Friday, September 5, 2008

Junior League gives $6k in grants


In an emblematic display of community support, the Junior League of Santa Barbara (JLSB) awarded $6,100 in grant money this week in support of six new programs designed by Santa Barbara nonprofit organizations.
Known as the Community Assistance Fund, the JLSB grant awards funds to local organizations which help improve the lives of at-risk children, youths and families in the Santa Barbara community.

This year’s recipients of the Community Assistance Fund included the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara, CASA, Habitat for Humanity, Hearts Adaptive Riding Center, the Santa Barbara Zoo and Women’s Economic Ventures – Recipients were chosen from a pool of nearly 20 applicants.
“It touches the heart when our organization is able to make people’s lives better,” said JLSB member and organizer, Maria Rendon-Giamio. “It is very hard for us because most of the applications we receive are heartwarming. However, this year we looked to specifics when choosing which organization to sponsor, for example the Santa Barbara Zoo, who asked for 500 dollars for a new set of children’s books.”
CASA and the Santa Barbara Zoo were given resources to provide free zoo tickets and train rides to children as well as a new series of animal related books for the Zoo’s “Storytime” program.
In addition to the funds awarded to the zoo, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara was presented with funding for their “Power Hour” Program, a reading program which addresses the literacy needs of members by providing homework assistance.
Funds were also awarded to Habitat for Humanity for a new forklift, Hearts Adaptive Riding Center for the purchasing of a new horse to be used for therapeutic riding lessons for children and adults with disabilities and Women’s Economic Ventures to subsidize full tuition for a local low-income woman to participate in their “Self Employment Training Program.”
“When we receive an application [for a grant] we first make sure that the organization meets our essential criteria,” Rendon-Giamio said. “An organization needs to align with our mission statement and from there, we can determine if they are a candidate for the grant.”
The JLSB, which has awarded funds for local nonprofit organizations for over fifteen years, is an association of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving the community. According to its members, the organization’s purpose is strictly nonprofit oriented, educational and charitable.
Finances for the Community Assistance Fund are acquired via fundraising done by JLSB throughout the year. Since its inception, the JLSB has donated nearly 100,000 dollars to more than 100 organizations.
Rendon-Giamio said her experience this year with the grant selection process has helped reaffirm her enthusiasm for nonprofit work in the local community.
“It’s definitely rewarding to help organizations, and not only help them but collaborate with them,” Rendon-Giamio said. “We are very small… we have only 120 active members. Therefore, we are only able to do so much in the community. For us, it’s more about being community oriented and training ourselves to become better community volunteers.”
For more information about the Junior League of Santa Barbara, call (805) 963-2704 or visit

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