Tips for Local Giving this Holiday Season

With hundreds of active nonprofits in San Luis Obispo County, there are many options available for giving during the Holiday Season that will ensure your tax-deductible contributions support our community. The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County is here to simplify your year-end giving. Let us be your guide — we’ll handle the research, starting with these tips you can use to maximize the benefits of supporting your community.

Use a Donor Advised Fund (DAF): A Donor Advised Fund (DAF) opens up the world of philanthropy to donors who want to address community needs in San Luis Obispo County and beyond. You can enjoy full tax deductions now and contribute to the fund as frequently as you like, and then recommend grants to your favorite nonprofit organizations whenever it makes sense for you.

If you already have a fund held at The Community Foundation, you can easily recommend a distribution to the charity of your choice. For grants you wish to distribute in 2023, please contact before December 16. This is the preferred date to submit recommendations to provide the best chance of grantees receiving funds before December 31.

Use your IRA for Charity: Contributing from your IRA directly to The Community Foundation is an easy way to reduce your tax burden and make a gift to support multiple causes that are meaningful to you. The transfer must be to a qualified exempt nonprofit and may be for a designated purpose or field of interest fund. Make sure to contact your financial advisor for more information. 

Gifts of Cash:  You can donate to The Community Foundation directly by check, with cash, through our website, or however is easiest for you. You can trust us to help direct your contribution to a cause in SLO County or beyond. 

Gifts of Stock:  Donating appreciated stock offers you a way to support causes you care about while potentially enjoying a more cost-efficient deduction based on the current market value, not just what you originally paid. If your stocks have grown significantly since you bought them, donating them directly to a nonprofit like us can provide you with a deduction for their current value while bypassing taxes on potential gains. This means more of your contribution goes towards making a difference in our community.


Gifts of Property or Land: Donating real estate is a powerful way to fulfill your charitable aspirations while maximizing your tax benefits within legal boundaries.There are many ways that you can gift property to receive tax benefits and maximize your estate planning. The Community Foundation has established the Real Estate Foundation of San Luis Obispo County specifically for property gifts to alleviate property upkeep concerns, sales, insurance, and taxes for you and your family.

Your donations shape our community’s future. Partner with us to make a difference that lasts beyond the holiday season. Reach out to Donor Services at for personalized assistance. 

**The tips and information shared here are for educational purposes only and should not be considered official financial advice. We encourage readers to seek personalized guidance from a certified financial advisor for their specific financial needs.**

The Community Foundation will continue processing grants and issuing payments through the end of the year, but external factors such as delayed postal service or organizations closing offices for holidays, can impact when grantees receive funds. As a reminder, there is no tax implication for donors when grantees receive Foundation funds.

Festival Mozaic and CFSLOCO: A Partnership Enriching Community Through Music

This feature is part of our #25for25 showcase where we highlight 25 stories to mark our 25 years of philanthropy in SLO County. These partners and community members have allowed the Foundation to continue giving and growing – together!

In the heart of California’s Central Coast, a remarkable partnership has thrived for a quarter of a century, bringing the art of music to San Luis Obispo County. Festival Mozaic – an annual celebration of music and one of the original grantees of the Community Foundation in 1999 – captivates audiences and fosters cultural enrichment through chamber music concerts, orchestra performances, crossover and popular artists, dinners and educational events, and more. With each passing year, Festival Mozaic has reaffirmed its commitment to artistic excellence, forging a lasting legacy that echoes throughout the region.

Festival Mozaic has been a grantee of The Community Foundation for many years. They have remained steadfast in their mission to provide the joy of live performances to the friends and families of San Luis Obispo County. Founded in 1971, Festival Mozaic has become a premier destination music experience unique to San Luis Obispo County. The roots of the festival can be traced back to the visionary minds of Clifton Swanson, Ronald Ratcliffe, and John Russell, three music professors at the California Polytechnic State University. In May 1970, they conceived the idea of a summer music festival and launched the inaugural season of the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival in 1971. Performances since have been featured in venues across the county from Shandon to Nipomo. 

Today, Festival Mozaic stands as a testament to the founders’ vision and the enduring spirit of classical music. They have expanded their programming to encompass a wide range of musical genres, creating a captivating symphony of music and settings and even offering free and reduced-price community events like mini-concerts, family concerts, master classes, lectures, and open rehearsals. 

