After failing to secure $100,000 through a regional grant program, leaders hoping to improve wellness in Santa Monica are looking for other ways to fund a holistic health center at Santa Monica High School.

Although Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials, City of Santa Monica staffers and other members of the Cradle to Career consortium were disappointed that they didn’t win an LA2050 grant for a so-called Thrive Center at Samohi, they remain committed to providing students with mental health counseling and other support services.

“We’re actively pursuing other funding,” said Natasha Kingscote, an administrator in the city’s Community and Cultural Services Department. “We’re looking at a variety of places where we might be able to get funding. … The $100,000 would’ve been great, but we still would’ve needed to pursue a lot of other funding opportunities. Unfortunately, that doesn’t go real far.”

Kingscote said officials have been collaborating with the L.A. Trust for Children’s Health, a nonprofit that promotes student wellbeing, about possible avenues for bringing a wellness center to Santa Monica’s flagship school.

But although the concept for a wellness center at Samohi is moving forward, it remains unclear exactly how it will manifest on campus. Some of the services that would be offered through the Thrive Center are already available to students, while others would require additional funding.

The scope of the project hinges in part on the availability of space on the Samohi campus, an ongoing dilemma as school and district officials develop a long-term master development plan.

“There are services available, but nowhere near at the level we’d like it to be at,” Kingscote said. “There’s no special designated space. That’s a school district issue if they want to indeed dedicate a building or room to these services. It’s really a long process to plan out and figure out how to fund.”

According to SMMUSD spokeswoman Gail Pinsker, district managers, Samohi administrators, facilities managers, nursing staff and a recently hired mental health counselor, as well as representatives from Venice Family Clinic, have been touring other schools with wellness centers to get ideas for the local project.

“We are early in a very long process that will include discussions regarding future funding sources and grants,” she said.

A wellness center fits into the Cradle to Career goals of improving mental health, expanding support services and preparing students for college and beyond.

As officials secure more funding, Kingscote said, more services can be phased into existing spaces. Additional money, for example, could support a healthcare provider for more hours, she said. She added that she hopes to have a clearer update on the Thrive Center’s progress by the end of the school year.

Public voting for the LA2050 grants, which are funded by the Goldhirsh Foundation, wrapped up Nov. 3. The winners in several different categories were announced last month.

The top vote-getter in the Thrive Center’s category was Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica-based environmental advocacy group. The organization is partnering with Pacoima Beautiful and the Pacific American Volunteer Association to launch a multilingual conservation project to improve Southern California residents’ understanding of water challenges.

In the same category, an LA2050 panel awarded a grant to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The group will use the money to support veterans and their families as they transition to civilian life.

Although the Thrive Center wasn’t one of the LA2050 winners, Kingscote said it gained exposure through the grant program.

“The voting component of LA2050 really helped us put the word out to the community that this is something that Cradle to Career has been working on, and it’s a priority based on the data that we’ve seen,” she said. “These wellness centers are a great model throughout the state and country, and we don’t want to lag behind any further.”

jeff@www.smdp.com