Community Foundation Santa Cruz County announced $320,000 in grants issued by the Rise Together Fund for Racial Equity. Over the course of three granting cycles, the foundation has now awarded $1.1 million to the coalition.
Founded in 2020, Rise Together is a coalition of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) leaders and a team from the Community Foundation to advance racial equity in Santa Cruz County. Grants of $20,000 each were made to organizations led by Rise Together members.
The group includes community organizers, social justice and arts leaders, journalists, indigenous cultural practitioners, storytellers, social workers, healthcare professionals, youth mentors and educators, and immigrant advocates.
Susan True, CEO of the Community Foundation and a member of Rise Together, said that the coalition is continuing to evolve. She explained that this year, rather than presenting grant proposals to their peers and making funding decisions accordingly, the coalition embraced a model where each organization received an equal investment of $20,000.
“The members had many in-depth discussions developing this new process which is intended to further joy, knowledge, connection and support of each other’s work instead of the anxiety of a traditional grantmaking process,” she said.
For Ruby Vasquez, a teacher in Pajaro Valley Unified School District and leader of the youth folklorico dance troupe Estrellas de Esperanza, the Rise Together grant will help her students add new material to their repertoire. Funding has allowed Estrellas youth dancers to travel to Veracruz Mexico to learn new dances.
This grant will help the troupe to invite guest maestros to come to Watsonville to teach Estrella students.
Rise Together grant recipients:
• UC Santa Cruz University Library – Community Archives Program