announcing our 2019 grant recipients

inspiration Grants

3 Strands Global, Inc.
"Employ + Empower Reintegration Program" 
Amount awarded: $30,000

Human trafficking – the exploitation of a person for sex or labor – is a problem everywhere, including in El Dorado County.  We cannot know the exact number of trafficking victims in the area, because trafficking is a hidden crime cloaked in shame and fear that often goes unreported. However, we do know that there are 300 youth in the foster care system in El Dorado County each year and that foster youth are at the greatest risk for becoming victims of human trafficking. At 3Strands Global Foundation (3SGF), we work to prevent human trafficking and develop the resiliency of survivors who have been recovered as we build their capacity to create a better future. In the fight against human trafficking, reintegrating survivors into the workforce is a substantial challenge. Economic insecurity is one of the main vulnerabilities exploited by traffickers. The inability to support themselves – and in many cases, their children – is a primary factor for trafficking survivors to return to “the life.” 3SGF creates job opportunities for survivors and offers a viable alternative to victimization, one that enhances self-esteem through work while teaching job skills and connecting them with the social work services they need to maintain employment. Our Employ + Empower program has served over 118 survivors of trafficking and at-risk youth in the region, and has recently expanded into El Dorado County, planning to serve 23 local survivors and at-risk youth in 2019. As an agency headquartered in El Dorado Hills - and formed in response to a case of the trafficking of a 17-year-old girl from the area - we are deeply committed to preventing and responding to trafficking here at home. With your continuing support we will build our capacity to document our successes and share our best practices with others.

Sierra Elementary
"Defending Hope with Social Emotional Learning for ALL Students at Sierra School"
Amount awarded: $30,000

Once upon a time elementary school was a place that taught the 3 Rs and had rest time with milk and graham crackers. Students arrived at school happy, fed, and focused. They brought apples to their teachers and sat quietly in rows prepared to learn. Whether or not this illustration was real or a scene from a movie, it has become the “Good old days” that we often long for. Today, elementary schools are very different places. Teachers are expected to teach beyond the 3 Rs and more often than not our students arrive with issues or trauma(s) that affect their readiness to learn. Thanks in part to growing reports of school violence, students are expressing anxiousness at alarming rates. Out of this new reality has sprung a need for elementary school counseling. Professional School counselors are trained, caring adults who students can confide in when they are in need. Counselors help navigate crisis situations, and connect families with necessary resources. Additionally, counselors work with groups to develop communication and friendship skills and provide social-emotional learning to students. Our project, “Defending Hope” aims to provide additional counseling services to the students of Sierra Elementary School. This grant will allow us to extend our school counseling program to 5 days a week. With this additional day each week, our counselor, Alissa Inks, will be able to provide Second Step (Social-emotional learning) lessons to ALL of our 460 students. Sierra School is passionate that each child has the potential to be a world changer. Robert Schuller said, “Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.” This grant will enable us to defend the hopes of our students by giving them a safe place to discuss their hurts and a strong foundation in empathy and assertiveness to go out into the world.

Impact Grants

Acorn Grants (3 total awarded in 2019): for any new western slope nonprofit or a nonprofit that has never received a grant from the Women’s Fund.

El Dorado County Fire Safe Council
"Develop Defensible Space Buffer Around Homes"
Amount awarded: $7,750

The El Dorado County Fire Safe Council (EDCFSC) in partnership with Friends of Seniors is working to develop defensible space for veterans (families - widow/widowers) and low-income seniors (who are both financially and physically unable to do this type of work themselves) on the County’s western slope. Defensible space development reduces fire risk to their residences (CALFIRE (Public Resource Code 4291) requirement), protects their neighbors’ properties, and improves the work environment for emergency personnel called to the property. In addition, it reduces anxiety and stress for veterans and seniors in a way that improves their overall wellbeing. 

Due to severe vegetation die-off during the past several years of drought, followed by a record-setting wet winter of destructive storms, defensible space development needs are even greater than before. From the Western El Dorado County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (2017), factors hindering people’s ability to develop and regularly maintain defensible space were overwhelmingly time and cost, with many respondents mentioning age and physical condition as another factor. 

EDCFSC would contract with a licensed and insured land and tree service contractor to conduct defensible space development. Focus will be on clearing the 30 feet immediately surrounding the veteran’s and senior's home.  

