.Santa Cruz Gives Even More

Let’s help nonprofits help us

November 15-December 31 | Donate @ SantaCruzGives.org

Santa Cruz Gives is funded by the generosity of Good Times, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Applewood Foundation, Joe Collins, Driscoll’s, Inc., Comcast, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Santa Cruz County Bank, Wynn Capital Management, The Pajaronian, and Press Banner.

Thanks to you, our generous community, Santa Cruz Gives has become the largest countywide fundraising campaign in support of local nonprofit organizations, whose work benefits us all. Learn about and donate to one or more of this year’s 65 participating organizations at SantaCruzGives.org.


HEALING MOTHER EARTH: We are the only Tribe in Santa Cruz County that provides Indigenous leadership in conservation through research and education, conservation and restoration, and on-the-ground Indigenous stewardship. The Amah Mutsun Tribal Band founded the land trust and has programs in native plant restoration, ocean and coastal stewardship, cultural burning, and sacred lands protection. We train and employ young adult Tribal members to implement our work.


ART IS ESSENTIAL: If you value a strong arts ecosystem and living in a culturally rich community that provides inspiration, connection, and joy to so many, invest in the Arts Council. We’re engaging the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers — kids who will grow up to develop solutions to our world’s pressing issues and be prepared for a labor force that increasingly requires right-brain thinking. With your contribution, 18,000 youth will learn how to dream big, speak up, take positive risks, and turn mistakes into opportunities through arts education.


CLEAN CLOTHES FOR OUR UNHOUSED NEIGHBORS: AFC is a network of 30+ faith communities that helps to eliminate homelessness supported by hundreds of volunteers. Each of our 150+ program participants receives a place to sleep, one-on-one support, and housing navigation to end homelessness. 50% move to permanent housing. We provide 1,500+ showers annually with our mobile shower. We now seek to provide laundry services. Accessing laundry is challenging for many unhoused individuals and affects hygiene, self-esteem, employment and stigmatization.


IT TAKES LITTLE TO BE BIG: Our project is driven by the belief that mentorship is a powerful catalyst for transformation that has a lasting effect on the lives of young people. Mentorship thrives on compassion, patience, and presence. We invite individuals from all walks of life to become mentors, giving their time, advice, and listening ear to ensure that every child has access to what—and who—they need to pave the way for a substantial and brighter future. Big Brothers Big Sisters of SCC has served at no cost to 8,500 at-risk youth through our outcomes-based, proven model of mentoring services since 1982.


SAVE A PET: When a pet has a health crisis with a good prognosis, the unique love of a family animal must never be lost simply due to cost. BirchBark provides financial assistance to vulnerable families faced with unaffordable, urgent veterinary expenses. We estimate that 30,000 pets in Santa Cruz County are owned by seniors, low-income families, or marginalized populations. The total population of pets is 273,000 with an estimated 60,000 dogs, and likely as many cats. We also offer education and pet loss counseling.


BLACK SURF SANTA CRUZ YOUTH COHORT: In a community centered around coastal culture, residents and visitors benefit from our efforts to dismantle barriers that limit participation in coastal recreation, whether participants have experienced a lack of safety, an unwelcoming environment, or lack of knowledge and skills to feel at home. We will launch our first cohorts for Black youth and other youth of color throughout Santa Cruz County. This project will build community through events such as trips to the beach, skill building by learning about water safety (how to protect head and neck, read tide charts, etc.), leadership building through engagement in advocacy and access issues, environment, environmental justice and recreation.


POWER HOUR AND SMART MOVES PROGRAMS: We provide safe places filled with opportunity, enriching programs, and caring adults who cultivate relationships to ensure that all children feel connected, supported and valued, especially those who need us most. This program complements what youth learn at school via daily sessions in which every member at each club receives homework help, tutoring, or participates in self-directed learning. We support social-emotional learning and help youth strengthen healthy decision-making, boost self-esteem, avoid risky behaviors, develop assertiveness, analyze media and peer influence, and build resilience.