Through the support of CFSLOCO, Festival Mozaic has been able to enhance awareness and accessibility to their programs, reaching more individuals in the community. The launch of a smartphone app and mobile website has provided convenient access to festival offerings, furthering their impact. In 2001, Festival Mozaic became the first recipient of a competitive grant from CFSLOCO for a family concert and educational outreach, marking the foundation of their long-standing collaboration.

“Grants from the Foundation have played a crucial and instrumental role in stabilizing, empowering, and ensuring the continued success and growth of Festival Mozaic, ensuring that irrespective of budget constraints, the magic of experiencing live music continues to resonate throughout the community,” says Lloyd Tanner, Executive Director of Festival Mozaic. “We’re especially thankful to The Community Foundation for sponsoring our Midday Mini-Concerts this year.”

As we celebrate 25 years of philanthropy this year, The Community Foundation takes great pleasure in sponsoring Festival Mozaic’s 2023 Midday Mini-Concert Series. By offering a contribution towards these events, we aim to enhance accessibility and enable a wider audience to experience the magic of these performances, and foster the profound impact that philanthropy has had, and continues to have, on our community throughout the years.

The Midday Mini-Concert series is just one of many series included in this year’s Summer Music Festival that CFSLOCO is proud to support. The Summer Music Festival takes place from July 24 – July 28 and includes over 20 events in total. Midday Mini-Concerts are free to the public, and will feature exceptional artists at unique venues across the County. Find the concert nearest you and join in! 

  • Friday, July 28 – Jessica Oudin, Alice Dade, Alex Wasserman – Community Presbyterian Church

“Festival Mozaic has been and remains an extraordinary presence, enriching our community through the power of music,” says Heidi McPherson, CEO of The Community Foundation. “We are honored to support the important work of Festival Mozaic as they have grown and expanded over the years, bringing the highest quality performances to our Central Coast residents and visitors.”

To learn more about Festival Mozaic and their upcoming Summer Festival, please visit their website at

Janice Fong Wolf – 25th Anniversary Highlight

All throughout this year, we will be highlighting 25 stories to mark our 25 years of philanthropy in SLO County. Our #25for25 campaign showcases a selection of partners and community members that have allowed the Foundation to continue giving and growing together!

For 16 years, Janice Fong Wolf was the face of The Community Foundation to our nonprofit partners. A Cal Poly alumna, Janice worked for 19 years in health and human services and later found herself as a key player in creating our grantmaking program from scratch.

Janice is immensely proud of the work she did in the Foundation’s early days and incredibly grateful for the support of the community. Along with the Foundation’s staff  and a supportive Board of Directors, Janice was instrumental in creating an organization that was efficient and effective, but with a manageable workload for the small staff. Her oversight and work to establish the Raising a Reader early literacy program in SLO, a partnership with the Robert H. Janssen Foundation to support youth programs and distribute funds from the Hugo and Erna Klaproad estate to benefit homeless services in South County are all examples of the broad impact of her work. She oversaw the growth of quality programs that did not exceed their capacity to maintain a level of excellence. 

In 2000, the Foundation was ready to award grants. On Janice’s first day, they had 75 applications and needed someone to create the process. As an experienced grant seeker, Janice became a dedicated grant maker who was able to fashion a process that was friendly to the non-profit agencies but was also fair and objective. Janice and the Foundation’s Founders fashioned applications, created a review committee, and a fair and objective evaluation process.

Janice also helped with the initial design of the Foundation’s scholarship and awards program. Though she was cautioned that scholarship programs are very time-intensive, she moved forward on what she viewed as an important component of foundation work. The first awards created were programs recognizing individuals and organizations that improved the community. These included the Isabella Ruiz Humanitarian Award, Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Award, and Environmental  Award. 

Janice gained an encyclopedic knowledge of community needs and the organizations that were addressing those needs. She created relationships throughout the County that help strengthen bonds with the local non-profit agencies. Agencies might have viewed the Foundation as another rival for donor dollars. Instead, Janice gained their trust, and they came to see the Foundation as a partner. 

