MONTEREY COUNTY — Siembra Latinos Fund has now topped $80,000 in cumulative grants after awarding $23,000 to six nonprofit organizations in August for projects and programs serving Latinx residents throughout Monterey County.
An affiliate fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, Siembra Latinos Fund was created in 2017 to improve the quality of life for Latinx residents in Monterey County. Its mission is to “inspire philanthropy and giving by Latinos for Latinos in the community.”
“The pandemic uplifted barriers Latinos face every day,” said Joel Hernandez Laguna, community impact officer at Community Foundation for Monterey County.
“Resources from the Siembra Latinos Fund aim to expand programs and services that help build stronger communities,” Hernandez Laguna added.
Among this year’s grantees in South Monterey County were King City Boxing Club, for positive activities for youth in King City; and First Night Monterey, for programs at the Greenfield Cultural Arts Center.
“We are so grateful for the Siembra Latinos grant, which will help us sustain and grow our youth program,” said Peggy Keirn, board secretary of the King City Boxing Club. “The grant will be used for operating expenses, including equipment, rent, travel and vehicle expenses.”
Greenfield Cultural Arts Center was established by First Night Monterey in 2014 to offer visual and performing art classes and workshops to area youth.
The Arts Center is currently working with Greenfield High School students and community members on its upcoming Día de los Muertos Festival on Saturday, Oct. 30. The celebration includes original artwork, altars, dance and musical performances and many art activities.
“We are so appreciative, as the funds will bring the arts into the lives of Greenfield teens, as well as their families, and help them use the arts to describe their community and to explore, discuss and advocate alternatives to violence and give them positive recognition in the workshops and exhibits from teachers, peers and community leaders,” said Ellen Martin, executive director of First Night Monterey.
Salinas Community Science Workshop also received a grant this year for its Saturday School program. The new workshop is led by Curt Gabrielson, former co-director of the Greenfield Community Science Workshop.
A grand-opening celebration was held Saturday, Oct. 16, at the workshop, located at El Sausal Middle School, 1155 E. Alisal St., in Salinas. The free event featured science demos and make-and-take projects for youth, among other activities.
Digital Nest was also awarded a grant this year for its computer literacy and skills program for youth operating in Salinas and Watsonville. The nonprofit works to connect youth living in agricultural areas of Salinas and North Monterey County to skill-building, transforming participants into professionals who can create successful careers, innovative solutions and prosperous communities.
Other 2021 grantees were Santa Cruz Community Ventures, for an economic recovery of rural Monterey County Latinx residents; and YWCA Monterey County, for youth education and advocacy.