Fund for Women and Girls

Meeting the needs of women and girls in Santa Cruz County!

Digital Nest 

An endowed fund to power the future

The newly created endowed fund is meant to boost the economic growth of the county by supporting the educational and career success of local women and girls.

The fund was started with a $1.5 million gift from an anonymous donor. An additional $500,000 matching gift is on the table, with the first contribution towards the match a $100,000 gift from the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation. An additional $100,000 anonymous gift has since come in, along with some smaller individual contributions. 

As of March 2017, at total of $2,035,960 has been raised, with $214,040 still needed to be raised for the matching gifts.

The goal is to raise $2.5 million for the fund by the end of 2017.  And, with your help we'll get there!

Funds in the endowment will be invested to be here forever, with earnings each year used for grants, like the Girls in Pájaro Valley Initiative, and other community education and leadership activities.


Why Women and Girls?

Across the nation, funds like these are proving to be effective strategies for tackling economic disparities, opening doors to educational opportunities and improving the quality of life for all.

 When a woman thrives, a family thrives.

 When a family thrives, a community thrives.

Even with decades of good work, there's still a long way to go, particularly here at home.

  • 17% of women in Santa Cruz County, including 40% of Latina single mothers, live in poverty. 
  • 55% of single mothers with less than a high school diploma are in poverty.
  • In 2015, 7th grade girls in Pájaro Valley middle schools reported chronic feelings of hopelessness (34%), decreased connection to school (56%) and a drop in their academic motivation (45%).
  • In 2015, only 56% of graduating seniors from the Pájaro Valley met eligibility requirements for the University of California or California State University systems. 
  • Latina girls are most at risk with the lowest graduation rate and making up 92% of teen mothers.

Selected Data Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, California Women's Well-Being Index, Santa Cruz County Community Assessment Project, California Healthy Kids Survey, HealthyCity [dot] org


Girls in PÁjaro Valley Initiative

A grant of $450,000 has been made to the UC Santa Cruz Educational Partnership Center to launch the initiative through a collaboration involving the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and other local community partners.

The goal of the three year extracurricular pilot program is to ready 35 participating girls in middle school (grades 6 through 8) for college or technical school and contribute to their future success.

In developing the fund and the initiative, ideas and direction came from and advisory group of local education, nonprofit, government and other foundation and philanthropic leaders, including parents and classroom teachers.

For our daughters and other young girls, middle school is a time for transition and change. Peer influence grows, conflicts with parents and adults intensify and social and gender identity are explored. We see it as a time in a young woman's life where we can make a difference (like the one shared in the video).