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Nov 11 - Dec 31, 2021

SPOTLIGHT: Undocufund

Stepping Up

Undocufund is a community partnership that helps undocumented immigrants in need

Early in the pandemic, call after call flooded nonprofits that work with vulnerable communities, as people found themselves suddenly out of work and in need. That was true of unducumented immigrants seeking help from Santa Cruz Community Ventures, which offers a range of programs to help local Latinos thrive and manage their finances. Staff members found themselves digging for available resources, but even as aid increased, many clients were at a dead end: Crisis-related government aid, like increased unemployment payments, would not be available to those without legal immigration status.

This lack of resources in early stages of the pandemic fueled the birth of UndocuFund, a program to distribute cash assistance to undocumented immigrants impacted by crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and wildifires. This program started in March of 2020.

Within two weeks, organizers got a website up and running and secured a grant from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation to help undocumented families in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

UndocuFund started with $100,000 and since then, has distributed nearly $5 million in aid; 50 percent of beneficiaries are in Monterey County. Each family can receive up to $1,500.

“UndocuFund is a vehicle for all of us to give back and be there for neighbors when the state and federal government hasn’t been able to step up,” says Maria Cadenas, executive director of Santa Cruz Community Ventures.

In Monterey County, 80 percent of recipients have young children and most have lived in the area for at least 10 years. One of them, who asked to be identified by her initials, C.A., is a mother of four and lives in Castroville. C.A. normally works on the fields, but found

herself instead of earning an income becoming a stay-home mom because daycare wasn’t available during the pandemic; now, she says, it’s too expensive. Her partner, also a farmworker, is the sole provider of their family. C.A. received $1,500 from UndocuFund,

which went to rent and groceries.

UndocuFund started in a moment of crisis, and intends to carry through to other challenges. “We are building relationships, not transactions,” Cadenas says. “This is about creating a sense of belonging as a community.”

We’re In This Together

Nonprofits are more important that ever in this trying time. Monterey County Gives! was created to support the local nonprofit community's Big Ideas (and programs). And thanks to your participation and generosity, Monterey County Gives! raised over $7.8 million for 162 local nonprofits in 2020.

MCGives! has now raised and contributed over $35 million dollars since its inception ten years ago. That’s astounding. And wonderful. Thank you to all our Partners, Sponsors, nonprofit Board Directors, staff and volunteers — and each of our 7,578 donors. We did it, together.

The 2021 Campaign begins November 11.

APPLY FOR Monterey County Gives!

The 2021 Monterey County Gives! RFP (for applying nonprofits) is due by midnight July 31st. Monterey County Gives! 2021 campaign kicks off in early November.