One example of her community-building is her early relationship with Bryan and Beverly Gingg. Bryan and Beverly had founded the accessibility advocacy group known as Access for All, that honors those who advocate for a community that is friendly to those who face limited accessibility due to physical challenges. The Ginggs asked Janice and the Foundation to run the program and host the annual Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Award ceremony held at Cal Poly. The program needed to be accessible to those with a variety of physical challenges. Janice arranged to have sign-language interpretation, large-format and Braille programs  and wheel-chair accessibility to all areas of the venue. Bryan, Beverly, Paul, and his wife Marion became valued members of the Foundation family. 

After retiring in 2016, Janice and Rex, her husband of 46 years, enjoy tending their garden at their home in Los Osos, traveling around the country in their RV with their dog, Ivy, or taking pleasure in  the natural beauty here in SLO.  After taking a year off from her many commitments, Janice continues to serve her community. She is a tutor for Literacy for Life, serves on the board of Cuesta College Foundation, volunteers with SLO Repertory Theatre, and reviews grant applications for SLO County.

Thank you Janice for all your years of service to The Community Foundation and to our community!

The Robert H. Janssen Foundation Youth & Youth Sports Fund

After a decade-and-a-half of partnership, The Robert H. Janssen Foundation and CFSLOCO established an endowment fund to continue the legacy of a beloved community member.

The Robert H. Janssen Foundation is a wonderful example of community philanthropy at its finest. 

For over 20 years, the spirited generosity of Robert H. Janssen has lived on through the dedicated work and contributions of The Robert H. Janssen Foundation. From youth fitness programs to college-readiness courses, the Janssen Foundation has provided countless funding opportunities for local youth across the county – all in the name of this local hero. 

Now, a new chapter begins for the estate as the baton is passed over to us as we continue to distribute the valuable gifts of Robert H. Janssen for years to come. 


Robert (known by friends and neighbors as Bob) was a lifelong resident of San Luis Obispo, an active supporter of youth and community activities, and devoted a considerable portion of his life to youth sports. His personality was unpretentious, and he had an encyclopedic knowledge and passion for leadership in civic and sports matters. 

After a long and fulfilling life, Bob passed away in 1996, but not without leaving behind the first of many impactful gifts for our community’s youth.

His family estate was established with a gift of $2 million that was to be distributed to young athletes and students hoping to continue their athletic careers and higher education. Bob’s investment in the future of the community is allowing his legacy to flourish and his life’s work to continue long after his passing.


Since 1996, the Janssen Foundation has awarded millions of dollars to support local youth programs. One such program is the North County Adaptive Sports & Recreation Program (​​NCASARP), which provides year-round supervised activities for the developmentally disabled of Atascadero, Creston, Templeton, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, San Miguel and Morro Bay.

In 2006, the directors of the Robert H. Janssen Foundation decided to join forces with The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County and decided they needed help with soliciting, evaluating, and finalizing proposals for grants within youth sports. Due to The Community Foundation’s ample resources and trusted positioning in the community, the directors of the Robert H. Janssen Foundation established a donor-advised fund to support their meaningful efforts. For more than 15 years, a strong partnership developed between the two foundations resulting in more than 231 grants.

Most recently, we offered proactive grants during the pandemic to support youth during shelter-in-place protocols; these powerful grants provided ‘busy bags’ from the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum and offered childcare by the YMCA, to name a few. 

A NEW CHAPTER:  Robert H. Janssen Foundation Youth & Youth Sports Fund

Our grantmaking partnership is now soaring to new heights: in order to support youth and youth activities further, The Janssen Foundation has decided to close its private foundation and transfer the estate to The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County.  

“The Community Foundation enabled the Janssen Foundation to extend its reach, to do a better job of vetting grant applications and monitoring results of grants,” says Warren Sinsheimer, President of The Robert H. Janssen Foundation, Inc. “When the directors decided after 25 years that a new direction for the Janssen Foundation was in order, they turned to the Community Foundation again. Today, the funds of the Janssen Foundation are a separate fund within the Community Foundation where those funds can indefinitely fulfill Bob’s vision of supporting youth and youth sports in San Luis Obispo.”

We are honored to take over the stewardship of Robert H. Janssen’s legacy. The legendary estate will be administered as a separately held endowment fund, to be called the Robert H. Janssen Foundation Youth & Youth Sports Fund.

“Robert Janssen was a special soul who devoted a great deal of his life to a special cause — our youth,” said Heidi McPherson, CEO of The Community Foundation of San Luis Obispo County. “We look forward to honoring Bob’s legacy by continuing to support and enrich youth activities across the county.”

