MBEP Member Spotlight: Community Foundation for Monterey County: 75 Years of Inspiring Philanthropy
Helping connect donors with their passions: It’s at the heart of the Community Foundation for Monterey County’s mission.
Through its grantmaking, the organization serves as a catalyst for strengthening communities in the county: Last year, grants totaling a record-setting $19.2 million were awarded to more than 890 nonprofit organizations, thanks to the individuals, families and businesses who work with the Community Foundation for Monterey County to create charitable funds. Those grants fund critical needs and causes in the Monterey region and beyond: helping inspire and educate young artists and musicians, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, improving literacy, caring for animals, protecting the environment, and helping students fund a college education.
Since granting began in the 1980s, more than $205 million has been invested in programs and causes that contribute to more vibrant, healthy, safe communities.
Initially founded in 1945 as the “Monterey Foundation” by S.F.B. Morse, Francis Elkins, Margaret Jacks, Robinson Jeffers, Armin Hansen and other notable community members to preserve Monterey’s historic adobes, the Community Foundation for Monterey County expanded its scope to open space preservation and then broad charitable purposes and building endowment in the 1970s. Now celebrating its 75th anniversary, the organization has grown to more than $291 million in charitable assets and is ranked among the Top 100 community foundations in the U.S. based on asset size.
The Community Foundation for Monterey County also works to build up nonprofits through its Center for Nonprofit Excellence and has taken a leadership role in bringing organizations together around issues such as the 2020 Census, affordable housing and homelessness.
In addition to allocating more than $500,000 to 19 local nonprofit organizations doing grassroots work to encourage hard-to-count communities to participate in the upcoming 2020 Census, the Community Foundation has worked to convene and educate nonprofits on their role in the census.
“Not counting someone doesn’t mean they’re not here. Loss of funding because of undercounting means California and Monterey County won’t have resources to implement programs for the full complement of people in need,” said Dan Baldwin, CFMC President/CEO. “The issue is being counted, one and all, and making sure Monterey County has the resources it needs to serve its residents.”
The organization continues to partner with the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation to build on the success of MBEP’s housing initiative. In 2018, the Community Foundation for Monterey County granted $50,000 toward MBEP’s affordable housing efforts, with additional investments of $100,000 over the next two years.
To commemorate the Community Foundation for Monterey County’s 75th year of inspiring philanthropy and strengthening communities, a Celebration of Philanthropy will take place Oct. 23, 2020 at the Monterey Conference Center. Learn more www.cfmco.org/AboutUs
MBEP Member Spotlight: Greenpower Energizes Climate Change Action
When Greenpower launched four years ago, its mission was a straightforward one: Fighting climate change. With that clear goal – helping communities transition from fossil fuels in favor of local clean energy solutions – the group has mobilized significant change toward a greener Monterey Bay region.
Created as an initiative of the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Romero Institute, Greenpower launched into its first campaign by focusing on public education and community organizing. That initial campaign was tied to the launch of Monterey Bay Community Power, a Community Choice Energy (CCE) program that put energy into the hands of local communities. To mobilize support, Greenpower officials went door to door to educate residents and partnered with local community groups, including the Catholic church, to create a grassroots movement in primarily Spanish-language communities.
Over a two-year span, Greenpower met with close to 20,000 parishioners on the issue of climate change, collected 6,000 letters, helped generate several thousand emails to elected officials and helped mobilize more than 400 community members to attend council meetings, all in support of Monterey Bay Community Power, while also reaching out to elected representatives to help them fully understand local energy options. Those actions, says Greenpower Director Ben Eichert, ultimately resulted in the adoption of the Monterey Bay Community Power to provide locally-controlled carbon-free and renewable electricity to residents and businesses throughout Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties. Since then, parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties have embraced the community choice model.
“Really, it’s about engagement with the community around issues of climate change at all levels, from activists to business leaders to elected representatives,” said Eichert.
