCF donor spotlight features Armando Lopez, who shares his story on creating the Children’s Workshop for the Arts, and how his cancer diagnosis impacted his view on philanthropy and giving for future generations.

Power of Community

Good News from YOUR Ventura Community

Rotary’s New District Grant to Protect the Environment

Rotary District 5240’s Earthwise Education Program promotes environmental sustainability through school programs focused on food waste reduction, composting, and connecting students with eco-friendly practices in nutrition and agriculture. Their initiative focuses on empowering more than 80 schools throughout all four counties within their district through environmental sustainability programs.

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