Children’s Fund Helps Nonprofits Service Community
By Dianne Anderson
Help for local grassroots nonprofits to spread the love through community outreach may be harder to access in the Inland Empire than in other places, but it’s not impossible.
For the past three decades, the Children’s Fund has been helping county departments and nonprofits with extra resources in areas of social and personal development, child abuse prevention, substance abuse and homelessness.
Shari Hunke, spokesperson with the Children’s Fund, said their nonprofit started as a fundraising organization in1986 focused on foster youth, but over the past five years, they have broadened their scope to reach vulnerable children countywide.
While the program does not offer direct community services, they provide resources to county case managers, along with support for individual nonprofits that serve families and children.
In recent weeks, the organization kicked off their annual drive to collect 5,000 backpacks from local givers and businesses. The nonprofit also partners with eight different San Bernardino County departments that service children, including probation, mental health children, and family services.
Those thousands of backpacks collected and other donations will then be redistributed back to people in need.
“We have 54 nonprofits that are vetted and approved. We partner with in-kind donations to get them out to the children in the community,” Hunke said.
The Children’s Fund provides pallets of boxes of items that go out to families and clients. Recently, she said they distributed $1.2 million worth of clothing.
“Over the course of the year, we have campaign care drives, at Christmastime we do toys. This past year we collected 35,000 toys who got them in the hands of children,” she said.
Last year, Children’s Fund helped nonprofits and county departments service 32,600 children with a holiday gift.
Nancy Lopez, program supervisor at El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center in San Bernardino, said that the Children’s Fund has greatly assisted their organization, particularly for families that have limited resources.
The help has been essential for their program to offer case management and resources for their families, many who live in remote areas of San Bernardino County. She said it’s been a huge support because many parents have nowhere left to go.
“We have received several resources, clothing, food, toys, utility assistance, furniture, hygiene products, to name a few,” she said.
First 5 San Bernardino funds one of El Sol’s programs. She El Sol connected with the Children’s Fund just by being at the same meetings where their nonprofit representatives were participating.
“Usually, we’ll go to a meeting and someone will introduce our program, saying that we serve children and their families. And they let us know if they’re able to provide any donations for us,” she said.
Betty Chambers, director of programs for Children’s Fund, said the fund equips nonprofits in the region with resources so they can provide for children in need.
“We’re fortunate to partner with 54 resource agencies, getting them clothing, books, beds, backpacks, and other basic needs. They, in turn, provide those items to their clients in need.”
Other local programs are also helping nonprofits access grants, free classes to learn how to write grants, and other training resources.
The Community Foundation helps nonprofits build capacity, and learn how to run their programs more efficiently. They give grants and scholarships across education, health and human services, civic and environment, arts and culture, children and families.
Since their foundation began, it has awarded over $100 million for support programs. In 2016 alone, their website reports that they have awarded over $10.8 in grants and scholarships.
Other grant opportunities are searchable at the Inland Empire Capaciteria, a nonprofit resource directory. The website hosts numerous grant training events, some free, with potential funding opportunities for grassroots and smaller nonprofits. The database features a variety of funders offering small seed grants of $250 to larger federal dollars.
On August 2, from 11:30 to 1:30 p.m. the Funding Information Network Online Training Apple Valley will be held by the Academy for Grassroots Organizations. The interactive session on tips and tricks of grant-seeking will set up 9:45 a.m. Participants are required to bring their laptop wifi ready. First come first serve with limited seats and registration required at www.AcademyGO.com.
For more information, see https://www.thecommunityfoundation.net/grants