Inspired by Pope Francis’ climate treatise on the moral obligation to fight climate change and its partnership with Greenpower, the Catholic Diocese of Monterey sought the nonprofit’s guidance in greening its parishes and schools. So far, 18 parishes and schools in the diocese have enacted eco-friendly measures, with more coming online in the next year. Greenpower’s role, says Eichert, has been “to bring together the partnerships and resources, equip stakeholders with the tools they need to figure out what they want to do and help them understand their options.”
“Part of what we’re doing is really trying to inspire,” says Eichert. “When we work with a business or nonprofit, we are choosing projects that we think have the ability to motivate others.”
The San Benito Health Foundation was such a project. MBEP member San Benito Health Foundation was already committed to making a bold change, but Greenpower helped it fully understand all its options and choose those best suited to its needs and goals. With Greenpower’s support, the Hollister-based clinic in August 2019 became the first healthcare facility in the state to run on its own zero-carbon microgrid.
“We chose it as a project to do because of its ability to show people what’s possible,” said Eichert. “Part of what we do is when we are working with someone, we’re actively trying to inspire them to take bold action.” Creating public awareness around those projects – through the making of a video, a ribbon-cutting ceremony that attracts news coverage, and other educational efforts – are essential steps to increase public awareness.
Greenpower continues to work with established organizations, local businesses, and the agricultural communities to take them solar and improve their energy efficiency.
“On the issue of climate change, the scholarship and the science is clear: We’re facing a crisis,” says Eichert. “The technology to do something about it is accessible, but what’s missing is the political will. Our mission is to help create the will necessary for communities to make that transition.”
MBEP Member Spotlight: Monterey Bay Aquarium Takes Action to Encourage Policies to Reduce Plastic Pollution
The problem with plastic is that is never just goes away. Since 1950, more than 6 billion tons of plastic have been discarded, and according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, just nine percent of that has been recycled. The average American generates more than 270 pounds of plastic trash per year — one of the highest rates in the world — and every nine minutes, plastic weighing as much as a blue whale (about 300,000 pounds) ends up in the ocean, where it breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces of microplastic particles.
A recent study by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute documented that microplastic is disturbingly common throughout Monterey Bay, from the ocean’s surface to the seafloor, and may be entering marine food webs, both at the surface and in the deep. Most of that microplastic came from consumer products like plastic water bottles, take-out food containers and product packaging — the everyday stuff we buy, use once and throw away.
A leading proponent for a cleaner future, the Monterey Bay Aquarium continues to encourage policies to reduce plastic production, from California’s successful ballot referendum banning single-use carryout bags to the Straws On Request bill requiring restaurants to only provide straws to people who specifically ask for them. Currently, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is urging support for the California Plastic Pollution Reduction Act (SB 54), which sets a target of reducing 75 percent of packaging waste—and the most polluting single-use plastic products—by 2030. And it sets criteria to make sure that what remains is increasingly recycled or composted. Learn more about the California Plastic Pollution Reduction Act and the Aquarium’s efforts to tackle ocean plastic pollution.
Pictured above, microplastic particles are being eaten by animals such as pelagic red crabs and incorporated into marine food webs. News and photo courtesy of Monterey Bay Aquarium.
MBEP Member Spotlight: Gavilan College Celebrates Past, Looks Forward
It’s been 100 years since Gavilan College was founded as San Benito County Junior College. Much has changed in a century, including its name, a move from Hollister to Gilroy, growth in student enrollment and programs, satellite sites in Hollister and Morgan Hill and an aviation technology site in San Martin. Two years ago, the first phase of the Coyote Valley Center in San Jose opened as home to the South Bay Public Safety Training Consortium police and fire academies. Land has been purchased and planning is underway for the first phase of a San Benito County campus at Fairview corners.
Gavilan College’s legacy was celebrated this fall when the college hosted “Gavilan Through The Decades,” a nostalgic gala celebrating each decade of Gavilan’s history.
But Gavilan is also looking forward, fueled by the passage of Measure X in November 2018. Funding from that $248 million bond measure will allow Gavilan to repair and upgrade facilities from leaky roofs and faulty electrical systems, upgrade and add classrooms, expand veterans’ services, and create up-to-date STEM and research environments. And throughout that growth, the college is adapting to the needs of those it serves.
