Our Racial Equity Approach & Actions

Our vision is to make Santa Cruz County thrive for all who call it home, now and in the future. To achieve that vision, we continuously advance racial equity in our work: in who we serve, who we are, our partnerships, and the impact we make together.

Here's how we define racial equity:

Intentional Investment in Equity

For decades, the Community Foundation’s work has been focused on advancing opportunities for people in our County who have less access to the resources they need to support their health and well-being. We leverage our resources toward a future that is just, equitable, and inclusive of our diverse community by expanding opportunities for those who lack access to capital. In other words, we intentionally invest in those who have been, and continue to be, excluded from economic advancement.

Central to this work are our donors, many of whom have turned to us to ask how their giving can make an impact on racial equity. We’re working to design learning and engagement experiences for those interested and developed our “Tips on Giving Locally for Racial Equity” page to help guide giving to organizations advancing racial equity in Santa Cruz County.

Celebrating Progress

Over $5 million in low-interest loans since 2018 to nonprofits and businesses solving social challenges and spurring economic growth on key issues such as housing affordability and economic mobility for our county’s workforce.

Of the over $10 million in Community Grants, COVID-19 Relief, Rise Together, and Fire Response grants issued in 2021: 94% of grant dollars went to nonprofits serving majority People of Color and 70% went to People of Color led and serving nonprofits. In 2021, 88% of nonprofit grantees surveyed feel the Foundation is a trusted partner in advancing racial equity locally.

78% of scholarship grant dollars in 2021 were awarded to students of color.

We have a long-term goal for staff and board to reflect the race and ethnicity demographics of our county. This is our biggest internal area for improvement. We are striving to increase our recruitment and retention of diverse talent in 2022.

Founding Rise Together members in 2021,

Collaborating on the Work Ahead

There is much more to do for the Community Foundation to deepen our commitment to racial equity. That’s why we created Rise Together Santa Cruz County.

Rise Together was founded in June of 2020 amidst the national uprisings following the death of George Floyd and as COVID-19 disproportionately harmed communities of color and reaffirmed the stark health, economic, and social inequities in our country. Originally a group of 17 Leaders of Color and a team from Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, Rise Together's work is just beginning. In 2022, our intercultural coalition is 32 members strong as we work together to build a more just and equitable county.

The people most affected by injustice need to be the ones trusted to drive the solutions that will work best for them. And yet, historically, organizations led by People of Color receive less grant money with more strings attached than white-led organizations.

Collaboratively, the first cohort of Rise Together coalition developed its purpose and goals and determined the grant-making process. Through this shared leadership and decision making, Rise Together granted $423,000 in June 2021 for efforts that are working to: increase upward economic mobility; celebrate, and preserve People of Color’s stories and culture; increase equity and anti-racist policy; deliver essential services and improve well-being for People of Color to prosper; and continuously give and grow sustained funding for communities of color.

Give to the Rise Together Fund for Racial Equity

Take action with us!