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MANA de San Diego alumna gives back to nonprofits in SD community

The Arboreta Group is the primary grant writer for MANA de San Diego and they play an important role in bringing in necessary funding for their programs.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Cristina Sanchez-Kerr is the design and evaluation lead for the Arboreta Group, a consultant firm that provides all of the back end work for non-profits. 

"We do everything you might not see in a nonprofit that is required to keep an organization going like fund development, designing programs, evaluating them." Sanchez-Kerr said. 

They've done key work for nonprofits such as detour and MANA de San Diego, who have programs focused on youth development for Latinas and girls of color. 

The Arboreta Group is the primary grant writer for MANA de San Diego and they play an important role in bringing in necessary funding for their programs. 

"We do all of the research, the development of grants and submission." said Sanchez-Kerr. 

During the pandemic, many nonprofits have seen their income sources strained, but Cristina and her team have been able to keep the grant money flowing for their clients. 

They were able to secure $100,000 in funding for MANA de San Diego's signature programs focused on Latina youth development and leadership. 

Inez Gonzalez Perezchica is the Executive Director of MANA de San Diego and she recognizes the positive impact Cristina and her team are having on their organization. 

"I am seeing now bigger grants and it's thanks to Cristina's guidance and her excellent work," said Perezchica. "She is a thought partner for me. We talk about the next steps, how to make this better."

As a younger woman, Cristina participated in the Latina success leadership program with MANA de San Diego. The program offers to help Latina professionals looking for career advancement. 

"We're so excited that she is an alumnus of the program and that she is making a difference," said Perezchica. "Not only at MANA de San Diego, but at so many other organizations."

With all of the success Cristina has had with Arboreta, she feels a sense of satisfaction in helping other Latina women at the grass-roots level. 

"There are days where I have to pinch myself. I tear up sometimes when I see what the organizations are doing and the impact they're having on people's lives," said Sanchez-Kerr. "To be able to contribute to that in any way is a wonderful feeling that motivates us." 

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