El Dorado Union High School District Robotics Team
"Supporting Youth in the Pursuit of STEM and Robotics"
Amount awarded: $8,000

We are the El Dorado Union High School District Robotics Team, Circuit Breakers. We were founded in 2009 by Gehr Lindborg, a student from Union Mine High School in El Dorado. He recruited his mother to be the team coach, an engineering friend to be the team mentor, and coaxed a few fellow students to join the team. That first year, the Circuit Breakers won the international FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) Rookie Inspiration Award. 

We have grown to 25 students from five EDUHSD high schools. We build robots with help from our all-volunteer mentors and we need your help to finance our program, and purchase supplies and materials to fabricate and build our 120 pound robot for the FRC.

Our team inspires youth to be leaders by engaging them in this exciting robotics program that builds science, engineering, and technology skills; that inspires innovation; and that fosters teamwork and self-confidence. The students say it best: "there aren't a lot of STEM programs in the district, and definitely nothing like this!" "This team has opened my eyes to a whole new world of learning; all of us kids are learning practical skills that we can use in our communities and beyond."

SAFE-D of El Dorado County
"Free Grab Bar Installations for Low-Income Seniors and Disabled"
Amount awarded: $8,000

SAFE-D of El Dorado County Inc. provides the volunteers and materials to install for free,  in-home safety accommodations for low income ($2600/month net, or less) seniors (60 or over) or disabled county residents with mobility limitations, especially those at risk of falling. These accommodations increase accessibility, independence and help clients to safely age in their own homes.

Typical safety accommodation installations can include: 
Grab bars at the toilet, and in the shower or bathtub 
Raised toilet seat with handles
Step handrails / minor step modifications 
Shower seat and non-slip bath mat 
Smoke / Carbon Monoxide Detector
Night Lights
Bed rail
Check for proper lighting, rug trip hazards, clutter, etc. 

Human Services:  for any nonprofit providing services for human needs.

Hands4Hope - Youth Making a Difference
"Empowering Youth At El Dorado High School & Beyond Through Education & Community Engagement"
Amount awarded: $8,000

Hands4Hope is requesting $8,000 to serve youth and create community through Education & Community Engagement; we will launch a Service Learning Club at El Dorado High School and expand after-school programming through a Placerville Youth Center. To achieve this, we must do more than promote awareness of community needs, we must train young people in skills that take ideas and turn them into action. Hands4Hope youth gain skills while helping fill unmet community needs that positively impact the lives of others. Hands4Hope has thriving programs at all major high schools on the Western Slope except for EDHS, this is inequitable. Women’s Fund dollars will directly serve 100 students, and through student service projects will serve hundreds more in the Placerville community.

“One thing that is very unique about Hands4Hope is that the program is solely led by the youth. Each project is planned, carried out, and reflected upon by youth. With every project I participated in, I learned more about my community and its needs. The skills I learned taught me confidence in myself to be a youth leader in my school and my community.”  ~Nadia Jones, Hands4Hope Alumni, Union Mine HS Club; Hands4Hope Placerville Steering Committee member

Community Benefits:  for any nonprofit providing services for the arts, environment, community beautification, animal welfare, or community development.

UCCE Extension Master Gardeners of El Dorado County
"Share the Goodness of the Sherwood Demonstration Garden"
Amount awarded: $8,000

Master Gardeners are volunteers trained by the University of California Cooperative Extension to share research-based gardening information with local residents. Our 149 volunteers do this in a variety of ways, but perhaps the most effective method involves hands-on training. Confucius said, “Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” We currently teach some of our free weekly classes and workshops at the Sherwood Demonstration Garden (SDG) in Placerville, a wonderful place for students of all ages to experience hands-on learning in a beautiful and sustainable environment.  However, weather and lack of seating has limited when we can hold classes at the SDG and who can attend. Our goal is to remove these barriers and maximize comfortable and active learning at the SDG. We are excited to be planning construction of a 24’ x 35’ pergola at the SDG in June 2019 as our “covered outdoor educational center.” This will enable us to launch a new nutrition focused gardening program called Growing for Goodness as well as teach hands-on classes/workshops and host school field trips year-round. We seek your help to fund the cost of the pergola, seating, and retractable cover.