The City of Santa Monica announced the appointments for the newly formed We Are Santa Monica Fund Board. The seven-member advisory board focused on the We Are Santa Monica Fund, a donor advised fund (DAF) managed by California Community Foundation (CCF). The City Manager appointed members include:
Jessica Aronoff, Chief Operating Officer, Cayton Children’s Museum, Santa Monica resident.

Stacey Capoot, Major Gifts Fundraiser, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Santa Monica resident.

Nancy Coleman, Social Services Commissioner, retired foundation and nonprofit program manager, Santa Monica resident.

Ken Grouf, Entrepreneur, CEO of Swoop, Santa Monica resident and business owner.

Jason Lin, Entertainment and Finance, Story Arch Pictures, Santa Monica resident and business owner.

Ben Preston, Environmental Scientist and Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation.

Rhoda Weiss, PhD., Consultant, Rhoda Weiss, Inc., Santa Monica resident.
“Santa Monica is a fortunate City to have so many devoted and highly experienced residents that care deeply about our community and want to be involved. Even as the state reopens, full recovery from the impacts of the pandemic linger and there are real needs in our community that require funding support to survive,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “We are eager to work with the advisory board to lay strong foundation for the fund. Santa Monica’s future is bright, and Public Private Partnerships is one of the paths towards recovery and ensuring our community can expand support to non-profits that deliver essential services to our community.”

The We Are Santa Monica Fund was established at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide a pathway for the community to donate emergency goods, services, and monetary funds to aid recovery efforts. Consistent with City Council direction, CCF awards donations to eligible non-profits and emergency City services support in four areas, including:
COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Santa Monica Residents: Donations support efforts to address impacts of COVID-19 on Santa Monica residents including housing insecurity and food insecurity.

Business Recovery: Donations provide support to efforts aimed at recovery so Santa Monica businesses can continue to serve the community.

Black Agenda in Santa Monica*: Donations are a vehicle to support the Black Agenda in Santa Monica and citywide efforts to advance racial equity in our community. For general donations made without a support project selected, 10% will be used to implement the Black Agenda in Santa Monica. *At the direction of City Council, this area of support will be expanded for future donations to generate support for additional equity and inclusion efforts in the Santa Monica community.

Food Pantry at Virginia Avenue Park: Donations help serve those facing food insecurity in the Santa Monica community.

Between November 1 and December 31, 2020, community members contributed $1,153,145 to the We Are Santa Monica Fund. This impressive coming together of our community to support neighbors in need demonstrates the viability of the We Are Santa Monica Fund as a long-term tool to support the desire of community members to give back locally.

The seven-member We Are Santa Monica Fund Advisory Board will advise the City Manager and conduct the following duties:
Establish bylaws for the new advisory board and select a chairperson and officers.

Share responsibilities for coordinating, planning, and conducting board meetings, including but not limited to handling meeting logistics, agenda planning and preparation, and recording meeting minutes.

Provide input on allocation of funds to non-profit community partners and community-focused programs and services.

Enhance community and donor awareness of the Fund, consistent with fundraising restrictions and best practices for donor advisory funds (DAFs).
Guide the future of the advisory board and evaluate whether to transition from a DAF administered through CCF to an independent 501(c)(3).
For more information or to donate to the We Are Santa Monica Fund, visit

Submitted by Constance Farrell Santa Monica Public Information Officer