SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — As a multimedia company, CBS 8 has been telling San Diego’s stories for over 70 years. And now, as part of Tegna Inc., we have the opportunity to support the diverse communities we cover in another way - through a grant program aimed at local nonprofits.
San Diego is home to many amazing charitable organizations – some have familiar names and some you may only know if they’re in your neighborhood. But big or small, these nonprofits do incredible work, and CBS 8 wants to help them do even more through the Tegna Foundation Community Grant Program.
CBS 8 also want the recipients of these grants to reflect the diverse community of San Diego and include causes locals care about most.
San Diego County's Hispanic and Latino population is estimated to be over 34% of its total so it only makes sense that several of the past awardees of our grant program serve those communities.
Past awardees have included MANA de San Diego which empowers Latina women and girls from middle school through higher education and beyond. MANA also has a scholarship program and a leadership program to elevate Latinas to higher levels in the workplace.
After 35 years of serving the county, MANA is seeing women who participated in its programs when they were younger thrive in a variety of roles throughout the community. Their current board president Venus Molina serves as Chief of Staff for San Diego City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell.
"I consistently meet with professional women that say 'I was a Hermanita' or 'I was a scholarship recipient.' And many are coming back as volunteers because we want to inculcate the culture of paying it forward, and they are doing that," said MANA's Executive Director Dr. Inez González Perezchica.
Also on our recipient list, the Chicano Federation received a grant for its infant and toddler program which provides care for little ones so parents can work or look for employment to provide for their families.
As San Diego County is home to several Navy bases and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, another fitting grant beneficiary was Operation Homefront. Its programs help with everything from unexpected financial burdens to permanent housing for active-duty families, families of injured or wounded service members, and veterans within seven years of discharge and their families.
Other charities honored with grants from the program in the past two years include Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego, Coastal Roots Farms, the Emilio Nares Foundation, Feeding San Diego, RISE San Diego, Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego, and the San Diego Foundation.
In order to find awardees, twice a year - in February and August - the Tegna Foundation Community Grant Program accepts submissions in each of its 50+ markets in the United States. The grant isn’t for a set amount but instead is based on the needs of the organization. As part of the application, nonprofits include a budget for a project or program they wish to put the funds towards so the amount given can vary between recipients.
Dr. González Perezchica said with a staff of just six people at MANA, she understands that it can be challenging for smaller nonprofits to fill out grant applications.
"It's worth it to take the time to write the grant because [CBS8's] support - and media coverage - has been so wonderful," she said. "I'm a believer that nonprofits play a very important role in our society and small ones need the support."
After the paperwork is submitted, applicants go through a vetting process by a team led by CBS 8 Brand Project Manager and Acting Community Affairs Director Josh Meza. Part of that includes a look at the organization’s budget to see how much of their money goes to things like board members and administrative costs and how much actually makes it back into the community.
"It's really been awesome to see the work that people in this community do," said Meza.
He and his team also look at how many people are impacted by the nonprofit, if it provides for an underserved community and if the values of the charity align with those of Tegna.
One of those values Meza mentioned, adorns a wall in our building:
“That’s really important,” said Meza. “That’s really why we’re here. We’re serving the community [through our stories] and this is just another part of it – and it’s a big part of it. I’m really proud we get to do it.”
He said he continues to look for smaller, lesser-known charities to spread the reach of the grant program into all corners of the community.
“Some of these nonprofits just do amazing things and they get no love at all,” said Meza. “So we’re looking really hard to find the ones – not the ones that you hear about but the ones that are [also] doing great things. And we’ve been very lucky with that.”
While some of the recipient names may ring a bell others may be new to our audience and that is part of the appeal of the grant program. We are not only able to award them funds needed for various programs and projects but also connect them with the public. We hope our audience will learn about these organizations and want to support them, volunteer with them or utilize their services.
To learn more about the Tegna Foundation, grant program and to start the application process, click here.
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