EXPANDING ADVOCACY FOR VULNERABLE YOUTH: CASA has served our county’s foster youth and now, after a successful pilot program, we have expanded to match volunteer-mentors (Advocates) one-to-one with youth on probation for minor offenses. Most of these kids have experienced the same traumas as their peers in foster care, many growing up without any supportive services to help them heal. As teens, untreated mental health needs may prompt them to act out, starting them on an uncertain path of involvement with the justice system. Without support these kids can get lost in the vicious cycle of incarceration, homelessness, addiction, and crime.


PROJECT SAFE HAVEN—STABILIZING FARMWORKERS WHO HAVE CHRONIC ILLNESS: Low wages make it difficult for most farm workers to save for emergencies. An illness can be a crippling burden that results in an inability to pay for rent and food. This project would allow farmworkers to care for their families without fear of eviction and hunger. They often do not seek resources due to a lack of documentation or knowledge, yet due to physically demanding jobs, stress and food insecurity, have a high rate of chronic disease. We promote financial, physical, emotional, and mental health for farmworkers and their families.


SENIORS STAY ACTIVE AT ELDERDAY: Community Bridges is the leading nonprofit agency addressing poverty in our county. Our 11 programs deliver essential services, provide equitable access to resources and advocate for health and dignity across every stage of life. In 2021, we served 20,000 impoverished community members, where 80% earned incomes below 100% Federal Poverty Level ($13,590 per household annually). Our new Elderday Adult Day Health Care center serves a growing population of low-income older adults, allowing them to live in their homes and avoid costly institutional care. Physical, mental, and social activities improve health outcomes for older adults managing complex medical conditions.


MUZZIO PARK COMMUNITY GARDEN: We are working closely with Watsonville to build community gardens on vacant City property. In 2024, CHT plans to build a new garden at Muzzio Park, an area with high rates of poverty and food insecurity. It’s 1.12 acres near the Pajaro River levee and Villa La Posada Apartments, a 42-unit, low-income complex. The garden will feature 29 planter boxes, compost bins, rainwater catcher barrels, picnic tables, a tool shed and fencing. It will provide communal space for a low-income community to grow produce, thus increasing access to nutritious food, physical activity, and well-being.


TREASURE COVE AT JADE STREET PARK: We have two lines of work. Places—funds raised, then donated to County Parks; and People—educational programs, promotion of access and equity. You can help build a place where children of all abilities can play together! The playground is designed to foster compassion, acceptance, connectedness and joy. One out of every 10 children and two out of every 10 individuals have a disability. Every child, parent, grandparent and caregiver deserves to have a place to play with friends and families that accommodates their needs. The playground will have a marine and shoreline theme with inclusive equipment.


HEALTHY RIVER, HEALTHY SANTA CRUZ: We envision the Santa Cruz Riverwalk becoming our Central Park. It’s the only large open space in the heart of the city, a thoroughfare from the boardwalk to downtown for residents and visitors, and a backyard for many families and children who benefit from a safe, healthy recreation area. CWC volunteers remove trash, pull invasive weeds, and plant native plants to improve the beauty and health of the river ecosystem. The San Lorenzo River is our city’s main source of drinking water, home to threatened and endangered wildlife and the cornerstone of our city’s founding. It needs us, and we need it.


DIGNITY THROUGH DENTISTRY — AFFORDABLE CARE FOR ALL: It’s unfortunate that wealth often dictates health. Dientes provides vital dental care for families with low incomes so kids can focus on school instead of a toothache, adults can make good first impressions with a healthy smile, and seniors can comfortably eat nutritious foods. Not only does lack of access to care impact physical health, but your smile affects self-esteem and confidence. Our program offers subsidized, affordable sliding scale fees and free care to your neighbors who need it most.


BIZZNEST PAID INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: Digital NEST gives Latinx youth in Watsonville free access to technology, workforce training, and paid internships so they can build a career that will transform their lives. This year, we’re expanding our yearlong internship program to provide up to 40 young adults with real-world, paid experience in web and graphic design, web development, and/or video production internships. Staff and professionals will mentor these budding tech professionals as they work with local organizations to produce video content, build and code websites and web apps, create visually engaging graphic design products, and meet deadlines.


