Stories and Events

Engaging San Benito County through Philanthropy

December 23, 2022 | Events

Foundation holds ribbon-cutting to celebrate its new home

The Community Foundation for San Benito County held a ribbon-cutting event to commemorate the end of a successful year in its brand-new building. The Epicenter was made possible through the vision and generosity of Randy and Rebecca Wolf. The ribbon-cutting was the Foundation’s means of honoring the Wolfs for having donated the beautiful building and investing in the Foundation’s future. The ceremony was held on December 8 at the Community Foundation Epicenter in conjunction with the Community Foundation’s annual Christmas Party. The event itself was intimate. Because of the peak in recent illnesses, the occasion was kept private with only board members, staff, and a few special guests present. The ribbon-cutting also served as a chance to thank a few past board members that the Foundation was previously unable to formally recognize publicly due to the pandemic. The Foundation gratefully acknowledged the work of its past members Kay Filice and Bob Tiffany who were able to attend. Construction of the Epicenter took about two years, beginning in September 2020 and concluding in late February 2022, and the opening was in March 2022. The building was created in order to establish a permanent home for the Community Foundation. Before the Epicenter, the Foundation had moved three different times. Now, the Foundation has an official, everlasting space and can continue to grow, as well as provide a home for other nonprofits.

December 1, 2022 | Stories

30 Years of Philanthropy

The Community Foundation celebrates 30 Years of Philanthropy!

October 14, 2022 | Events

Women's Fund Financial Workshop Series

According to a 2019 survey by Laurel Road, a national online lending company, the lack of basic financial skills is felt more acutely by women. Only 66% of women reported having an emergency fund versus 82% of men, and women were also twice as likely as men to not have any money saved for retirement. To help provide women with the necessary tools to be in control of their financial well-being, the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation for San Benito County assembled a Financial Health and Well-Being workshop series. This was the second series that the Women’s Fund had done; the first was a successful online event in 2020. This year, a 3-day workshop was completed in person at the Community Foundation Epicenter. All guests were gifted a binder full of informational worksheets, templates, and other resources to follow along with the series and take home. Each day consisted of a different guest speaker passionate about helping women succeed in their financial journey, and covered a new financial topic. Guest speakers and their topics include: • Shannon Wilkinson, CPA, on how to budget, important documents to keep, debt management, and more. • Alexis Winder, Financial Advisor/ Edward Jones. On investing, retirement accounts, and life insurance basics. • Marla Pleyte, Estate Planning Attorney, on estate planning, family trusts, and asset protection for you and your family. Twenty-five women attended the morning or evening sessions of the workshop with a majority reporting the time spent was valuable, and all of whom said they felt the speakers were knowledgeable. The workshop series was highly recommended by all of our participants, many of whom stated it was a “good foundation” and “important information for better planning”. One remark was that it was “very helpful – [the workshop] encouraged us to think about what we have in place.” An additional budgeting-specific workshop taught in Spanish by Laura Garcilazo, CPA, was held at Youth Alliance for 19 people. “Excellent. Very professional, to the point,” “Such good information,” and “I loved the session and would have liked a longer session” are only a few of the many positive comments made about the Spanish workshop. The Women’s Fund made it a goal to provide a safe and supportive place to learn and ask questions to professionals in the financial field and help women forge a solid financial future with the new skills learned to put into practice. Financial health is essential and the information shared should be circulated more widely among women. For this purpose, each of the workshop sessions in English was recorded for anyone interested in still learning the information but didn’t get a chance to attend in person. For more information on the Women’s Fund, email Brenda at [email protected].

October 14, 2022 | Events

Food Insecurity in San Benito County

The Community Foundation for San Benito County hosted an informational meeting to bring awareness to the significant unmet need for food assistance affecting thousands of homes across San Benito County. According to a report on Food Insecurity in San Benito County by UC Santa Cruz’s Blum Center on Poverty, Social Enterprise & Participatory Governance, one in four San Benito County residents may be at risk for a food shortage. The report was written by Blum Center Director Heather Bullock and a team of graduate researchers, David Amaral, Emily Hentschke, and Eva Bertram. Data from 2016-2017 annd 2019-2020 was analyzed using a “food insecurity index” developed by the Blum Center, which at an aggregate level, estimates the number of meals being missed after considering meals purchased and food assistance provided. Leaders of food agencies and elected officials in San Benito County were invited to come together at the Community Foundation Epicenter to listen to the presentation, ask questions, and brainstorm strategies for reducing food insecurity and to start fostering some collaborative efforts. To get a current position on food insecurity impacting county agencies, Bill Lee, Executive Director of Martha’s Kitchen, and Sarah Nordwick, CEO/Executive Director of Community Food Bank of San Benito County, both gave a brief statement of their perspective on present trends in their field. Lee stated that the “demand for food has not gone down” in recent months. Nordwick added that an increase of 50 or more families a week had signed up for services at the Food Bank since January of this year. “This is our community, it’s our county, and none of us could make this better unless we all work together,” she said. The Community Foundation plans to host a follow-up meeting at the start of next year to coordinate action plans to further support nonprofits and agencies that work to combat food insecurity in San Benito County. Click on the link below for a digital copy of the report.