Six Economic Opportunity Projects Selected for Second Round of Wellbeing Microgrants
June 6, 2019
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – This week, six Santa Monica residents were awarded Wellbeing Microgrants to fund economic opportunity and equity projects. This is the second round of $500 grants bringing the total number of recipients to 14. Fourteen applications were submitted and on June 4th, the community was invited to join Mayor Gleam Davis in celebrating the six recipients at Virginia Avenue Park. Attendees had the chance to meet the Microgrant recipients and find out more about their projects and how to get involved.
“There are phenomenal ideas in the Santa Monica community and through the microgrants, the City is able to help residents bring their ideas to life,” said Mayor Gleam Davis. “These projects form connections, nurture entrepreneurship, develop business acumen, and will ultimately bring residents together.”
Each project takes a different approach to supporting economic opportunity with common themes around financial empowerment, support for small businesses, and getting creative start-up businesses off the ground. The leaders of each project will also measure how well they are meeting their goals by surveying participants and tracking progress.
“Community members lead the way to better solutions so that we are healthier, more economically secure, continue to learn, and are more connected as a community,” said Julie Rusk, Chief of Civic Wellbeing. “We look forward to watching these impressive projects roll out and to the bonus outcome of this effort which is stronger social cohesion, a direct data point from the Wellbeing Index.”
The City's Wellbeing Index revealed that many of residents are facing economic challenges. One in 4 residents live paycheck to paycheck or struggles to get by financially, facing worries about paying their rent or mortgage. Forty nine percent say their job is very stressful, and 60% don't think there is enough opportunity in Santa Monica for their children to afford to live here when they are adults. While many of these issues require big solutions, these economic opportunity-focused microgrants can help in small ways that have a big impact – they fund skills training to increase options for better employment, kickstart new businesses, and provide financial literacy and empowerment opportunities for members of the Santa Monica community.
The Wellbeing Microgrants are made possible through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize, which Santa Monica won in 2016.