CAMPOUT PROGRAM FOR LGBTQ+ TEENS: Our annual CampOUT youth program provides safe, affirming spaces where LGBTQ+ people can gather without judgment. We bring together LGBTQ+ teens for activities such as hiking, crafting, dancing, and facilitated discussion that creates interpersonal connections and grows the sense of belonging. In a historic redwood grove, our campsite acts as a haven where participants can express themselves and connect with nature, free from damaging stigmas or stereotypes. LGBTQ+ identified youth are much more likely to suffer from psychological, emotional and physical health issues than straight youth. Our services, activities, and spaces enhance our community’s well-being.



Our Mobile Wellness Clinic targets the underserved and uninsured population countywide. It is provided by a multidisciplinary team of nurse practitioners, allied health professionals, and clinic coordinators Monday-Friday at no cost to patients. Mobile units help reduce emergency room visits and prevent chronic conditions from advancing to the degree that patients need more intensive and higher-cost care, often in a hospital setting. With your support, we will expand services to enhance the level of care provided to Santa Cruz County outside the hospital’s walls.  


RESILIENT SANTA CRUZ COUNTY: With many residents and groups now taking action on climate, Ecology Action’s expertise and 50 years of environmental work led us to create a one-stop-shop online platform and leadership training so everyone can prepare for climate change impacts and take household actions. This project provides locally specific resources and incentives for 120+ climate learning topics and actions so homeowners and renters can easily reduce emissions, save money, and prepare for climate change impacts. Nearly 40% of US GHG emissions come from five household sources: electricity, home heating, transportation, food choices, and our waste stream.


HEALING GARDEN: Youth who are homeless, were in foster care or victims of crime flock to the Thrive Hive, Encompass’s resource center for ages 15-24, for meals, showers, counseling, life skills, and therapeutic yoga. We have an outdoor area with chairs but our young people would love a garden to grow vegetables and herbs for their cooking class (life skills). With garden boxes, furniture, seeds and soil, this garden would be beneficial to experience the healing tonic of nature; reap the benefits of nature; learn to seed, maintain and harvest food; and a calming environment for youth. 


RADICAL HOSPITALITY ON THE COMMUNITY FARM: We promote fresh, local organic produce and economic justice by supplying sustainably-farmed produce for families and partners (schools and nonprofits), especially traditionally excluded people. We’d like to host approximately 250 high school youth via field trips to the farm and 150 families annually. We welcome visitors from different walks of life to dialogue, explore and build relationships around the common interest of organic farming, stewardship of the land and good food for all! The gathering space for 30 will welcome elders and littles, with tables & benches, umbrellas, seating for children, educational toys and sitting blankets.


NUTRITION SECURITY & FARMING EDUCATION PROGRAM: No one should have to decide between buying groceries or paying rent, between food and medicine, and no parent should skip a meal for their children to eat. We grow and distribute organic produce to residents experiencing nutrition insecurity—through partnerships with other local nonprofits. We will focus on areas intensified by floods, the ongoing health crises, and our success tapping into existing sources of organic produce and distribution networks. In 2023 we harvested and distributed 1,300+ pounds from our fields and gleaned 37,000 pounds. About 25 lbs feeds a family of four for one week (our cost: $1.30/lb). We will increase our distribution with your support.


FRESH PRODUCE FARM STAND: To address food insecurity in schools, FoodWhat has partnered with PV’s school district to run an affordable farm stand. It will distribute 2,000+ lbs of fresh, organic food that FoodWhat youth helped to grow for students and their families. This project is designed to uplift youth as leaders who cultivate skills, knowledge, and power and use them to create a healthy food access point that is by, for, and of their own community. We have a rigorous method of ascertaining youth needs and seek to partner with those who suffer disproportionately from problems associated with marginalization: racism, classism, poverty, educational barriers, extractive economics, trauma, housing/food insecurity and compromised health. On our two abundant farms in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, youth work together.


JAIL LIBRARY OUTREACH: We support the Public Libraries through fundraising, volunteer services, and advocacy, with a goal to create stronger neighborhoods and cultural enrichment through library programs. This extends to all County residents, including those currently incarcerated, 70% of whom read at 3rd grade level or below, and their families. Literacy, personal development, family connections, and community engagement are key to support inmates and their families now, and reduce recidivism in the future. The Boundless Minds program will increase access to books, materials, and programming for the approximately 450 people in the County jail system.


