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Foundation makes Fillmore's One Step possible

posted Jan 4, 2011, 10:19 PM by Unknown user

Foundation makes Fillmore's One Step possible

By Anne Kallas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Without the grant from the McCune Foundation, Fillmore’s One Step A La Vez, a youth advocacy program, would probably not exist.

“Without them, we could not operate. We wouldn’t have the resources to do it,” said Lynn Edmonds, Fillmore mentoring programs director for Big BrothersBig Sisters, which oversees One Step.

The program includes after-school services for young people in the Fillmore-Piru area, as well as advocacy training where teens learn how to promote various causes.

“Fillmore and Piru are isolated and poor and easy to ignore. Everybody thinks nobody is going to complain when they are overlooked,” Edmonds said. “The kids have become that voice saying, ‘don’t do it.’ McCune provides training, support, networking and focus to have the kids look at what’s happening in the community.”

The One Step A La Vez program received a $20,000 grant from the McCune Foundation, which this fall has awarded $367,000 for community organizing and social justice initiatives in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Grants were made to support organizing efforts by farmworkers, renters, parents, youth and others seeking to improve their lives and neighborhoods.

The grants are given to promote programs that teach leadership and advocacy, according to Claudia Armann, executive director of the McCune Foundation.

“The philosophy of the foundation comes from the notion that people in communities are best suited to solve their problems,” she said. “Our distinction is we’re looking for those groups that are helping people help themselves. We talk about developing leadership in our guidelines. We do not fund direct services.”

The McCune Foundation was established in 1990 by Sara Miller McCune and the late George D. McCune. The foundation seeks to “build social capital through empowerment and engagement of citizens at the grass-roots level,” according to its website.

Armann said the foundation is funded by Sage Publications, the McCune-owned publishing company in Thousand Oaks. With funding of $1 million a year, the foundation has awarded 32 grants totaling more than $710,000 in 2010.

In addition to One Step, these grants were awarded in the fall:

Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy, $80,000; Ventura County Clergy & Laity United for Economic Justice, $46,000; Coalition for Sustainable Transportation, $20,000; El Centrito Family Learning Centers, $35,000; La Hermandad Hank Lacayo Youth & Family Center, $30,000; Mixteco/Indigena Community Organizing Project, $45,000; PUEBLO, Rental Housing Roundtable, $15,000; Regents of the University of California, Mexican Immigrant Labor and Producers’ Association, $15,000; Santa Barbara County Action Network, $25,000; Ventura County Community Foundation, $25,000; Center for Third World Organizing, $3,500; and Santa Barbara County Action Network, $7,230.

Grass-roots organizations that meet the foundation’s funding guidelines and are interested in being considered for a grant may submit a letter of inquiry by the next deadline Jan. 14.

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