“We are listening very acutely to the needs of our students,” says Gavilan College Superintendent/President Kathleen A. Rose, who has spent the past year engaging with students in a year-long outreach focused on “Student Voices.” This fall, she hosted a “Coffee & Conversation” series with students, and is preparing for a series of high school forums that will take place next spring. “Students are at the center of this,” says Rose.
Last year, Gavilan finalized its Facilities Master Plan, which supports the Educational Master Plan developed in 2017 and serves as a guide focusing on the facilities required to respond to anticipated growth across its 2,700-square-mile district. The first of five key facilities projects outlined is construction of the San Benito Center.
“With the passage of Measure X a year ago,” says Rose, “we want the communities we serve to continually be engaged in the work of this district and the growth of this district.”
Rose has also worked to build upon opportunities for partnerships with universities, industries, and organizations, including MBEP. “We’re very happy with our membership with MBEP,” said Rose. “Our interest in our membership with MBEP is for us to be a stronger economic partner in the region.”
Next April, Gavilan will host its first-ever Economic Symposium, opening up critical conversations about quality of life and how education helps drive that, says Rose. “I think community college is where those conversations need to happen,” she says.
“Our centennial is truly about celebrating history, where Gavilan will be going, but it’s also about having conversations about where we are at the present day and the challenges for our students, including housing and food insecurity.”
This fall, Gavilan launched a new career education pathway with the opening of its HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning) Center, and interest in its aircraft maintenance program has seen an uptick in enrollment, bolstered by strong partnerships with San Jose International Airport, United and Alaska Airlines. A construction management program will launch next spring. A wide range of distance education programs also makes college accessible, and the California Promise which allows first-time students to attend tuition-free, is opening new doors.
“The sky’s really the limit, literally and figuratively, in community college education,” says Rose. “It’s such an exciting time to be working in higher education. It’s really a privilege to do this work because it works.”
MBEP Member Spotlight: Bay Federal Credit Union
Bay Federal Credit Union: Making a Difference
Bay Federal Credit Union’s branch offices were transformed last month into unicorn playgrounds, feasting halls for horn-helmeted Viking, Jurassic-era caves roaming with dinosaurs, even gunslinger scenes right out of the Wild West. From Cruella de Vil and her dalmatians to time travelers and the Scoobie Doo squad, the staff and offices transform each year at Halloween for one of the region’s most enthusiastic competitions, with costumes, decorating and all-out performances.
The employees – and the credit union members who come to bank there – have an absolute blast.
It’s an attitude that doesn’t just come once a year: The Capitola-based not-for-profit financial cooperative was recently named 2019’s “Best Credit Union to Work For” in Credit Union Journal’s ranking of the top 50 institutions across the country, based on a review of employers’ benefits, workplace policies and practices, and extensive employee surveys.
A workplace culture where employees look forward to coming to work and enjoy each other’s company didn’t just happen by accident.
“Our whole mission is centered around creating a culture of employees that are excited over getting up in the morning, excited about improving our members’ financial lives,” says President and CEO Carrie Birkhofer, who also serves on MBEP’s Board of Directors. “It takes focus and persistence, and it’s important to be very purposeful over what you want in a culture.”
As a member-owned financial institution, Bay Federal Credit Union is indeed making a difference, serving the needs of 77,000 members and 1,200 local businesses throughout Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey counties and reinvesting back into the community it serves. “The money that people deposit, we turn around and lend it out into the community,” says Birkhofer.
Its 225 employees make a positive impact on the region through an award-winning employee volunteer program that benefits numerous local schools, nonprofit organizations, and community events each year. For example, this past spring, Bay Federal Credit Union employees raised $11,055.33 in their annual Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals fundraiser, and credit union members and employees raised $11,285 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County through the credit union’s 28th annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake pledge drive.
Next year, Bay Federal Credit Union will start offering business loans, with the eventual goal of becoming an SBA lender. It also plans to add real estate business loans, enhance its credit card rewards and re-launch a new home equity line of credit program. “People could use home equity loans to build ADUs, a small unit in the back of their house, to increase the housing supply,” says Birkhofer. “We’re trying to fill a niche that some of the larger banks don’t fill.”
