At its meeting last night, the Santa Monica City Council approved through a consent item the expansion of donation categories for the We Are Santa Monica Fund, a donor-advised fund managed by the California Community Foundation. The Fund was established in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support vulnerable residents and businesses, and to enhance equity through the Black Agenda for Santa Monica. Since September 2021, the fund has raised $1,176,521.

In June 2021, the We Are Santa Monica Advisory Fund was created to build on the success of the Fund. In keeping with the initial goals of the advisory body, an expanded set of donation categories was recommended to City Council to both meet the emerging needs of the pandemic and community-wide recovery as well as to create a strong framework for the long-term vitality of the Fund.

“One of the bright spots of the pandemic was the open-hearted way donors came forward to support their fellow community members by donating to the We Are Santa Monica Fund,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “The Fund has the potential to continue to do a tremendous amount of good in our recovery and in the longer-term future to offer a helpful boost to those who need it.”

The expanded categories now are:

Vibrant Local Economy 

Promoting opportunities for workers, creators, and entrepreneurs to survive and thrive. 

Supporting cultural organizations that make up the fabric of our city.  

Partnering with nonprofits that ensure that small businesses have the resources they need to keep their doors open, care for employees, and serve customers.  

Santa Monica for All 

Investing in programs that advance equity, protect human rights and dignity, increase and celebrate diversity, foster inclusion, address injustice, and ensure access. 

Providing resources for the Santa Monica Black Agenda and groups and programs led by and serving Black, Hispanic, AAPI, and Indigenous Santa Monicans, the LGBTQIA+community, and people with disabilities.  

Per Council’s previous direction, 10% of all undesignated donations will continue to be set aside for the Santa Monica Black Agenda.

Healthy Neighborhoods 

Offering residents of all ages access to nutritious food, spaces to exercise and play, places to live, and ways to improve physical and mental wellness. 

Investing in the health and sustainability of our community and planet by conserving energy and protecting our air, water, and natural places. 

Lending a Hand

Sharing resources with people and families who need extra support and care.  

Investing in community resiliency.  

Providing relief for emergency occurrences, natural disasters, and other unexpected community needs that require immediate funds, supplies, or repairs. 

These expanded categories will now be used to evaluate funding requests from community-serving nonprofit organizations. If you are a nonprofit that would like to submit a funding application, visit www.santamonica.gov/topic-explainers/volunteer-opportunities. If you are a community member who would like to contribute to the We Are Fund, visit https://www.calfund.org/wearesantamonica/.

“Anyone who is looking to make charitable contributions before the year ends is encouraged to give to the We Are Santa Monica Fund. Show your local love by bolstering community members in need this season!” said the City’s Chief Communications Officer Debbie Lee.

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Santa Monica Public Information Officer