GIRLS INC. LEADERSHIP MENTORING PROGRAM: We serve 1,300 girls in 21 schools with research-based programs and trained professionals (often older teens) who mentor them in a safe environment. We request your support to provide leadership mentoring for sophomores and juniors in high school to encourage post-secondary education, planning for careers, valuing themselves, and developing an action plan to achieve their goals. Participants in this program will learn life skills to help them make good choices now and in the future. Our goal is 100 girls who will meet twice a month during the school year and participate in 14 interactive sessions. 


SENIORS NIGHT OUT SERIES: Grey Bears proposes to rebuild the community after Covid hibernation to spur long-term positive impact through social connection. 12 monthly events in 2024 will build on our successful speed dating events last year to create engaging social interaction opportunities for our County’s diverse, growing senior population. We hope to pilot event concepts to be implemented in perpetuity. The series focuses on maintaining healthy bodies and minds, with topics such as current events, health, the arts, wellness activities, food, gardening, and books. Each will feature a light meal, a bag of produce, staples and goodies for attendees to take home.


AG AGAINST HUNGER GLEANING: We hope to expand and engage more volunteers to go to harvesting locations to “glean” excess produce left behind in the fields that otherwise might go to waste, and deliver it to local food banks. Funding will help us reach 350 volunteers, provide up to 800 cartons of fresh produce, host 4 gleaning events in 2024 and reimburse transportation costs to food banks if needed. We would appreciate your support! 


HPC’s Commitment to Vulnerable Communities: Our Big Idea seeks to transform the lives of vulnerable individuals at risk of prematurely being put in nursing homes, particularly those with low incomes. It costs much less for elders to live in their current homes. Building on past success, we aim to double the number we support in care management. Last year we aided 2,529 individuals. Our approach includes assessing recipients’ needs, such as assistance with daily tasks like getting dressed, using the toilet, and other ”Activities of Daily Living.“ We also offer assistance with housing, transportation, and medical appointments.



Thanks to partnerships with 15 local nonprofits and donors from Santa Cruz Gives, in 2022 we grew our program to provide organic produce at no cost to individuals battling food insecurity from 30 weekly boxes of nutritious produce to 45, grown by trainees in HGP’s transitional employment program. In 2023 we saw the program grow again, doubling the previous 30 shares to 60 in 2023. The produce is grown from seed to harvest by individuals experiencing homelessness, raising self-esteem and demonstrating that their actions can positively impact our community. Please visit our online store



As the only nonprofit hospice care in Santa Cruz County, we put people over profits so that every patient and their family receives high-quality care that reflects their goals, values, and preferences. To meet the need for quality end-of-life care, we became a pioneer in the hospice movement and are regarded as the most experienced, innovative, and largest nonprofit hospice and palliative care program in the region. Many who need our services are challenged by language, fear of the medical system, lack of information, or cultural barriers. Please support our bilingual education and outreach programs to increase access to care.


RENOVATION OF THE NOOK: People experiencing homelessness have few places to charge their devices, use wifi, meet with case managers, or just rest, and even fewer choices that are dry, safe, and don’t require a purchase. When libraries closed during the pandemic, we created The Nook on our campus to meet this need. Now that we communicate mainly through electronic devices, folks need to correspond with landlords, case managers, housing navigators, and other service providers. The Nook is more popular than ever, with 11,339 visits in the past 12 months from 1,131 unique individuals. Our expansion will accommodate more individuals.


A NEW HYBRID VEHICLE: When a child is diagnosed with cancer, one thing is paramount: getting them to life-saving treatments, and shockingly, 80% of our families rely on our transportation. A new hybrid vehicle will enable transportation for patients, who are young, and many are uninsured or live below the poverty line. Pediatric treatment is primarily available in the Bay Area, placing a burden on local parents who already face financial and emotional crises. The demand for rides for children with cancer has more than doubled, from 507 rides in 2021 to 1,248 in 2022. 


Squidcasting: Community Stories from Santa Cruz County

KSQD invites proposals for short features and personal commentaries or editorials so community members can write, record and submit their stories for potential airplay. KSQD will provide training in interviewing, writing and hosting for new and existing volunteers.

Donors may also contact us about supporting the creation of a recording studio space in Watsonville for interviews/podcasting so residents can easily access the airwaves near their homes to create news and cultural programming in Spanish and English. We celebrate our region through news, arts, and culturally diverse programming.


