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Community Rallies Together to Support the We Are Santa Monica Fund and Fight Food Insecurity

January 7, 2021 8:35 AM

Community Rallies Together to Support the We Are Santa Monica Fund and Fight Food Insecurity

Demonstrating an outpouring of support from the Santa Monica community, individuals, businesses, and philanthropic organizations contributed over $1.1 million in 2020 through the City’s We Are Santa Monica Fund. These funds will assist residents facing food insecurity through the Virginia Avenue Park Food Pantry, advance racial equity work, and support small businesses that face closure due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This past holiday season was unlike any other, and the needs in our community are greater than ever before. The community’s holiday response to those needs shows how much love, care and commitment exists in every corner of Santa Monica. I am so proud that, in our darkest moments, we continue to support one another,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “On behalf of Council, I extend my utmost gratitude for every donation, and for this community spirit that will lead us through to brighter days ahead.”  

The We Are Santa Monica Fund was created in spring 2020 in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund is administered through the California Community Foundation and donations to the fund support non-profit and emergency City services in four areas including:

  1. COVID-19 Relief for Santa Monica Residents donations support impacts of COVID-19 on Santa Monica residents including housing insecurity and food insecurity.
  2. Business Recovery Support donations provide support to efforts aimed at recovery so our businesses can continue to serve the community.
  3. Black Agenda in Santa Monica donations are a vehicle to support the Black Agenda in Santa Monica and citywide efforts to advance racial equity in our community. For general donations made without a support project selected, 10% will be used to implement the Black Agenda in Santa Monica.
  4. Food Pantry at Virginia Avenue Park donations help serve those facing food insecurity in our community.

Established at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Avenue Park emergency food pantry has provided over 300 individuals and families with fresh groceries each week, distributing 10,000 food boxes in the past 41 weeks.  In December, the City Council contributed $10,000 in Council discretionary funding, and committed up to another $10,000 to match contributions made from the public to the Virginia Avenue Park Food Pantry through December 31, 2020. Through the end of 2020, this contribution was more than matched. 

“Every dollar donated to the We Are Santa Monica Fund will help someone in our community through this emergency,” said Chief Communications Officer Debbie Lee. “We are deeply moved by the generosity of our Santa Monica community to help those struggling to feed their family. The pandemic has compounded the needs around food and housing security and the We Are Santa Monica Fund will continue to seek donors to address these needs.”

A full list of donors will be included in the Second Quarter Donations Information Item scheduled to post on the City’s website in February 2021.

Donations to support the emergency efforts in the areas covered by the We Are Santa Monica Fund can be made at www.calfund.org/wearesantamonica or by contacting Debbie.Lee@smgov.net.

The We Are Santa Monica Fund is a donor-advised fund managed by the California Community Foundation (CCF).  The City makes recommendations to CCF regarding distributions of funds to eligible nonprofits with a history of serving the Santa Monica community, or to City programs that benefit the community,  to provide services associated with the four areas described above. Donations may be designated for one of the four areas.  For unrestricted donations, at least 10% will be used to develop and implement the Black Agenda in Santa Monica. 

Virginia Avenue Park Food Pantry Photos >

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