As the COVID-19 pandemic placed a significant financial strain on Santa Paula’s nonprofit organizations, the Santa Paula City Council took action at their regular meeting on April 6 to ensure the long-term sustainability of these groups that provide critical services to the Santa Paula community. The City is using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to distribute a sum of $250,000 to 10 local non-profit groups.
“Our local nonprofit community continued to operate, many times in limited or innovative ways, to help those in need during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Councilmember Carlos Juarez. “We are incredibly grateful that we were able to use this federal funding to give back to the organizations that work so hard to keep the Santa Paula community safe and healthy.”
In December 2021, the City Council decided to allocate ARPA money to local nonprofit groups and directed Councilmembers Carlos Juarez and Leslie Cornejo to lead an ad hoc committee to develop criteria to distribute grant money, evaluate applications, and make funding recommendations. Applications for the ad hoc committee were accepted from February 14, 2022 until March 14, 2022. The ad hoc committee used five benchmarks to guide their recommendations:
- Organization’s history, mission and goals
- Impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis on the organization
- Services provided to Santa Paula residents during the COVID-19 crisis
- How the funds received would benefit the Santa Paula community
- Organization’s plan to measure the impact of their project(s)
At the April 6 City Council meeting, the City Council unanimously voted to approve the committee’s recommendation to award grants to the following organizations:
- Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clara Valley – $42,500
- Santa Clara Valley Hospice – $42,500
- LUCHA/ Poder Popular – $35,000
- SPIRIT of Santa Paula – $30,000
- Food Share – $25,000
- Promotoras y Promotores – $20,000
- Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center – $20,000
- Santa Paula Latino Town Hall – $20,000
- Canine Adoption Rescue League – $10,000
- The House of MAGIC Foundation for the Arts – $5,000
The selected organizations continued providing food assistance, children’s programming, mental and physical health services, homelessness prevention, homeless shelters and many other important services to Santa Paula residents throughout the pandemic. For example, the Boys & Girls Club supported more than 1,900 children with after school programs in the Santa Paula
area, and in 2021, Food Share provided $6,500,000 worth of food assistance to residents that were experiencing food insecurity. The money these organizations will receive from the City will help solidify their financial security and guarantee that these important programs will continue.
The City of Santa Paula is committed to using ARPA funds to improve City services and help the Santa Paula community recover from the impacts of COVID-19. The City has previously used the funds received to trim overgrown trees along Cemetery Road, expand the City’s family programming by creating the Mobile Activities Center, and support the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce’s local business outreach efforts. For more information about the American Rescue Plan Act, visit the City’s website.