LLEGE INTERNS GROWING IN THE PAJARO VALLEY: At our two farm site classrooms in Watsonville and Santa Cruz, we promote learning through field trips, summer programs, and teacher workshops. Children love to learn from nature and from inspiring young adults. That’s why Life Lab is expanding internships to the Pajaro Valley. College students will teach children in outdoor garden classrooms at elementary schools and farm sites. Together they will explore the life sciences, beauty of nature, and growing and preparing nutritious foods. Life Lab provides classes for 5,000 elementary students and has trained thousands of college students to be educators. We’ll train 85-100 in 2024. 


BUILDING A BOOKMOBILE: We primarily promote literacy by working with 17 public schools to let every student choose a book they love. Now we will convert a step van to a beautiful mobile library by teaming with the public Watsonville Charter School of the Arts. Live Like Coco volunteers will use it as an inviting outreach and delivery vehicle during summers and weekends, while the charter school—which does not have its own library—will use it during the school year. It will allow the school to link with the district library system, and will also hold 1,000-2,000 books. !


IGNITE 100 MENTORS IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY: One in three young people today grow up without exposure to positive mentors. Research indicates that boys in the US are more likely than girls to experience adverse outcomes such as academic failure, substance use, binge drinking, involvement in violent crime, behavioral disorders, prescription of stimulant medications, and taking their own lives. Boys are twice as likely as girls to drop out of school and four times as likely to be expelled. With your support, we will ignite 100 mentors who identify as male to guide participating boys and men in their journeys.


BLACK, BROWN AND QUEER FESTIVAL 2024: BBQueer (Black, Brown and Queer) is a free, annual series of performances, collective actions, workshops and gatherings by artists from diverse backgrounds and performance practices, culminating in a multi-day fall festival. BBQueer celebrates the transformative power and embodied activism of Queer Black, Indigenous and People of Color as a response to the County’s declaration that racism is a public health crisis. Through the arts and community gatherings, we provide a home where the BIPOC queer community can feel seen, affirmed, included and safe, and guides our wider community in how to support youth and rewrite the social narrative.


TOGETHER WE RISE. WE RESIST. WE CARE. December marks 18 months since the Dobbs decision took away our federal constitutional right to safe and legal abortion. PPMM has worked hard to deliver timely care as people seeking abortion are forced to travel hundreds or thousands of miles, endure longer wait times, and risk their health and safety. In all 34 of our health centers, patients can access kind and compassionate gender-affirming care. We are building new and expanding current health centers near airports and transportation hubs, training more abortion providers, and expanding services so we can provide care to all patients no matter what.


SERVING HOLIDAY MEALS IN PAJARO VALLEY: Following the devastating floods, we hope to provide 650 of our Pajaro Valley and Santa Cruz County families with a special food basket for preparing a hearty meal with their loved ones during the holidays. These meal kits will include local produce, canned goods, rice, butter, whole chickens, or turkey. Meat and dairy products provide protein essential to a balanced diet and are often too expensive to access for families facing food insecurity. The reasons individuals face food insecurity are complex, and asking for resources can carry shame. We work daily to serve guests with dignity and compassion.


RENFORZANDO LAZOS FAMILIARES (STRENGTHENING FAMILY TIES): We decided to focus on the family unit due to stress families faced during the last few years. Providers have seen disconnect, isolation, and conflicts that severed family ties. Our staff was trained in several curriculums by the National Compadres Network and has implemented these. We’d like to serve 60 families, with three 12-session cohorts in 2024. Families will start and end the session as one unit, with separate skill development for women, men, and parents in between in areas such as positive identity, self-advocacy, substance/violence prevention, leadership development.


CABRILLO COLLEGE STUDENT HOUSING PILOT PROJECT: Our project is a pilot program between PVSS and Cabrillo College offering desperately needed low-cost transitional housing and supportive services for unhoused female students. PVSS will set aside beds, provide supportive case management, and expand housing resources while streamlining access to Cabrillo College educational opportunities for all PVSS participants. We request support for unhoused students, as education and training are the keys to successful employment and housing stability.