Program Overview & Objectives:

Through the generosity of the Robert H. Janssen Foundation, grants are available to local nonprofit organizations providing youth enrichment programs and/or youth sports programs in the City of SLO and adjacent area within San Luis Obispo County.  The Janssen Youth & Youth Sports Fund seeks to support programs that enrich the lives of local youth and ideally reflect the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. Mr.Janssen was a lifelong resident of SLO County and devoted a considerable amount of time to local youth sports and other community and youth activities.  He valued the benefits for all youth that could be gained through participation in team activities with positive adult mentorship.

Janssen grant funds should represent only a portion of the funds required to implement the program, and a preference is to support direct service costs. The Janssen Youth & Youth Sports Fund seeks to primarily support youth sports programs in San Luis Obispo County that provide access to all segments of the community regardless of income level. Secondly, the Fund will support youth enrichment activities in the City of San Luis Obispo and adjacent area, with an emphasis on active participation over educational programming. 

The maximum grant award will be $5,000. The Robert H. Janssen Youth and Youth Sports Fund is open for applications from January 16, 2023 to March 15, 2023, at 5pm. You can learn more and apply by CLICKING HERE.

Call to Action: What We’ve Learned About Homelessness in San Luis Obispo County and How You Can Help

You can help transform the lives of those facing homelessness in San Luis Obispo County this holiday season.

Homeless shelters can always use extra support, especially during the holidays and the winter months when they’re at their busiest. As San Luis Obispo County has inched out of the pandemic, homeless services across the county are preparing for the inevitable uptick in individuals and families requiring assistance and services. 

Story courtesy of ECHO

We recently reached out to local organizations and asked how they could use our community’s support in the cold winter months ahead. Here’s what the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Inc. (CAPSLO), El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), and 5 Cities Homeless Coalition had to say – three organizations we are grateful to support through an Opportunity to Thrive grant. This grant from our general grants program focuses on empowering and strengthening individuals to overcome obstacles while embarking on the road to self-sufficiency. Keep reading to learn more!


Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO)

CAPSLO has been San Luis Obispo County’s federally-designated community action agency since 1965. Through a variety of programs and in collaboration with other community service agencies, CAPSLO helps individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency and economic stability.

In the past few months, CAPSLO has seen a massive increase in the number of families using its services. “Typically, we serve between 4-5 families per month in shelter and case management services here at Prado Homeless Services Center (HSC), but in the past year, that has grown to an average of 10 families per month,” says Loren Leidinger, CAPSLO’s Outreach/Development Director.

CAPSLO’s family dorms are currently at capacity, which has limited the number of families who can benefit from this resource. With an increase in the number of families falling into homelessness, emergency hotel vouchers are being distributed to keep up with the influx of families in need, while a tight housing market continues to cause a gradual increase in the length of time families are enrolled for emergency shelter services. 

Despite the increase in funding to families experiencing homelessness, community support is vital to these programs. A combined community effort involving organizations, foundations, and individuals must be present in order to effectively improve the lives of families and individuals across the county.

“We rely heavily on community partners and communities of faith to donate crucial resources that we use to make Welcome Home Kits,” says Leidinger. “These kits – which vary from bathroom kits, bedroom kits, kitchen, etc. – are designed to help individuals and families move from shelter or street-based homelessness into housing with all of the needed amenities required for a successful move-in.”

El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO)

  Established in 2001, ECHO empowers people in SLO County to make positive change by providing food, shelter, and supportive services.Their various services ensure that individuals and families struggling with homelessness can find jobs, get fed, stay healthy, and find housing. 

ECHO operates two facilities in North County that each provide meals and a safe and secure overnight shelter to meet the immediate needs of families and individuals in the community who are facing hunger and homelessness. 

Having two centralized locations in North County is crucial to providing services that help individuals and families get back to work, identify affordable housing, and maintain hope throughout their housing journeys. Recent data trends at local shelters have shown an increase in families that are accessing ECHO’s services in Atascadero and Paso Robles. 

“Now more than ever, it is critical that we are able to keep our doors open and continue to offer our case management services and shelter programs,” says Austin Solheim, Donor Relations and Community Engagement Manager for ECHO. “In our 90-day transition program we have seen that having a stable landing pad and consistent case management has led to rates of over 50% of the individuals and families we served entering back into permanent housing.”

