CRLA's Fund for Rural Equity is an innovative re-granting program that provides a unique opportunity for CRLA to extend our proud tradition of supporting organizations in rural areas. The Fund for Rural Equity works with nonprofit groups that serve low-income communities and communities of color in the Central Valley by providing grant funding and technical assistance to build a vibrant, robust nonprofit ecosystem in California’s rural communities to better serve rural populations.
A second cohort of grantees will be selected for the 2013-2016 cycle. CRLA is partnering with Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC). Combining forces, CRLA and ILRC share long histories of working directly with organizations that serve people of color. Our partnership will continue to support minority-led non-profits serving low-income communities in rural areas of California.
For more information about the Fund For Rural Equity, or other CRLA programs which support the rural non-profit community, please contact Susana Podesta, Grants & Contracts Officer.
CRLA and ILRC are working with an advisory committee to help identify and nominate candidates for participation in the FFRE. Organizations will be invited to complete a full application based on an organizational readiness assessment conducted by FFRE staff with nominated candidates. Grant awards will be made in early July.
If you think your organization meets the core requirements, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Samantha Myles poses with longtime farmworker rights advocate Dolores Huerta.
It all started in the fall of 2012, when sixteen-year old San Joaquin County high school student, Samantha Myles’ efforts to break up a fight in her school catapulted her to a recommendation for expulsion.
According to CRLA Staff Attorney Cynthia Chagolla, “Samantha’s mother saw a brochure about our education advocacy work and quickly reached out to our Stockton office for help with her daughter’s expulsion.”
With CRLA’s help, Samantha and her family challenged the school’s recommendation for expulsion. After meeting with the school district, they agreed an expulsion was not appropriate for Samantha and instead chose an alternative.
In 2012, Samantha began serving community service hours as agreed to by the school district at Fathers & Families of San Joaquin, a CRLA Fund for Rural Equity grantee.
Fathers & Families, a comprehensive, solutions-oriented organization working to address fathers’, youth, their families’ and the communities’ varying needs, put her to work and helped her turn her life around.
Samantha said she started out “rebellious,” because, “I really didn’t want to be there,” but when she saw Fathers & Families “were trying to make a change in the school system,” she decided to stay. This summer, Samantha joined the staff as a Youth Organizer.
Cynthia is not surprised about Samantha’s success, “My immediate impression was that Samantha is extremely bright. She asked a lot of questions about law school and the bar exam,” said Cynthia. “When we referred her to Fathers & Families, we couldn’t foresee how involved she would become. She took control of her own future.”
As a Youth Organizer, Samantha’s responsibilities include reaching out to young people from the Stockton community to help them reach their full potential. She led projects such as Rising From Individual Struggles (RISE), an empowering event for young foster children.
“After her case was resolved, I returned to Fathers & Families a few months later for a meeting,” said Cynthia. “This time the roles were different. She’s sitting at the table providing meaningful insight on education advocacy in San Joaquin County.”
Samantha has spoken numerous times about disciplinary issues at the state capitol. Most recently, she offered comments on Local Control Funding Formula regulations at the State Board of Education. According to Cynthia, Samantha presented testimony on behalf of Fathers & Families not only with a “student voice but as a passionate and articulate student from a rural community.”
“If Samantha and her mother hadn’t taken action, she could have been expelled with damaging consequences,” said Cynthia who noted that students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionally expelled from school statewide. “Now she’s on track to graduate and has her foot in the door with a well-recognized organization.”
Marcela Ruiz, CRLA’s Deputy Director expressed her appreciation of Samantha’s efforts, “We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome to a situation that could have severely limited her future opportunities.”
Samantha sees her success at Fathers & Families as the first step in her career path, where she plans to either pursue a law degree or serve as a probation officer.