TRANS TEEN PROJECT: We would like to support trans, nonbinary, and gender-expansive youth in Santa Cruz County with a website resource that educates and raises awareness among parents and the community about trans issues. We will facilitate conversations and understandings between trans teens and the wider community. Trans teens will control their narratives and share stories and experiences that are important to them. Our goals are to promote existing resources available for the trans community, make short documentary films, implement teens-led small projects, promote an activity titled “Unbox Me,” and host radio shows.


CLIMATE-READY AND CLIMATE-RESPONSIVE PAJARO VALLEY: We are building a network that empowers residents to reduce fossil fuel emissions and make our region more resilient in the face of climate change. We will create jobs, improve health outcomes, increase community well-being, and address economic- and race-based disparities. While every person has felt the effects of climate change through wildfire, extreme heat, intense rainfall, or flooding, young people will live with the effects longer. Their leadership is needed to achieve environmental justice. Working in partnership with high schools, colleges and universities, Regeneración provides mentorship and leadership training for youth interested in climate-focused careers and movement building. 


LOW COST MEMBERSHIPS FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN: Every year we provide play-based science, engineering, and arts education to about 50,000 people in our community. Research finds that this type of “guided play” can lead to stronger learning and development outcomes than unstructured play, and in many cases, stronger academic gains than formal curriculum during early childhood—a critical time to learn. One-third of families need one of our income-based access programs to drop the price of admission so they can afford a joyful, educational, safe experience proven to help build healthy, happy families. $100 donated gives a family (up to six) museum access for a WHOLE year.  


THE EARTH STEWARDS PROJECT: This project provides allows high school students to fulfill community service learning outdoors in nature, to connect with adults invested in their success, and to be of service. Students’ perspectives are transformed as we guide them to explore options for careers in nature and science. They learn skills that foster environmental stewardship and lifelong learning, and build relationships with regional environmental and land management organizations needing volunteers, interns, and employees. In 2023, our students served 18 locations countywide, building and maintaining trails,  planting 28 species of plants, removing invasive species, removing trash from shorelines, and more.


TRANSPORTATION FUND FOR STUDENTS: Often, schools in Santa Cruz County run into transportation difficulties when planning a trip to enjoy a production at The Grove. To alleviate expense issues, SC Shakespeare provides funds for buses, allowing these schools to bring students to a professionally-produced Shakespeare or classic performance at an outdoor theater. Our goal is to ensure that every single high school student in Santa Cruz County has seen a live, professional production of a Shakespeare play by the time they graduate. We extend the season into September each year to offer student-only matinees.


MORE THAN SHELTER: Across the US, animal shelters are full and struggling to provide for homeless animals, especially those that need “above-and-beyond” care. At the Santa Cruz SPCA, above-and-beyond is what we do best! We welcome needy dogs and cats, including those that might be at risk in other shelters. We never euthanize an animal due to long stays or crowding. We prioritize comfort, love, and individualized attention for each animal while we search for new families. From specialized medical treatments to behavioral training, it is the support of compassionate community members that ensures animals receive the care they deserve.


SUPPORT ACCESS TO VET CARE: The purpose of the all-volunteer SCC Animal Shelter Foundation is to raise charitable dollars in support of the SCC Animal Shelter—the county’s sole “open-admission” facility, which means NO animal is ever turned away! We improve access to veterinary care for the neediest animals in our County. This desperately needed care (including improved access to spay/neuter services through our Planned PetHood program) increases quality of health, reduces homelessness and overpopulation, and saves lives. Our work is community-based, carried out by field officers, shelter staff, volunteers, business partners, and the grateful communities we serve.


LEGAL FUND FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS: Asylum seekers and their families face deportation if they do not win their cases in immigration court. Due to a shortage of lawyers and exorbitant legal costs, most do not have lawyers. We work to make legal representation accessible to asylum seekers. We are an all-volunteer group, 73 strong that currently assists 50 people. We continue to receive requests from new individuals and families that have made their way to Santa Cruz. The two greatest needs are legal representation and housing. Integrating our new neighbors into our community positively impacts us all.


Food! Did you know that over 1/4 of our county’s residents face hunger every month? That staggering statistic highlights how many live on the edge. You can help us provide food for 65,000 people a month who depend on us and our network of 100+ nonprofit partners to fill pantry shelves and provide hot meals. With your donation, it’s possible for our partners who serve community members directly to never have to pay for the fresh produce and proteins for seniors, young families, the homeless, and anyone needing food to learn, work, and thrive.