A new Salinas branch office is the first step of an expansion into Monterey County, and the financial institution is continuously investing in its mobile technology platform, “so that members can engage with us wherever they are,” says Birkhofer,
Earlier this year, Bay Federal Credit Union achieved another noteworthy milestone when it surpassed $1 billion in assets, proving that an organization can indeed do good while still doing well. After all, you can’t get much nicer than handing out ice cream during the recent PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff, which is exactly what Bay Federal Credit Union did for its members and neighbors.
It comes down to community.
“If you allow employees to be seen for who they are and recognize their creative talents, you can see amazing things happen in your business. People want to feel like they make a difference.”
MBEP Member Spotlight: San Juan Bautista
San Juan Bautista is glad to join the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership as a member. The City is celebrating its 150 birthday this year and what a great time to come and visit for one of its many special events. The streets were clean and beautiful for the Sesquicentennial parade Sept. 7th. Fourth graders resumed their visits to the San Juan Bautista Mission. The State Historic Park has a new superintendent, and the park’s Pear Orchard on Third Street has been completely renovated. The fall season brings Dia De Las Muertos celebrations, December includes El Teatro Campesino’s “La Virgen Del Tepeyac” and many other holiday performances, and the Holiday Parade is Dec. 7.
The San Juan Committee, representing 138 businesses and property owners, continues to work hard at promoting the City of History and its 70 special and ongoing annual events. The City is advertising in VIA Magazine and has recently been featured in “thetravel.com” as the second-best “underrated” city on the West Coast.
The City hired new City Manager Don Reynolds July 2, who left the City of Salinas after serving 16 years. He has initiated two key studies of the city’s water and wastewater systems. Code enforcement and street sweeping have also resumed. Maintaining history is an everyday chore, but pays off dividends as the number of regular visitors continues to increase. The Posada De San Juan and the Hacienda De Leal hotels are busier than ever!
The City hosted an MBEP Housing mixer Sept. 19, attracting 30 or so stakeholders from around the region. On Oct. 8, the City adopted its new Housing Element. The City is poised now to pursue three different state grants to help plan for the future of affordable housing, transportation and infrastructure needs.
Come and enjoy the city’s rich history and participate in planning its future!
– Cesar Flores, Mayor, and Don Reynolds, City Manager
MBEP Member Spotlight: Monterey County Housing Authority Development Corporation (HDC)
When the doors opened last fall on an affordable housing rental community known as Hikari, it brought 50 much-needed rental units to Salinas. The impact of the Monterey County Housing Authority Development Corp.’s project extends far beyond those walls: Hikari was the completion of a six-year, four-phase development that added 200 energy-efficient rental units to the region. Over those six years, Haciendas Place I and II and the Dai-Ichi Village projects collectively brought more than $75 million to the local economy, generated more than 1,000 well-paying construction jobs and helped spur revitalization of the Chinatown district. What’s more, it ventured into new territory for affordable housing: The use of modular construction to drastically reduce costs and speed up production, and incorporating energy efficiencies and sustainable building practices. And they provided stability and dignity for some of the region’s most vulnerable populations, including senior citizens.
Since its inception, Monterey County Housing Authority Development Corp. has developed 1,550 units of new construction in Monterey County and 150 in San Luis Obispo County, with another 150 currently under construction and 300 in the pipeline. The consulting expertise of the Monterey County Housing Authority Development Corp. has proven invaluable to housing authorities and affordable housing developers in the Monterey Bay region and across the country. “Other housing authorities would like to use our model for repositioning public housing,” says President/CEO Starla Warren. “They don’t have the development capacity or experience necessary.”
Developing affordable housing in one of the country’s least affordable markets comes with unique challenges along with a need for cutting-edge solutions, says Warren. While modular units – prefabricated in Idaho and shipped nearly complete to Salinas – significantly reduced costs and helped avoid weather-related construction delays, finding contractors and qualified tradesmen with modular experience proved difficult..”Modular is probably going to be a strong wave for the future and can contribute to the adding to the supply of affordable housing, so people need to figure out how to make that recipe work,” says Warren.
