In 2019, The Community Foundation was approached by Joshua Peterson, President of Wathen Castanos Homes, seeking to create a novel partnership while they were in the early stages of a development in South Morros. Knowing that The Foundation and Wathen Castanos Homes shared the goal of ‘building community through relationships’ and by fostering the idea that neighbors help each other, Wathen Castanos and The Community Foundation joined forces; in 2020, the Wathen Castanos Homes Fund was officially established.
The Partnership in Action
A portion of each sale price of every home built by Wathen Castanos is contributed to a Donor Advised Fund within The Community Foundation. From there, grants are then awarded to local organizations that offer programs to improve the lives of those who live in the community. Grants may support a variety of needs including arts and culture, education, parks and trails, recreation, wildlife rescue, women, youth, as well as those that benefit the homeless. Through their homes and grantmaking, Wathen Castanos is giving back to the future of the community that they are literally building!
In July 2021, the first Wathen Castanos Fund grant was awarded to Operation Surf, which uses curriculum-based programs to inspire injured veterans to seek mental and physical wellness by providing resources, tools, and peer-to-peer support. Using the healing powers of the ocean and their core values of care, inclusion, commitment, integrity, and communication, they help to change participants’ lives – one wave at a time. Participants have experienced a marked decrease in PTSD and depression symptoms. One week and six-month programs are offered in coastal communities, in addition to ongoing virtual support and community. Through the grant, Wathen Castanos has given back to the veterans who have given so much in service to our country.
By serving as a catalyst to help others and connecting those who want to help with those who need help, Wathen Castanos Homes and the Foundation have teamed up to serve San Luis Obispo County and build a better future.
One in ten children suffers from child abuse, and since there are 50,000 children living in San Luis Obispo County, there are roughly 5,000 children in SLO County who might be struggling from child abuse and a lack in safety. Programs that promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families are crucial to the security of our community.
The Center for Family Strengthening strives to make positive systemic changes in the lives of families, understanding stronger families will bring up kids who are healthier and more resilient.
Bob and Pat Barlow understood how important early intervention is for children at risk for behavioral and mental health issues and their families, so in 2021 they set out to support a local children’s assessment center. The James Robert (Bob) and Patricia Barlow Fund for Strong Families and Communities – held at The Community Foundation – awarded Martha’s Place Children’s Center with a grant through the Center for Family Strengthening in order to help strengthen families, prevent child abuse, and provide essential resources to support families in need within our community. Martha’s Place Children’s Assessment and Treatment Center allows children in SLO County to reach their full potential, to be loved, to be emotionally well developed and to enter school ready and able to learn. They give the most vulnerable young children a voice and a safe, stable environment in which to thrive.
How do they do it?
Martha’s Place offers expert, multidisciplinary assessment of infants and young children who exhibit extreme behavioral concerns, developmental delays, and known prenatal substance exposure. Case Managers and Family Advocates guide families through the stressful process of accessing appropriate services, linking them to other recommended services, and providing additional information and support and generally navigate the complex mental and behavioral health systems. By working with the family and partnering with family support organizations throughout SLO County, they help families in need access appropriate services for their child, protect children from abuse, and ensure that strong families are a community priority.
The Community Foundation is proud to serve as the connector between the James Robert (Bob) and Patricia Barlow Fund for Strong Families and Communities and Martha’s Place as they strive to make SLO County safe for all children.