The funds recently awarded to ECHO from CFSLOCO will go towards their Client Assistance Program which helps community members get back on their feet when they are experiencing houslessness. The program pays for critical, short-term expenses that shelter residents and outreach clients need in order to successfully transition back to permanent housing and stable incomes. By reducing these expenses, community members are more able to secure jobs, find housing, and move into new homes.

5Cities Homeless Coalition (5CHC)

Planning how best to address the needs of the homeless in San Luis Obispo County today involves many caring citizens and community leaders, and 5CHC is taking a collaborative approach to meet the challenge. 5CHC works hard to service families and individuals by providing the resources, support, and hope that they need to become self-sufficient, productive community members. 

The backbone of the 5Cities Homeless Coalition is its strength in channeling community resources, volunteers, and donor assets to meet the needs of the homeless population through existing and new programs. Prior to these collaborative efforts, a loose network of service providers existed.  Communicating and coordinating services through this network required time and energy, but this was a role 5CHC adopted and is actively working to fill. 

5Cities Homeless Coalition provides wrap-around services including case management and direct financial assistance – with a special emphasis on housing stability. Their efforts focus on helping the most vulnerable in our community maintain dignity while working toward a new home or retaining their home. Their work goes beyond the immediate, to ensure that clients have the plan, skill sets, and support needed to be successful and self-sufficient. More than 90% of those who 5CHC has helped to house (or prevented from eviction) remain housed more than one-year later.


  1. Rent to a family experiencing homelessness, or welcome families into your own home
  2. Provide Goods
    1. ECHO has created a wishlist with input from residents young and not-so-young   > VIEW THE WISHLIST <
  3. Donate funds to your local city or county specific non-profit 
  4. Volunteer
    1. With ECHO you can join a force of 1,500 community volunteers providing ancillary support to run shelter and meal programs for shelter residents and people facing hunger and homelessness in the community.
    2. Both online and virtual volunteer opportunities are available through CAPSLO
    3. View 5CHC Volunteer opportunities HERE


First-time Grant will Support ‘Garden for All’ for Students with Disabilities

A beloved community space is set to receive a big upgrade in 2023, thanks to a new partnership between Access for All and City Farm SLO. The accessibility-friendly Garden for All program will provide universally accessible gardening and therapeutic horticulture spaces for students with disabilities, and is made possible by a first-ever Access for All (AFA) Grant.

AFA is a field of interest fund of The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County that focuses on equal opportunities for people with disabilities. Since 2006, thanks to the generosity of Beverly and Bryan Gingg who kickstarted the fund, AFA has been recognizing individuals who work to make SLO County a barrier-free community. 

The impact of the AFA to date is due in large part to a Cal Poly Professor emeritus and local advocacy advocate Paul Wolff. Mr. Wolff, a founding member of Access for All, once asked an important question to the AFA committee: can we do more to help build a more inclusive community? The unanimous response was “yes!” With the support of founder Beverly Gingg, the AFA advisory committee set to work on establishing a grantmaking program for the Access for All Fund. 

The committee compiled reports from several local, statewide, and national organizations to identify common themes affecting the Disability community. Based on data analysis and lived experiences, funding priorities were developed for the Access For All Fund. These priorities address current and emerging needs of people living with disabilities in San Luis Obispo County and encourage local organizations to create programs in support of these needs. 

Access for All Fund decided to prioritize organizations in San Luis Obispo County with programs that:
Focus on advancing access to health & wellness
Expand capacity for housing & home access
Create and support community participation / inclusion
Promote accessible workspaces and grow employment opportunities

And so, after much deliberation, Access for All announced that the $5,000 award of their first grant would go to City Farm SLO for their ‘Garden For All’ program. 

“Digging, planting, and harvesting are therapeutic, hands-on activities that stimulate the mind and encourage team-building and collaboration,” says Kayla Rutland Executive Director of City Farm SLO. “Thanks to this grant from Access for All, more students in our community will benefit from learning these critical life skills, and will feel empowered to pursue their dreams.”

The grant will be specifically used to create wheelchair-accessible pathways, raised beds at varying heights, shade structures, a mobile classroom, cooking cart, and sensory garden.

AFA is honored to support this program which supports community participation, inclusion and aligns with their mission to create an accessible community where people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of SLO County life.

