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Fresno Regional Foundation Awards Youth Grants in the Central Valley

Fresno, CA - September 23, 2008 – The Fresno Regional Foundation is awarding more than $350,000 to organizations throughout the Central Valley dedicated to improving the health and well being of our youth.

During the Foundation’s 2008 Youth Grant Cycle, Advisory Committees that reflect the rich diversity of our Valley closely examined a broad range of worthy applications. Committee members personally visited many of the non-profits that applied and made funding recommendations to the Fresno Regional Foundation’s board of directors.

Of the $353,036 in youth grants, $203,000 was specifically earmarked for programs that address teen pregnancy prevention. Fresno Barrios Unidos and the Boys and Girls Club of the Sequoias each received $100,000 grants ($50,000 per year for a two-year period). The California Health Collaborative was awarded a $3,000 one-year grant.

Fresno Barrios Unidos’ Healthy Decisions program focuses on reducing teen pregnancy by providing medically accurate and comprehensive sex education to low income youth of color. The program is designed to provide youth with vital information and activities that work on building a young person’s self esteem, communication skills and a network of resources.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Sequoias’ Raising Expectations program is a partnership of four youth services providers dedicated to reducing teen pregnancy rates in Tulare County “hot spots” by increasing access to prevention clinic services. These services include curriculum sessions, peer education, parenting workshops and community activism for youth and Latino parents.

Thirteen other organizations received general youth grants totaling $150,036, not related to teen pregnancy. They include: Assistance League of Fresno ($7,000), Boys & Girls Club of Fresno County ($2,500, plus $5,000 for parks or music programs), Center for Independent Living ($6,499), Comprehensive Youth Services ($20,000), Edison High School ($13,937), EOC Sanctuary Youth Services ($11,800), Focus Forward ($11,800), Fresno Philharmonic ($5,000 for its youth music program), Gay-Straight Alliance Network ($5,000), Lowell Neighborhood Resource Center ($14,500), Fresno County Superior Court ($17,000), Westside Youth, Inc. ($10,000), and Yosemite Institute/WildLink ($20,000 for parks or music programs).

The Yosemite Institute’s WildLink and the Lowell Neighborhood Resource Center are just two examples of the innovative youth programs receiving funding through the Fresno Regional Foundation. WildLink is developing the next generation of environmental stewards by providing full scholarships to underserved youth who participate in transformative wilderness and community-based programs. Through the Lowell Neighborhood Resource Center’s grassroots Heroes Program students in grades third through sixth are introduced to community service projects and rewarded for showing improvement in the classroom, playground and at home.

In 2007, the Fresno Regional Foundation received a $1.4 million grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that is being used to tackle two pressing issues in the central San Joaquin Valley: teen pregnancy and air quality. Over the next three years, the Fresno Regional Foundation will disburse the bulk of this $1.4 million grant to local non-profit organizations in the central San Joaquin Valley.

During the past two years, the Fresno Regional Foundation has experienced substantial asset growth, a tremendous elevation in the number and size of grants made and the establishment of solid relationships with other prominent philanthropic organizations, such as The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

“We’re pleased to support the Fresno Regional Foundation as it embarks on work to address the pivotal social problems of teen pregnancy and degraded air quality,” said Hewlett Foundation President Paul Brest. “The Hewlett Foundation shares its commitment to serving disadvantaged communities and improving the environment, and hopes these efforts will receive broad community support.”

Recent grants made by the Fresno Regional Foundation have supported local non-profits working on a range of Central Valley priorities including human services, youth development, literacy, culture and the arts.

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