Diversity Partnership

Diversity Partnership

A commitment to social justice!

The Diversity Partnership strengthens alliances, promotes respect and enhance services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Santa Cruz County.

When launched in 1997, we became one of the first community foundations in the country to establish a social justice grantmaking and leadership program for LGBT people. As a member of Funders for LGBTQ Issues more than $1 million in grants has been awarded since 1997.

In 2005, we launched a campaign to build a permanent endowment to advance the goals of the partnership. 

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Support for LGBTQ Youth

This year, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance Grants was established through the Diversity Partnership. It awarded $7,000 as a one-time, non-competitive funding opportunity for 16 local Gender and Sexuality Alliances, or GSA clubs, to create a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ youth. Grants to the GSAs can be found in the list of 2017 Diversity Partnership Grants.

Diversity Partnership Grants Awarded: 1997 to 2017

Since 1997, over $1 million in grants have been awarded from funds provided by our own endowed fund and other philanthropic partners.

Diversity Partnership Advisory Committee

The advisory committee guides us on how to use our grantmaking and leadership activities to promote social equity within the county.

Lex Beaty* has worked with several LGBT organizations including the Triangle Speakers and The Queer Youth Task Force producing youth specific events to empower LGBT students in Santa Cruz County. Most recently, he has worked at the intersection of faith and social justice through his employment and service at Inner Light Ministries. He is a writer and educator who speaks on transgender issues both locally and nationally. 

Maria Cadenas*, chair, is the executive director of Santa Cruz Community Ventures. She's the former philanthropy manager for Driscoll's. She sits on the steering committee for Sustainable Agriculture Food and System Funders and is a member of the Women's Radio Collective at KZSC 88.1 FM.  She is former board member for Funders for LGBTQ Issues, the Stewardship Council of Roots of Change, and Associate Director of the ACLU of Wisconsin.

Ami Ebright* is president of Monterey Bay Resources, Inc., a private lending firm. She serves on the board of the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union. She is a long-time resident and graduate of UC Santa Cruz.

Damian Maldonado* is the training & development director of the Central California Alliance for Health. He previously served as regional lead for the Statewide System of Field Support in two separate regions in California and as the liaison between the California Department of Education and local programs providing training, technical assistance and support to 184 school districts in 10 counties.  Damian has co-authored legislation to increase funding to youth programs and was appointed to serve on California Governor’s After School Master Plan Design Team. He was instrumental in helping develop statewide core competencies for youth programs in the areas of diversity, access, inclusion and equity.

Alicia Nájera* is a licensed clinical social worker. As a senior behavioral health manager for Santa Cruz County Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, she is director of services in Watsonville. She is a member of the Queer Youth Task Force and involved in the Queer Youth Leadership Awards.

Chris Weir* served on the board of Triangle Speakers and the Diversity Center and was a member of the Community Foundation's donor education and Planned Giving Center advisory committee. She is a retired software engineer, who has lived in Santa Cruz over 30 years.
* Community members not currently serving on our board.