To help build a more accessible SLO, donate to the Access for All fund HERE 

To learn more about Access For All, contact program associate Alysia Krupsky HERE

Improving Our Scholarship Program to Better Meet the Needs of Our Community

“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
Nelson Mandela

We envision a future where all doors are open to San Luis Obispo County residents to achieve their academic aspirations regardless of financial need. Our Scholarship Program is dedicated to increasing access and resources for students of all backgrounds and interests to earn their degrees. Thanks to generous donors, hundreds of students have received thousands of dollars in funding to pursue their dreams.

Since its inception, the CFSLOCO Scholarship Program has used a continuous improvement model to make the program better each year. As part of this continued effort, we examined our program from the inside out to ensure that our scholarship program reflects the changing needs of students and changes in the local economy. Using a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens, we assessed how available scholarships can properly support all students in San Luis Obispo County. 

“The decision to audit our scholarship program was very intentional,” says Heidi McPherson, CEO of CFSLOCO. “We wanted to peel back the layers of the program and put increased energy into places that would bridge gaps between students and their scholarship opportunities.”

Diversity of applicants to The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County Scholarship Program in 2020

To evaluate our program, we worked with Everyday Impact Consulting (EIC), who shared some eye-opening insights with us: 

The EIC team then connected with key leadership, scholarship evaluators, reviewers, donors, teachers, careers counselors, and diverse scholarship recipients in a series of interviews and focus groups intended to glean key information. Insights from these interviews guided our decision to make improvements to our current program, and allowed us to set goals for the future.


As a result of the assessment, we have upgraded many components of our program: 

  • Spanish translation is now available on our website
  • Revised our application form to better support students with disabilities and remove barriers for students and their families 
  • Our Board of Directors created the Julian Crocker Community Scholarship to support students transferring from a 2-year college to a 4-year college AND will support students who want to go into career technical training 
  • Updated the ‘Activities’ section of our application to include the myriad activities students engage in through community, school, and family commitments
  • Developed an alternative application that is more accessible for students with learning disabilities
  • Increased the diversification of committee members and community evaluators 
  • Collection of detailed demographic information going forward to improve the application process in the future
  • We are investigating partnerships that will reduce gender disparity 

The demographic landscape in SLO County is constantly changing and requires us to change with it. When we improve the diversity and variety of scholarships offered, we improve the diversity and variety of future business and employment opportunities, thereby creating more dynamic workplaces.

“We must continually examine our systems and structures that help or hinder students seeking funding for higher education. This is only the beginning; our intention is to continue to improve programs and services. We are committed to listening, learning and growing in order to meet the current and future needs of our community. ”

 – Cassandra Kartashov, Director of Grants and Programs

To see upcoming available scholarships or learn more, head to Subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on LinkedIn, or check back here for more updates as we continue to enhance our services for you. 

Grantee Highlight: Jack’s Helping Hand

Jack Ready, 2004

Many families of children with disabilities require assistance to meet their children’s special needs. Founded in 2006 by Paul and Bridget Ready in memory of their son, Jack, Jack’s Helping Hand provides assistance to local children struggling with cancer, special needs, and disabilities in San Luis Obispo County up to the age of 21.

How do they do it? Jack’s Helping Hand fulfills requests for assistance with medical equipment, provides transportation, food and lodging for out-of-town appointments and procedures, and helps with medical bills when there are no other sources to cover these needs. Their team assists over 70 families each month locally, and when they travel for appointments, surgery, and chemotherapy outside of our county. 

The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County is grateful to support the work of Jack’s Helping Hand in the form of multiple grants. Various grants from our Foundation, the Alex Quaglino Family Fund, and Women’s Legacy Fund have successfully supported their Assistance Program enabling families to travel to specialty children’s hospitals for the best possible care, support the purchase of hearing aids, therapeutic braces, mobility devices, and supportive seating devices.  

Annie at Camp Reach for the Stars

The Robert H. Janssen Foundation – a fund of The Community Foundation – has been a significant supporter of Camp Reach for the Stars, the no-cost summer camp for children dealing with cancer and their families.  Located at Camp Yeager in Cambria, this family event is filled with activities, camping and plenty of opportunities for fun.  The Camp aims to give all kids coping with cancer the chance to be kids—an experience often taken away or put on hold by the disease. It allows the children to shed the hefty “cancer patient” label yet be surrounded by others who understand similar experiences.    