“It’s a very challenging effort, and not just challenging but ever-changing,” says Warren. “You continually have to think outside of the box, make new boxes, make new squares, You have to be willing and open to finding new ways to deliver.”
MBEP Member Spotlight: Joby Aviation
MBEP member Joby Aviation is bringing some big new ideas about what’s possible in transportation in the Monterey Bay Region and beyond. As a growing number of metropolitan areas struggle with high traffic density, long commute times and ground infrastructure that isn’t keeping up with demand, the 10-year-old aerospace company is developing and commercializing an all-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft to provide a safe, quiet, and affordable air-taxi service to revolutionize how people commute in dense urban environments. “Our goal is to save a billion people an hour a day,” says Joby Aviation’s Sustainability Manager Amy Gross.
The company is currently hiring for many positions in preparation for its production launch in Marina and, over the next year, intends to recruit, hire and train for a wide variety of positions.
“Joby Aviation is excited to establish production and operations of our unique and environmentally friendly aircraft in Marina,” says Gross. “Our company will create hundreds of jobs in the coming years as we grow our facilities at the Marina Municipal Airport. From design engineering to production technicians to business office functions and all supporting services, Joby will be the high-tech anchor in Monterey County, bringing with us hundreds of jobs both internally and externally.”
Gross said she anticipates much collaboration with industry, academia, and government in the region, as Joby establishes itself as a positive presence in the Monterey Bay community.”
Read more about Joby Aviation in a recent Bloomberg article here.
MBEP Member Spotlight: Transportation Agency for Monterey County
If it’s about transportation in Monterey County, or rethinking the county’s transportation network, there’s a pretty good chance the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) has a key role in it. The agency oversees a multi-modal transportation network that includes highway, local road, bicycle, pedestrian, and trail projects, with funding from a number of sources, including local, state and federal funds. So that includes everything from freeway tow trucks, call boxes and emergency ride home programs to roundabouts, highway safety, regional trails and safe routes to school projects.
Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) Executive Director Debbie Hale jokes that her office gets calls for everything from bus service (wrong agency – in Monterey County, that would be Monterey Salinas Transit), and tax inquiries (the building once housed the Internal Revenue Service) to people trying to reach county offices, despite the fact that TAMC is actually a state-designated stand-alone agency. So just what does TAMC do?
Lots of things that significantly impact quality of life in the region, including funding and roundabout education for the Holman Highway 68 Roundabout. Completed two years ago, the project relieved traffic congestion at the busy intersection of Holman Highway 68, Highway 1 ramps and 17 Mile Drive near the entrance to Pebble Beach and the Community Hospital. Backed by a multi-agency public-private partnership, the project has improved traffic safety while minimizing delays of emergency vehicles.
“That was an amazing project that had a lot of resistance, but at the end of the day, it was very successful and changed public perception,” said Hale.
Go831 is a free TAMC program that uses the 4 R’s of Transportation Demand Management (Re-mode, Re-time, Reduce, Reroute) to improve travel without widening roads. Designed to support employer-based commuter programs, Go831 provides the resources, technology, and tools to help get cars off the road and out of parking lots during peak traffic hours. MBEP is working closely with TAMC to support and promote the program. “One of the areas that we’ve been coordinating a lot with MBEP is our Go831,” says Hale. “MBEP is very much involved in that and recognizes how important transportation is to our region.”
One of the more “bold and innovative” projects TAMC has recently assisted with, says Hale, is the City of Monterey’s North Fremont Bike and Pedestrian Access and Safety Improvements Project. The $9.4 million project, a collaboration between CalTrans, TAMC, Measure P/S and Measure X funds, and Monterey’s Neighborhood Improvement Program, brought state-of-the-art technology in the form of smart traffic signals that adapt to real-time conditions so as to minimize delays through the corridor and adjacent streets. A Class IV protected bike lane in the median is the first in California, a design that other cities are closely studying as a way to create safer multi-modal transportation systems. And while the project has upgraded the aesthetics of North Fremont Street, it also significantly improved safety and accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.
