January 22, 2021 | Stories

The Epicenter: A New Space for the Community

The Epicenter: A New Space for the Community

For 20 years, the Community Foundation for San Benito County has existed to help donors in their philanthropic journey by connecting them with local resources and enabling their core values to direct funding to essential programs and services for residents of our community. The Foundation is a permanent resource for charitable giving that continues to grow and was in need of a permanent home to help fulfill its mission to the community for the long-term. An unsuccessful search took place in 2014 with multiple options ultimately not being a good fit.

The 400 Block of San Benito Street, which the City was required to sell after 30 years of vacancy since the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, weighed out as the best option. Construction finally began in 2020, and today, when you go through downtown Hollister on San Benito Street, you will see the Foundation’s new philanthropic center currently being built. The building will be called the “Epicenter,” both to honor the location’s history and for being a new focal point in the heart of Hollister. The Epicenter represents community giving as the building was funded by generous long-time residents of our community, Randy and Rebecca Wolf.

"I believe that the Community Foundation can reach so many people in need by supporting our local non profits. When Randy and I went to see other Community Foundation offices and Philanthropic centers, we realized building the Epicenter was a way to reach a large number of our community." — Rebecca Wolf

The Epicenter will increase philanthropic activity and be a sustainable, safe, and innovative environment that benefits all who call San Benito County home. It will serve as a hub for nonprofit activities and collaboration. Esther Curtice of CASA, a nonprofit excited to be located in the Epicenter, says, “We look forward to work in an environment where we can gather and support the needs of the community.” Five to nine other nonprofits will be permanently housed and there will be many workstations available for drop-in use. Several community gathering spaces have been incorporated in the design, including small meeting rooms, a board room, and a large conference room with a capacity of 90 that is connected to an outdoor gathering space to host events, community meetings, and other gathering needs. A paseo between the Epicenter and the Del Curto Brothers project will provide a public place to meet with friends and Gavilan College students a place to wait for their next class.

We hope that the Epicenter will create a sense of personal belonging to residents of San Benito County and be an inclusive space for all people to connect, plan, inspire, and create a thriving community while bringing in economic development and vibrancy to enhance our downtown. The Epicenter is expected to be completed by the end of 2021, and the Community Foundation looks forward to advancing its mission and services and continuing its work for generations to come in a center that is designed and built to stand the test of time.

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