SVCF awards $1.6 million for economic security efforts

The Mountain View-based Silicon Valley Community Foundation has awarded more than $1.6 million to support organizations that provide financial education and services to low- and moderate-income residents of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, and groups working to improve land use, affordable housing and public transportation options for people of all income levels.

Grant amounts range from $10,000 to $80,000 and are spread between two of the foundation’s grantmaking focus areas: economic security and building strong communities. Forty-five grants will support nonprofit organizations serving the two counties.

“As the cost of living in Silicon Valley has increased, our grants to deliver financial education and asset-building programs for low-income people have grown even more important,” said Manuel Santamaria, vice president of strategic initiatives and grantmaking for the foundation. “Likewise, SVCF’s grants to improve residents’ access to affordable housing and public transit help address very timely needs across the Silicon Valley community.”

Of the $1.6 million awarded, 28 grants totaling $865,000 will go to organizations offering financial education and asset-building assistance. The work of the grantees aligns with the foundation’s grantmaking strategy on economic security, which aims to increase availability of financial education and reduce predatory lending to help families achieve greater economic security.

Among the economic security grantees:

• Samaritan House will receive $40,000 to empower low-income individuals and families in San Mateo County to change their financial behavior and achieve long-term economic self-sufficiency through a bilingual, progressive, in-house financial coaching program.

• AnewAmerica Community Corp. will receive $15,000 to build economic security in underserved communities in Santa Clara County through expanded tax preparation assistance, financial literacy education and one-on-one counseling.

A total of $745,000 will go to support 17 nonprofit organizations whose programs align with the foundation’s grantmaking strategy for building strong communities. The strategy supports local and regional planning efforts that promote affordable housing and transit-oriented development, access to green space and greater coordination and civic engagement in regional planning issues.

Among the building strong communities grantees:

• The San Francisco Organizing Project/Peninsula Interfaith Action will receive $80,000 to train and empower low-income residents and residents of color to engage in finding long-term solutions to displacement and housing affordability that will lead to community stability, vitality and health.

• The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County will receive $15,000 to support a project to employ research and data analysis to drive policy work that preserves mobile home parks, saving a threatened source of affordable housing for low-income residents.

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