Community Support

An Exceptional Year of Generosity in 2023

Photo: A team of youth participating in raising of the sail with the O'Neill Sea Odyssey. Their 2023 community grant helped expand their reach and impact into the Watsonville community.

Your generosity is shining

Thanks to donors past and present, we’re celebrating another exceptional year of grantmaking.

In 2023, we awarded $25.8 million in grants & scholarships across Santa Cruz County.

Together, we are making Santa Cruz County a place where all can thrive.

At a glance:

  • Committed to equity: Majority of Community & Discretionary Grants awarded to organizations leading work with Black, Indigenous, Latinx, People of Color communities.
  • High impact funding: 67 Community Grants awarded without restrictions, 51% of dollars issued as multi-year commitments
  • Broad reach locally and beyond: 800 nonprofit organizations supported
  • Investing in the next generation: 34 students, two-thirds of them first-generation college students, awarded $258,000 in scholarships
  • Responsive: $3.5 million in storm and flood relief grants, helping folks on the road home
  • Investing in Santa Cruz County: 70% of all grant funds stayed local


Donor-Advised Grants are recommended by local people and companies with Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) at the Community Foundation. DAFs are a flexible, tax-smart giving account and donors use them to fulfill long-term and short-term charitable goals. Grants recommended by fundholders undergo due diligence by staff, get approved by our board of directors, and quickly get issued to nonprofit partners.

Community & Discretionary Grants are considered by staff and awarded to high-performing local nonprofits. Funds come from the collective giving of generations of local donors. They are a steady source of funding for local nonprofits responsive to the needs of our community and make a lasting impact on Santa Cruz County residents and their quality of life to support our county’s recovery and wellbeing and address pressing challenges in a variety of areas including COVID and Fire response, racial equity, LGBTQ+ programs, arts, culture & history, environment, education & youth, seniors, health & human services, end-of-life-care and more.

Grants from Nonprofit reserve funds come from distributions from agency endowments which can be started by a nonprofit or a donor and agency flex funds, non-endowed funds established by the board of a nonprofit to support current or long-term work.

See where our grants went in 2023

2023 Grants List