Jaylin, 2022

This month, their team is especially proud of Jaylin, who just finished a two- and half-year treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia B.  Providing the fuel, food, and lodging to alleviate that added financial burden on her parents has been our mission since meeting them in 2019. Being able to support her family for their treatments in Los Angeles has been a humbling experience for their team.  Jaylin’s mother states it best:

“Jack’s Helping Hand has been such a blessing to our family. There are no words to describe how thankful we are to them. Driving 6 hours round trip to LA several times a month and having to stay overnight in hotels for treatment and procedures would have been impossible without their assistance. We are also so thankful to all the donors who give to Jack’s Helping Hand because of them Jaylin was able to go camp last year and was able to attend many fun events over the last couple of years.”

Jack’s Helping Hand has recently started building a universally accessible and inclusive park on 30 acres of generously donated land in Nipomo. The Jack Ready Imagination Park will be a place for children with disabilities to play with their families and peers. Current plans for the park include a large accessible playground, therapeutic riding facility, hardscape courts, playing fields, hiking trails, and barbeque and picnic areas.  

Learn more and support Jack’s Helping Hand at

Grantee Highlight: The Promotores Collaborative of San Luis Obispo County

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month – a month-long celebration that recognizes the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States. With a population rich in Hispanic heritage, our county is full of diverse programs, collaboration, and organizations that not only better the lives of Hispanic Americans and their families, but positively impact all SLO County residents. 

The Promotores Collaborative of San Luis Obispo County was established by the Center for Family Strengthening and works to build, foster, and support a network of promotores – a group of community leaders who serve as liaisons between their communities and health and social services providers. 

Promotores are community-based and are made up of outreach members and volunteers who work to eliminate barriers between public and private organizations and underserved minority populations. They provide training, emotional support, and materials in order to empower a healthier community. They act as family educators, health or patient advocates, outreach workers, peer educators, and system navigators.

Their impactful work ripples across our community: agency partners and community organizations seek their bilingual and bicultural expertise to provide Mental Health Interpretation services, provide health outreach education at community events and food distribution sites, and help promote healthy family functioning. By working closely with their community partners, the Promotores Collaborative identifies resources needed to benefit San Luis Obispo County residents and complements (not duplicates) existing efforts of the County’s Health and Human Services Department.

“The Promotores have created a tremendous impact in their community. The Latinx community has expressed that they feel welcome at the Public Health Mobile Clinics, food bank distributions, and other local events where the Promotores participate,” says Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia, Director of Programs. “Families have shared that when they see Promotores they know they can trust them, and they will always provide the right resources for them.” 

Promotores are unique because they provide services in Spanish, Mixteco, and occasionally in English. They are culturally competent, they go into the community to do outreach, business, and residential canvassing, they support the mobile vaccine clinics and provide direct services to the Latinx community in San Luis Obispo County. They serve as community liaisons and go above and beyond by working weekends and after business hours in order to warmly connect Latinx neighbors to various community resources and agencies.

In spite of the Pandemic, the Promotores have continued with their leadership educating the Latinx community by providing culturally appropriate and translated (Spanish, Mixteco & English) information. The Promotores Collaborative have been recognized by the Public Health Department, the Behavioral Health Agency, First 5 SLO County, and SLO County Food Bank as essential workers in San Luis Obispo County. 

This year, the Community Foundation continued our support of this inspirational program by awarding $20,000 in funding to the Promotores through the Women’s Legacy Fund. “We are very excited and grateful to The Community Foundation because we will be able to continue providing education and support to the Latinx community by providing financial literacy classes. Some of these topics include setting goals, saving and building savings, dealing with debt, understanding credit reports and scores, and others. Our aim is to provide the tools and information to help the community set and achieve goals; build skills in managing money, credit, and debt; and choose financial products that are right for them. Learning to use these tools will help them reduce the financial stress that they are dealing with, especially during these uncertain times.” 

Moving forward, the Promotores aim to continue to build the Promotores Collaborative capacity in order to promote health-related resources and create new ways to involve Latinx neighbors in SLO County, specifically in rural and underserved communities.

Follow The Promotores to learn more:

Facebook Community Page: 
Facebook official Page: 

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Heidi H. McPherson Chief Executive Officer (805) 543-2323