¡ARTES CULTURALES! CULTURAL ARTS PATHWAYS FOR LATINX YOUTH: Senderos is rooted in the cultural experience of the Mexican immigrant community in Santa Cruz County. We will expand FREE after-school Mexican folkloric dance and traditional music instruction for youth, most of whom are low-income and cannot participate in extracurricular activities. We provide musical instruments and traditional dance outfits for practice and performance so there are no barriers to participate. Showcased in over 30 community and school events each year, our programs connect young people to their heritage, enhance self-esteem, and push for academic success.  


GIVING TO SENIORS IN NEED: We engage daily with older adults in our community who face poverty, hunger and homelessness. We know these individuals, their needs and struggles, and can be your link to ensure your gift has maximum impact. This program fills the gap in traditional support services with cash grants. We encounter many serious problems with low-cost solutions that older adults are simply unable to fix. Our average payment is $250. Your donation might support a wheelchair repair, new shoes, compression socks that relieve neuropathy, glasses to replace a broken pair, or medicine. 


RECREATIONAL AND SOCIAL INCLUSION: Not only will the underserved disabled population benefit from inclusion in all activities in society, the overall community is also enriched by inclusion of this population. Our 100+ activities per year help more than 1,000 disabled individuals and their families achieve stable and healthy conditions, and integrate in jobs and schools, leading to less institutionalization, crime, drug use, and family fragmentation. Shared Adventures will create expanded opportunities by working with recreation venues and agencies to provide experiences such as beach access, sailing, horseback riding, dances and cultural events.


MARINE CONSERVATION EDUCATION FOR YOUTH: In the 2022-23 academic year, we collaborated with 18 Santa Cruz County schools, reached 1,429 youth, and completed 41 marine conservation education programs. We build our youth education programs to ensure all youth can take part in outdoor education! This year we launched our first after-school program, Junior Sanctuary Stewards, to reduce barriers to coastal access and connect underserved youth to shoreline/marine ecosystems. At the end, participants are designated stewards and have opportunities to facilitate public education and outreach, serve as associate site cleanup captains, and be Youth Advisory Board members for future junior stewards!


BIENVENIDOS AL CENTRO SEYMOUR/WELCOME TO THE SEYMOUR CENTER: The Seymour Center unveiled a new look and set of interactive experiences. Visitors will discover the science behind the unusual natural events we are experiencing locally. You’ll understand real solutions that heroes in our community are advancing and what you can do, as well as nature-based solutions that may help us prevent urban flooding, human infrastructure that can help animals move through our cities more freely, and local companies reducing plastic in the ocean. Our new exhibits are bilingual. The next step is to translate the aquarium into Spanish and add bilingual programming. We receive 65,000 annually! 


SECURING THE LOCAL FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN: Many of us are concerned about local food chains and food security. Small minority-owned farms can be more productive per acre than large, highly-mechanized farms yet their operators face significant obstacles: unpredictable weather and climate, complex regulatory requirements, limited market opportunities and restricted access to state and federal resources. This project, in its third year, offers Spanish-speaking farmers from Santa Cruz County a workshop series that provides technical assistance and methods of sustainable and regenerative agriculture while operating their businesses efficiently and effectively. Regenerative agriculture benefits our climate, prioritizing soil health, which captures and stores carbon. 


SUSTAINING ACCESS, EQUITY, AND EXCELLENCE: Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center will break ground in 2024 on a new building on the Tannery campus that will house the TWDCC studios. With the support of Santa Cruz Economic Development, this will enable more community engagement with youth and adult classes, performances, and events with two 2,200-square foot dance studios, a small office, lobby, and restrooms. We foster artists to develop professional work, and provide access, equity, and excellence in dance education, with scholarships for 20% of our youth. Artists forge new ideas through engagement as audiences learn from performances, festivals, artist talks, and classes.  


NEW KITCHEN EQUIPMENT: Approximately 150 teen chefs from countywide areas learn to prepare, cook and package meals. In 2024 TKP will provide 90,000 home-delivered, medically-tailored meals to 800 individuals in Santa Cruz County who are impacted by a life-threatening illness. 84% are low-income. Support from Santa Cruz Gives will help TKP purchase an industrial steamer to get healthy food to medically vulnerable people more efficiently. A steamer will allow us to prepare a higher volume of fresh vegetables and ensure they are not overcooked to retain nutrients and flavor. Currently we blanch items in hot water, a time-consuming process.


