September 27, 2013- Escondido, CA – The Escondido Charitable Foundation (ECF) awarded $147, 380 to five deserving programs in Escondido on Thursday, September 19.

This year’s focus was on “Safe, Vibrant, and Healthy Communities,” and each of the grantees addresses a crucial health and human service need in Escondido. The programs funded were “Senior Food-for-a-Week” 21-Meal Emergency Box Program ($19,000), Girls Inc. for Escondido Girls ($30,000), Food Bank of Escondido ($30,800), Avocado Court Community Garden ($32,780), and WALK, TALK AND CHANGE ($34,800). More than 100 members, friends, and nonprofit representatives gathered at The Vineyard at Escondido to celebrate and learn more about this year’s funded programs.

The programs funded by this year’s grants will positively affect the lives of hundreds of Escondido residents and are outstanding in their diversity. The grant to the “Senior Food-for-a-Week” program will provide Escondido’s poorest seniors with a week’s worth of food, once a month, for a year. The boxes are timed to coincide with the week before each individual receives their Social Security check, a time of month when seniors’ funds are particularly low. Through the Girls Inc. for Escondido Girls program, 200 Escondido teenagers will learn how to make better decisions, advocate for themselves, and prepare for college. A portion of the grant will supplement the salary of the program’s facilitator, a young woman who is an Escondido native and was the first in her family to attend college. Thanks to the ECF grant, Mision Vida Nueva will be able to expand its Food Distribution Program to homebound individuals or families without access to transportation. The program, which is entirely volunteer-run, distributes more than 15,000 pounds of food each week. With its grant, Community HousingWorks will build shade structures and raised beds in the Avocado Court Community Garden, increasing the garden’s accessibility for gardeners who are elderly or disabled. Already a source of collective pride, the garden provides therapeutic benefits and fresh, healthy produce to the low—income residents, senior citizens, and veterans in the surrounding community. Finally, the grant to the WALK, TALK AND CHANGE program will enable WalkSanDiego to expand its outreach and engagement in Escondido to increase walkability in the community through civic engagement. In order to connect more fully with the Escondido community, WalkSanDiego is partnering with Escondido Education COMPACT and its youth leaders.

“We’re extremely honored to support projects that make our wonderful community more safe, healthy, and vibrant,” said Rebecca Raymond, Chair of the ECF Grants Committee. “This year’s grants support activities and programs that will serve residents of all ages, abilities and interests, from seniors struggling with food security to teenagers advocating for healthy neighborhoods. The Escondido Charitable Foundation enables us to come together to support Escondidans in need.”

Memberships in the Escondido Charitable Foundation are the framework for charitable grants that are given to local organizations dedicated to making Escondido a better place to live, work and play. This year brings the total amount of grants to Escondido nonprofits to more than $924,000 in merely six years. ECF members have also built an endowment of more than $768,000 that will benefit Escondido, forever addressing the emerging community needs. The Foundation has also received two legacy gifts from community members wishing to preserve the quality of life in Escondido with gifts that will bear their family name in ECF grants in perpetuity.

The significant work of the ECF, including the grants committee’s attention to detail, follow through and professional approach has garnered the appreciation of Founding member, Bob Wilson, who graciously matched the members’ donations this year. The grant funds were also matched by the Live Here, Give Here Matching Program, through the Matt McLaughlin Legacy Fund at The San Diego Foundation, which is matching the grantmaking donations of each member through 2014. With these matching funds, more organizations benefit and greater community impact is provided.

“Thanks to the generous matching program, there has never been a better time to join the foundation,” said Ken Myers, ECF Board Chair. “Escondido residents who care about their community have the opportunity to double their impact when they join this year.”

An affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, the Escondido Charitable Foundation was founded in 2007 by Escondido community leaders to raise dollars in Escondido for Escondido. The ECF is an Escondido-specific effort that meets the emerging needs of the community of Escondido by encouraging and increasing responsible and effective philanthropy. The Escondido Charitable Foundation allows members to pool their resources to make a lasting and effective impact on the community through grants to benefit Escondido residents. All funds benefit nonprofit programs that serve the community and grantmaking decisions are made by the Escondido residents that participate as members of the foundation.

About the Grantees

“Senior Food-For-A-Week” 21-Meal Emergency Box Program
The Angel’s Depot
The grant of $19,000 will enable The Angel’s Depot to provide meals to 140 of Escondido’s at-risk senior citizens. The funding will support the purchase of food for the program, a free, ongoing service that provides nutritious, nonperishable food specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs of seniors at-risk for malnutrition and living with food insecurity. The Angel’s Depot box contains food for a week’s worth of meals and is provided free-of-charge before the last week of the month, in order to provide a bridge between Social Security checks.

Girls Inc. For Escondido Girls
Girls Incorporated of San Diego County
The grant of $30,000 will bring the Girls Inc. programs to 200 Escondido middle and high school girls at the four unique sites. The at-risk program participants will increase school attendance, make better decisions, resist peer pressure, experience community participation and leadership; learn to evaluate media messages about girls, lower rates of drug/alcohol use and levels of sexual activity. In addition to program supplies, the grant will fund the salary of the program’s primary facilitator, a young woman who is a member of the Escondido community and who was the first in her family to attend college.

Food Bank Of Escondido
Mision Vida Nueva
The grant of $30,800 will be used to expand the Food Distribution Program to homebound community members who cannot attend the weekly distribution. The funds will support the purchase of supplies to facilitate food delivery, as well as the purchase of a van to transport food from the distribution center to disabled or homebound community members. The van will also be used to bring volunteers without transportation to the distribution site. The majority of the program’s volunteers are also recipients of the food distribution, a model that has been studied by other programs for its sustainability.

Avocado Court Community Gardens
Community HousingWorks
The grant of $32,780 will support the development of a 9,400 sq. ft., 30-plot organic Community Garden at the Avocado Court apartments in Escondido. In addition to supporting the education and outreach, the funding will enable the construction of shade structures and raised gardening beds, enabling elderly or disabled residents to garden with ease. The organization envisions the Avocado Court Community Garden as a project that will draw together diverse and underserved populations via a shared passion and sense of pride. The garden will offer opportunities to promote education, civic engagement, green values and practices; and healthy lifestyles.

The grant of $34,800 will allow WalkSanDiego to bring WALK, TALK AND CHANGE to Escondido through multigenerational WALKshops, trainings for 30 community leaders, the production of four community events in Escondido during Walktober (October), and the coordination of other efforts to make Escondido more walkable through partnerships with existing groups, such as CX3, Youth Voice, and Safe Routes to School. To connect to the Escondido community, WalkSanDiego is partnering with Escondido Education COMPACT and their youth leaders.

About The San Diego Foundation’s Community Foundations
The Community Foundations, proud affiliates of The San Diego Foundation, help identify and meet the emerging needs of communities throughout San Diego County by encouraging and increasing responsible and effective philanthropy by and for the benefit of all who live, work and play in the region. The Community Foundations provide their communities with a vehicle for legacy planning and gifts. The foundations are located in Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Escondido, La Jolla, Oceanside, Ramona, Rancho Bernardo, San Ysidro and 4SRanch-Del Sur.

About The San Diego Foundation
Founded in 1975, The San Diego Foundation’s purpose is to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving. The Foundation manages more than $612 million in assets, almost half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $829 million to the San Diego region’s nonprofit community.

Trudy Armstrong, (619) 764-8602
Heather Back, (619) 235-2300
Vince Heald, (858) 453-9600