The Southeast Ventura County YMCA through its disaster-relief program, California Strong, has completed distributing the first round of the $120,000 allocated for direct financial assistance grants to Ventura County residents whose financial situation has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The grants are from the Rapid Response Fund set up by the Ventura County Community Foundation (VCCF). The VCCF partnered with the YMCA to provide immediate financial assistance, reviewing grant applications, vetting applicants and distributing checks.
To date, 203 families have received checks for $250 each. "I am so grateful for the assistance," says Elizabeth Lopez, a check recipient. "This brings tears to my eyes and a relief to my anxiety. I can't even express how appreciative I am."
"For many, the extra cash means they will be able to buy food for the next several weeks," says Ronnie Stone, YMCA president and CEO. "Elizabeth's note of appreciation is just one of a many we've received from people expressing heartfelt thank yous. So many community members are hurting right now. The numbers are staggering."
“We are extremely grateful to the entire leadership team at the Southeast Ventura County YMCA for their transparent, accountable, and rapid response to community members in need during this very challenging time. I especially appreciate how they have worked with each family who has applied to also help connect them with additional vital resources, such as those provided by FoodSHARE and Give An Hour, an organization providing no cost mental and emotional wellness support in both English and Spanish," says Vanessa Bechtel, president and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation. "In times like this, we all need to stick together and the YMCA, like always, is there in service to help build a resilient and connected community"
Other applicants will be vetted and if approved, they will be notified with instructions on how to receive their check. No new applications are being accepted at this time. A total of 480 checks will be distributed.
"Our goal is to get these checks out to people as quickly as possible. They need money now for daily living expenses," says Stone.
Southeast Ventura County YMCA
As part of the community since 1964, the Southeast Ventura County YMCA is a nonprofit charitable organization. Its mission is to build relationships, impact lives and strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The three Southeast Ventura County YMCA branches are Yarrow Family YMCA (serving Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Oak Park) Conejo Valley YMCA (serving Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Moorpark and the Santa Rosa Valley) and Simi Valley Family YMCA (serving Simi Valley). The branches served over 20,500 residents last year including more than 7,000 who were able to participate because of money raised during the annual support campaign. https://www.sevymca.org
Ventura County Community Foundation
Established in 1987, the Ventura County Community Foundation builds philanthropy in the region by stewarding legacies through careful management of charitable capital. The foundation honors donor intent by protecting endowments. The nonprofit specializes in connecting philanthropic resources with community needs for the benefit of all. The organization also serves the community through scholarships, grantmaking, and collaborative partnerships. For more information, visit www.vccf.org.