RUFF TIME: UnChained has served more than 400 youth who have helped, train, socialize, and find homes for over 200 homeless dogs. As youth train and rehabilitate dogs, they engage in their own journey of self-discovery. Many lack the emotional tools necessary for healthy relationships until caring for dogs facilitates a parallel journey of self-nurturing and growth. This year’s project represents an expansion of our educational approach. We plan to integrate therapy for our students into our training to enrich the students’ social and emotional development. A professional facilitator will guide students through activities and discussions designed to encourage introspection and self-awareness.


COLLABORATIVE YOUTH PROGRAMMING: United 4 Youth (U4Y) creates neighborhood spaces where youth can thrive, learn, and find their path to success. With nearly 400 participants in Live Oak and Watsonville, U4Y creates safe spaces for students to access homework help, youth-led and designed prosocial activities, and relationships with caring adults. We want to expand programming in Capitola and Scotts Valley. We select locations to support high-opportunity youth, reduce adverse childhood experiences, and increase youth engagement, and have built this around the idea that each neighborhood, with its unique strengths and dreams, should shape the opportunities for its youth.


Home Repairs for Veterans: Requests for home repairs have increased and we are asking your support to stabilize veteran housing in this way. We operate with one part-time staff person and 70 volunteers. We help with minor repairs such as building wheelchair ramps, repairing or replacing old appliances, and restoring deck safety. Materials costs have risen, thus the request for funding at this time. Staffed by volunteers, moving assistance is another of our biggest programs. Vets 4 Vets is trusted and effective in its responsiveness to the needs of local veterans.


INCREASE EDUCATIONAL PRESENTATIONS & DISCUSSION: Ours is the only program in the County that combines social, educational, and service needs, and interacts with seniors at the neighborhood level. We learn from each other and from experts in the aging field. Village members identify and build activities around specific wishes and needs in their area. The Village runs on volunteerism and a sliding-scale membership fee. Outreach into diverse communities requires in-depth discussions to understand cultural differences and challenges. We ask for your support to hire bilingual and culturally experienced presenters on topics affecting older adults, particularly in south county.


SAFE TEMPORARY ACCOMODATIONS: Approximately 20 domestic violence incidents happen DAILY in Santa Cruz County. For 2024 Walnut Avenue hopes to expand capacity for immediate need of safe overnight accommodations for those fleeing from intimate partner violence in our community. Walnut Avenue offers multiple services and advocacy for survivors, but the need is currently greater than our budget allows. No one should have to return to a violent home for lack of a safe place to go. Please help us keep families safe and sound while we assist them in getting the resources they need to move forward.


RESTORING HOPE FOR HOMELESS SENIORS: Our Big Idea is to raise $7,000 to help seniors who are transitioning from homelessness to home. We’ve seen an uptick in senior homelessness and it moves us to help through both our Welcome Home and Vital Docs programs, assisting them to get their important documents and making sure they have what they need to live independent, safe, healthy lives in their new housing. Wings has no building expenses, and by coordinating 50 volunteers, we leverage the power of community in action.


LIVING SCHOOLYARDS IN THE PAJARO VALLEY: Just 9% of Watsonville is covered by tree canopy. We must triple that to achieve parity with similar communities and to meet our goal of 30% tree coverage. Trees reduce surface temperatures on high heat days and sequester atmospheric carbon, cleaning air and filtering groundwater before it flows to the Pajaro River. WWW will collaborate with teachers and students at Pajaro Valley USD to plant shade trees and native plant pollinator gardens on campuses, to create living schoolyards that support student health, environmental health and learning about local wetlands, watersheds, and traditional uses of native plants in the wetland ecosystems.

November 15-December 31 | Donate @ SantaCruzGives.org

Santa Cruz Gives is funded by the generosity of Good Times, Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Applewood Foundation, Joe Collins, Driscoll’s, Inc., Comcast, Monterey Peninsula Foundation, Santa Cruz County Bank, Wynn Capital Management, The Pajaronian, and Press Banner.


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