Girls in Pajaro Valley Initiative 

The Fund for Women and Girls is a newly created endowment meant to boost the economic growth of the county by supporting the needs of local women and girls.

A grant of $450,000 has been made to the UC Santa Cruz Educational Partnership Center to spearhead the fund's first project, the Girls in Pajaro Valley Initiative.

Starting this fall, 35 girls from Pajaro Valley middles schools (grades 6-8) will participate in a three-year pilot project to improve their chances for success in school and life.

The Center will work with the Community Foundation in managing the fund’s first project, the Girls in Pajaro Valley Initiative, through a collaboration involving the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and six other local community partners.   

The community partners working with the Center under the Community Foundation’s grant are YWCA of WatsonvilleSanta Cruz County Department of Parks, Open Space and Cultural ServicesYour Future is Our BusinessSanta Cruz Community VenturesGrowing Up Wild; and, the MAIA (Migration and Adaption in the Americas) Foundation.

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.

Focusing on middle school aged girls was determined to be an important stage in a young girl's life and an opportune place to start. 

The long-term goal is to see these girls graduate from high school, ready for college or technical training on their road to future success. 

No other grants from the Fund for Women and Girls are being considered at this time.