Ecosystem, Community Giving

CEF to deliver record number of community grants to West Contra Costa nonprofits

Community Giving Initiative will support 46 youth-serving organizations on Giving Tuesday

RICHMOND, CA — The Chamberlin Education Foundation will deliver grants to 46 nonprofit organizations through its annual Giving Tuesday grantmaking initiative.

The foundation’s Community Giving Initiative (CGI) provides one-time, unrestricted grants of up to $15,000 to nonprofits that provide a broad range of direct services to West Contra Costa youth. 

“In our diverse region, students face various obstacles to their health, well-being, and educational success,” said Kim Miyoshi, Program Officer, Restorative Student Interventions. Miyoshi manages the CGI grant program. 

“We know that the key to equity is a targeted approach that centers the whole child,” Miyoshi said. 

A record number of West Contra Costa organizations applied for CGI funding in 2022. This year’s awardee total climbed 53% over the prior year, resulting in over $290,000 in CGI funds to be delivered to grantees this month.

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Above: Youth at Los Cenzontles Cultural Arts Academy celebrate their heritage by learning music, dance, and performance from artist elders. Top: Bay Area Girls Club provides over 100 young people with “opportunities to change their own narrative” through media production and more. Photos courtesy of Los Cenzontles and Bay Area Girls Club. Published with permission.

The program’s growth extended CGI support to 13 organizations that had not previously received a CGI award. 

David Millstein, the volunteer Chief Operating Officer at first-time CGI grantee College Is Real, said that for many students and families, factors like the “economic uncertainties arising from inflation and a constricting workforce” can make it “understandable that the college dream is no longer foremost in their mind.” 

College Is Real has responded, Millstein said, by increasing support for Richmond teens. 

“With this added level of individual attention, we ensure that our students will continue to persevere and succeed in their pursuit of higher education,” he said.

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Since 1936, the Richmond Art Center has been "sharing art and creating with community." Photo courtesy of the Richmond Art Center. Published with permission.
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The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts offers over 3,000 West Contra Costa youth learning experiences in music, theater, dance, and media-making. Photo courtesy of EBCPA. Published with permission.

Another first-time CGI recipient, Camp It Up!, provides safe and inclusive outdoor recreational experiences for LGBTQAI+ youth, families, and allies. 

“It is a scary time to be LGBTQAI+,” said Claudia Vierra Allen, President of Camp It Up!’s Board of Directors.

“Camp It Up!’s Family Camps affirm and celebrate LGBTQAI+ children, families, and the spectrum of gender identities. Our Camps are a place where family memories and community-building happen, and youth experience a deep sense of safety and belonging,” Vierra Allen said. 

While CEF focuses the majority of its grantmaking and program support on efforts to improve academic success and education equity for K-12 public school students, the foundation’s annual CGI grants add support for community-based organizations that fill in critical gaps for local youth. 

Since 2017, CGI grants have delivered over $1 million to local organizations that provide direct service to young people across West Contra Costa.*

This year’s grantee orgs represent a broad cross section of youth service providers. These include organizations that offer extracurricular academic support and college readiness, youth development and leadership, arts, culture and outdoor education, and family and trauma-informed support services. The majority of this year’s grantees have received a CGI grant in at least one prior year. 

One returning grantee organization, Richmond Art Center, will receive CGI support for the first time since it last applied in 2019.

The center’s programs “provide vital arts learning opportunities for young people in Richmond to develop new skills, receive mentorship from professional artists, and experience social-emotional learning,” said Executive Director José Rivera.

Nonprofit organizations that provide direct service to West Contra Costa youth are enouraged to visit the foundation’s Community Giving Initiative page to learn more, and sign up for updates about next year’s CGI grant application period. 

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Young people sit for story time facilitated by Tandem, Partners in Early Learning, a first-time CGI grantee. Photo courtesy of Tandem. Published with permission.

*Community Giving Initiative grants from 2017-2020 were provided by the Chamberlin Family Foundation. 

About the Chamberlin Education Foundation

The Chamberlin Education Foundation supports initiatives that advance education equity and academic excellence in West Contra Costa public schools. CEF’s grants and programs support effective education leadership, high-quality curriculum and instruction, restorative student interventions, and help create and sustain a student-centered public education ecosystem.

Click here for more about our team, our vision, and our foundation’s guiding principles.