00 days
00 hr
00 min
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Total Raised $1,113,229.00
Individual Donations $418,301.67
Overall Matching Fund $166,150.00
Organization Challenge Gifts $525,777.91
Awards $3000
Donors 1389
$0 Initial Goal

Join the Giving Revolution: Santa Cruz Gives

November 15 - December 31, 2022

This year's holiday campaign raises funds for local nonprofits. Learn about their projects on each profile page and be inspired! Minimum donation is only $5.

If you have walked on a clean beach, enjoyed a park, attended an arts or music event live or on zoom, adopted a pet, received health care services, or enrolled a child in an activity—you have encountered the good work of numerous local nonprofits.

Often the benefits are not visible—when the work prevents or mitigates negative impacts. One thing is certain:  Our community would be far less desirable without the dedication of these groups, driven only by a desire to improve our collective circumstances.

We vetted and selected dozens of valuable local nonprofits that applied for inclusion and created a platform to make it easy for you to browse, donate and help make our community an even better place to live.

Join us!

Three $1,000 awards will be granted for:
Most Donors | Most Innovative Program
| Most Creative Campaign




By Jeanne Howard

Santa Cruz Gives operates — well, not quite on a wing and a prayer, but close. Volunteers who are already scheduled up to their eyeballs (who isn't?) make it happen.

The leadership at the Volunteer Center and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County are perhaps the most knowledgeable folks in town when it comes to understanding the landscape of nonprofits based in our community and the work they do. These leaders read all of the applications, guide the campaign, and assist nonprofits with tactics to maximize their fundraising by using social media, engaging their leadership and more.

Good Times editor Steve Palopoli coaches the nonprofits on how to create a compelling narrative that tells their story with the aim of helping donors understand the importance of their work. GT's managing editor Adam Joseph runs a social media campaign for SC Gives, something he started for us last year. In addition, Good Times reporters cover the participating nonprofits every week; The Pajaronian and Press Banner run articles on most weeks.

One key to the success of this campaign is providing matching funds for the nonprofits — much-needed cash that is shared among the organizations. Knowing that their favorite nonprofits will get an increased share of those funds if donors give, incentivizes donations.

Matching funds are generously provided this year by the Applewood Foundation; Joe Collins; Driscoll’s, Inc.; Monterey Peninsula Foundation, host of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Pure Insurance Championship Impacting the First Tee; Santa Cruz County Bank; and Wynn Capital Management. These are major gifts that accounted for about 15% of funds raised in past years. We'd like to build on this, so if you or your company are in a position to contribute, please contact Jeanne Howard at jeanne@santacruzgives.org.

Generous local media outlets that have donated ad space, coverage, and PSAs include Growing Up in Santa Cruz, KSCO, Santa Cruz Local, and the Stephens Media Group.

No rent, salaries or overhead is paid to run Santa Cruz Gives, thanks to Good Times and the Volunteer Center, who contribute the bulk of the administration. Thank you for visiting this site, and supporting some Big Ideas for 2023. Read more



By Jeanne Howard

Welcome to the 2022 Santa Cruz Gives holiday fundraising campaign. During the past two years of uncertainty, many doubted that donations to nonprofits would be strong, and now many say uncertainty is the way of the future. Uncertainty creates fear, and fear creates certain predictable behaviors.

But we all know that Santa Cruz County residents rarely follow behavior predicted for the rest of the country! Right on through the uncertain times of 2020 and 2021, locals stepped up to support our community by percentages far above the national average for growth in fundraising, and last year total donations to Santa Cruz Gives reached $1,100,069, crossing the $1 million line for the first time.

This year's slate of projects, presented by 63 participating nonprofits, is the most diverse yet, with work that the selection committee finds both relevant and forward-thinking. We are moved by the thoughtful ideas and work that motivates these organizations to serve, often in difficult circumstances, often with predominantly volunteer labor, and rarely with enough financial resources. We hope you will be, too. We hope that those of you fortunate enough to have your needs met will face uncertainty with faith and goodwill toward our neighbors who can use support.

Read more


Thanks a Million!

By Jeanne Howard

We’re overjoyed here at Santa Cruz Gives. The community’s generosity brought us to a major milestone: Raising $1 milllion for local charity. There are still checks to be added to the total that were mailed during the holidays, and more will trickle in for the first week of January, so come back soon to gawk at the final total on the home page.  

Thank you to all who took a moment away from the holiday buzz to donate, and who diverted some precious dollars from needs at home.

A quick arm-chair analysis tells us that many who will appear as small donors to organizations are actually large donors to Santa Cruz Gives. Some gave hundreds, a thousand, or thousands, but supported many nonprofit projects with their gift. Our goal is that each organization presents compelling and essential work: It should be hard to choose. Clearly, it was for many donors.

Small donors are as appreciated as large donors. Just as small and large nonprofits are included — because the work is done collectively by nonprofits big and small — the work is done collectively by all donors, big and small. More of us coming together to support our community is where our strength lies as a community. So, thank you — keep the fives, tens and twenties coming!

Many of the nonprofits worked hard to do their part. We explain in our annual kick-off orientation that Santa Cruz Gives is a partnership. The platform we provide and the strong promotional campaign underwritten by Good Times and other local media partners (noted below) is like a wave, and the nonprofit must surf it to the best of their ability by reaching out to their networks to ask, remind, and encourage them to join the heartwarming “funraising” scene that is the Santa Cruz Gives website!

In the future we hope Santa Cruz Gives will be on the year-end to-do list of all who are privileged to help neighbors in need. Until then, thanks a million!

And to all a healthy, joyous new year.

Read more

The Santa Cruz Gives campaign is closed for 2022 and will open for 2023 in mid-November. It is active during the winter holiday season. You may close this pop-up and view the 2022 campaign or apply during the Request for Proposals period August 8- Sept. 7, 2023. Thank you for visiting!