McCune Foundation Awards Social Justice Grants & Sponsors Community Organizing Trainings

Youth, immigrants, and people with disabilities have been speaking out at school board meetings, at rallies, and throughout the region on how laws and services can better meet their needs. The McCune Foundation recognizes their vital role in civic engagement and is awarding $417,000 in grants to nonprofit groups who support residents in lifting their voices to promote beneficial changes in their community. Sixteen groups in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties will receive funding.

“Now more than ever, activists need funding to empower citizens speaking up for the environment or seeking fair treatment of diverse populations,” said Sara Miller McCune, the Foundation’s president and co-founder. “For decades, the Foundation has given resources to groups committed to equality, and our dedication to them is stronger than ever.”

Among the groups receiving funding are youth activists who fought for more school counselors, farm workers who rallied for overtime pay, and residents seeking more affordable housing for those with a mental illness. In addition to grants, the McCune Foundation will host two community organizing workshops to train new activists. On April 28-30, 2017, trainers from Midwest Academy will offer an Organizing for Social Change training in Ventura. The Center for Third World Organizing will present its Community Action Training in Santa Maria on October 20-22, 2017.

Grant dollars provided by the Foundation will subsidize a portion of salaries for community organizers, trainings, and other program expenses. In 2016, the Foundation awarded 28 grants and dozens of contributions totaling more than $800,000. Grassroots groups that meet the Foundation’s funding guidelines may submit a letter of inquiry by the next deadline of January 13, 2017. Details on applying for a grant are available at

The McCune Foundation was established in 1990 by Sara Miller McCune and George D. McCune, the founders of SAGE Publications, Inc. in Thousand Oaks. The Foundation focuses its grantmaking in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties with the mission of being an agent of productive change in society by supporting the development of social capital in the region.

Grants Awarded in November 2016

The ARC of Ventura County – $15,000 for The Co-Advocates of Ventura County and Project R: Rethink, Reconsider, Respect, which engage people with disabilities and develop their leadership skills to confront social inequities and implement systemic change.

CAUSE – $40,000 for general operating support to build grassroots power to realize social, economic, and environmental justice in Ventura County.

Central Coast Future Leaders – $30,000 for youth leadership programs to empower youth in North Santa Barbara County to become more active leaders in their homes, schools and communities.

Coalition for Sustainable Transportation (COAST) – $15,000 for Eastside Walks, to organize residents of Santa Barbara to advocate for pedestrian safety and improved bus service; and $10,000 for community organizing coaching support.

El Centrito Family Learning Centers – $34,500 for Padres Promotores de la Educación and Asociación de Padres, which cultivates community leaders who organize parents in Oxnard schools to achieve equitable access to educational opportunities.

Food & Water Watch – $20,000 for community organizers in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties to mobilize residents and organizations concerned with fracking and similar oil and gas extraction practices.

Guadalupe Kids Come First Foundation – $31,500 for THRIVE Parent Academy, a parent-supported and inspired education project focused on improving community health, leadership development, wellbeing, and personal education to transform the community of Guadalupe through civic and educational engagement.

Just Communities Central Coast – $24,750 a year for two years for youth to attend the Community Leadership Institute, which prepares high school youth to be leaders for diversity and justice in their schools and communities.

La Hermandad Hank Lacayo Youth & Family Center – $25,000 for grassroots organizing and leadership training among working-class immigrants in Ventura County to promote social justice for immigrants.

Leading from Within – $10,000 for Leading for Community Impact, a leadership development program for nonprofit leaders in North Santa Barbara County.

Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project – $40,000 to develop community leadership among indigenous Oaxacan farm workers, youth, and other immigrants who work to achieve just working and living conditions and improved educational opportunities.

One Step A La Vez – $30,000 for youth committees in Fillmore and Piru working to expand the community’s voice for social change to address transportation systems, needs of LGBTQ youth, affordable housing, and to reduce school suspensions, expulsions, and youth incarceration.

Organización en California de Líderes Campesinas – $25,000 to train farm worker women to develop solutions to address and prevent sexual violence in the workplace and launch a campaign to combat this problem in Ventura County.

Peoples’ Self-Help Housing – $21,500 for the Community Building and Engagement program in Santa Barbara County to engage residents at the agency’s affordable housing complexes in leadership training and community change projects.

Transitions-Mental Health Association – $20,000 for Lived Experience Advocacy Development (LEAD), which engages people in Santa Maria and Lompoc who have experienced mental illness in political advocacy related to mental health issues.