The Social Justice Fund for Ventura County (SJF) was conceived in 2004 by a group of philanthropic and nonprofit leaders in Ventura County. These community activists recognized a need for resources to educate the community about social justice issues and to provide financial support to organizations and projects that address root causes of social problems, effectively engaging the voices of disenfranchised sectors of the community to advance equality and opportunity for all. No such resource existed in Ventura County.
After conducting a community assessment and developing a strategic plan, SJF launched its first Giving Circle (a pooled fund of donors who leverage their individual gifts and make grants together) of donors in 2006, which resulted in our first grants awards of $50,000, allocated to seven community groups.
Over the next couple of years, SJF continued to grow. We quadrupled the number of donors in the community, awarded $50,000 in grants each year for community organizing efforts and developed the first Social Justice Issues Report in the community. We also initiated the annual “On the Road to Change” Bus Tour of local justice issues in the community, launched an important endowment campaign to sustain SJF’s efforts, and received critical funding partnership support from the McCune Foundation, the Rosenberg Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The California Endowment and the School of the Pacific Islands Foundation.
Since its inception, SJF has continued to focus on “creating change, not charity” by investing in social change through funding education, community organizing and nurturing leadership at the grassroots level.
At our November 8, 2012 Celebration of Justice event Kate & Marcos gave an overview of the beginnings of the Social Justice Fund. Read here to see the historical timeline of SJF 2002-2012.