Stories of Impact

From supporting community initiatives like the SPCA for Monterey County to providing assistance to local youth programs, we work alongside our partners to effect change in Monterey, Santa Cruz, or San Benito Counties.

Located in King City, Sol Treasures is the only service provider of arts education to south Monterey County schools and the greater community. At affordable housing sites and migrant center, Sol Treasures provides afterschool arts classes, music instruction, and afterschool homework assistance for students ages 6-18. Sol Treasures also presents two children’s theater productions, adult and youth community choruses, a middle school band, and youth orchestra.

The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center features contemporary art and the history of Santa Cruz County through a permanent collection, exhibitions, events, arts summer camps, festivals, and lectures hosting about 50,000 visitors each year. The Museum’s Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz serves as a central gathering place. The space incorporates public art with an outdoor seating area, interactive sculptures, ongoing performances, a public market featuring local food, and a “secret garden” in the back patio for families and museum events.

Coastal Watershed Council was founded in 1995 in Santa Cruz to educate the community about local watersheds connected to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Coastal Watershed Council trains farmers to monitor runoff­ from agricultural fields, assists community leaders to comply with state and federal storm water regulations, and collaborates with schools to develop lesson plans and field trips. By engaging the community in the care of the San Lorenzo River and empowering youth with science skills and the inspiration, the Coastal Watershed Council is creating a next generation of environmental stewards.

Girls’ Health in Girls’ Hands evolved from a girl-led research project to identify services needed by pre-teen and teen girls, into a countywide collaborative to help girls gain better access to health information and make positive lifestyle decisions. Since its debut in 2009, hundreds of girls have accessed more comprehensive and integrated health information, and developed leadership skills to influence position changes at their schools and in their communities. Six partner agencies provide services at 30 program sites. In 2014, the collaborative served over 700 girls and demonstrated significant improvement in girls’ healthy behaviors.

The SPCA for Monterey County is the largest animal welfare agency in the county providing many services including adoption, spay/neuter clinic, wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, equine and livestock center, and educational programs. Each year, the SPCA serves over 12,000 animals and places over 2,500 animals into loving homes. In 2015, humane officers responded to 730 inquiries, investigated 1,285 cases, provided education to 103 individuals, and helped prosecute 12 cases of animal cruelty.

Cabrillo College serves Santa Cruz and the greater Monterey Bay region, and with one of the largest community college scholarship programs in California, over 1,000 scholarships with distributed to students to help them achieve their academic dreams. Monterey Peninsula Foundation has supported a wide range of needs at Cabrillo College, including the expansion of academic facilities, tutoring for at-risk middle and high school students, and professional-level music training for local youth.

Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world-class institution that provides education about the oceans and the environment. Since opening in 1984, more than 55 million visitors have been exposed to the Aquarium’s exhibits and programs. Part of the Aquarium’s long-term commitment to foster marine and conservation education is to develop a diverse group of young adults who are ocean literate, inspired, confident, and ready to act on behalf of our oceans. Youth increase their understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, develop character and leadership skills, gain professional experience, and improve college readiness.

In March 2015, an arson fire destroyed the Food Bank for Monterey County’s storage facility and transportation vehicles in Salinas causing an estimated $1 million in damage. Banding together with other local funders, Monterey Peninsula Foundation helped the Food Bank to quickly resume its operations. The Food Bank’s distribution reaches about 20% of the Monterey County population (90,000 residents). Nearly half of the residents served are children.

Jacob’s Heart has been a resource for children with cancer and their families in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties since 1998. Jacob’s Heart provides bilingual services including counseling, referrals, transportation, education, art therapy, direct financial assistance, and bereavement support to about 200 children with pediatric cancer and their families. Jacob’s Heart created the Partnership for Children with Coastal Kids Home Care and the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition to address the lack of support services available to children and youth facing life-threatening illnesses. In 2014, Jacob’s Heart provided more than 1,300 hours of counseling and case management services to 850 clients.

Santa Cruz Community Health Centers began in 1974 as a volunteer organization and has evolved into two full service medical clinics, which serve many low-income, uninsured, and under-insured residents, including homeless and indigent individuals. Recent support from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation helped build the East Cli­ff Family Health Center in the underserved Live Oak neighborhood of Santa Cruz. With the addition of this clinic, Santa Cruz Community Health Centers now has the capacity to serve 10,000 patients annually, providing comprehensive family pediatric medical and behavioral care.

Founded in 1991, Community Partnership for Youth provides a positive, enriching, and structured environment for approximately 500 at-risk students at local schools. Programs engage children’s families in helping provide consistency, accountability, and promote alternatives to gangs, drugs, and violence. Programs also include afterschool mentoring, homework assistance, English as a Second Language support, life skills training, visual and performing arts academy, as well as recreational and cultural activities. Community Partnership for Youth also offers college tours and career mentorship for middle and high school students in a partnership with California State University Monterey Bay.

Seniors Council serves seniors in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Santa Clara Counties through various programs including: foster grandparents, senior companionship, tax preparation and assistance, and funnels millions of federal grants to nine local senior-serving agencies. The Foster Grandparent program – a project funded by the Foundation – recruits, trains, and places other 100 low-income seniors at 50 school sites, to mentor and tutor 375 preschool and elementary school students annually. As part of the National Senior Service Corps, each Foster Grandparent volunteers in the classroom for a minimum of 20 hours a week and receives a stipend to help increase their independent living resources and stay actively engaged in the community.

Founded in 1995 to address escalating youth gang violence, the Youth Alliance now serves over 13,000 children and families in San Benito and south Santa Clara Counties. They provide bilingual education, family support, counseling as well as skills development, intervention, and community service opportunities. Monterey Peninsula Foundation’s recent grant supported the Teen Parents program, serving about 30 teen parents annually by providing comprehensive case management, peer support, family activities, parenting skills education, and other education opportunities. Since the program started in 2008, only 7% of participants had repeat pregnancies and 80% have graduated high school.