Hale applauds the City of Monterey for its vision. “We like to support that kind of innovation,” said Hale. “It’s a really great project, and we were so pleased to be able to help fund it.”
Transportation planning includes rethinking everything from when people drive to perceptions of how the roads could actually being used, and those possibilities are exciting, says Hale.
TAMC recently hosted popup demonstrations near traffic-congested schools in Seaside and Marina, and Salinas will be next. The popups – which use impermanent features such as purple paint, plants and traffic cones — are an innovative, temporary way to test out options to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists,
One of TAMC’s biggest roles right now, says Hale, is fulfilling the promises of its Transportation Safety & Investment Plan, the transportation bond measure that created a 3/8 percent sales tax for transportation improvements in Monterey County. “This community trusted us by passing Measure X, so one of the things we’re doing is fulfilling that promise by helping to make improvements in local communities, and making sure we’re delivering on the regional safety project.”
MBEP Member Spotlight: City of Seaside
Seaside, the largest and most culturally diverse city on the Monterey Peninsula, has been quietly re-engineering its image in the past few years. No longer dwelling on the past, this MBEP member is simply poised to reinvent itself.
Here are the top things you should consider about the (near) future of Seaside, says Assistant City Manager Lesley Milton-Rerig:
Acknowledge history, then fugettabout it. Yes, the entire area was impacted by the loss of the former Fort Ord in 1993, Seaside is now developing abandoned land with unique projects like Campus Town, Main Gate, Seaside Senior Living facility – projects that benefit the entire community.
CSUMB – an intellectual incubator helping create an educated workforce. Seaside has been working with the university to help strengthen the relationship among the institution, students and community. And the Sustainable Cities Program and Service Learning Program places students with the City to develop projects while a proposed Transient Occupancy Tax-funded scholarship could benefit Seaside residents graduating from high school.
Broadway: Seaside’s downtown reinvention. An $8 million investment has now seen a slew of car shows and creative community gatherings like a Zombie Prom and Exotics On Broadway, (which had over 20,000 attendees), not to mention new restaurants, a swanky new coffee shop and recording studio, and a highly anticipated craft brewery. Just wait until the catalyst upper Broadway development, the proposed Ascent project, a 110-unit mixed-use development kicks off development further up the street.
Parks and Public Spaces. You can hike, bike, walk, swim, or jungle gym. Touting the best weather on the Peninsula, we suggest you play outside at the city’s newly renovated multi-use field at Cutino Park. The astroturf field can be used for football, baseball, soccer or even futsol.
Field play not your thing? Check out Seaside’s first skate park that has been dubbed by local skate groms as the best in the region.
Finally, and most importantly, everyone is welcome. Seaside’s city motto is to “Include, Innovate, Inspire.” “If that doesn’t sell us as the most accepting, diverse, creative and fun city on the Peninsula,” says Milton-Rerig, “I’m not sure what you are looking for.”
Take the time to rethink Seaside!
MBEP Member Spotlight: San Benito Health Foundation Invests in Preparedness, Sustainability
San Benito Health Foundation may be a small nonprofit but it’s got a big role in regional well-being: Since 1975, this MBEP member been providing a range of medical and dental services, from immunizations and breast-feeding counseling to health screenings and behavioral health services to San Benito County-area residents, regardless of ability to pay.
Now, the Hollister health clinic is about to celebrate a landmark transition: Its headquarters have just become California’s first 100 percent carbon-neutral, solar, fully sustainable and resilient healthcare facility.
To make it happen, San Benito Health Foundation CEO Rosa Vivian Fernández formed partnerships with Greenpower, a division of Santa Cruz nonprofit the Romero Institute, and the Aromas Progressive Action League (APAL) to help manage her organization’s transition to become fully energy independent and resilient in case of a natural disaster.
“Access to quality healthcare becomes especially important during times of darkness, uncertainty or disaster,” said Fernández. “We have been preparing for the eventuality that disasters could cut us off from the grid for days, maybe weeks, by taking all the necessary steps to ensure we will be here for our patients, no matter what.”
Fernández had already decided to address sustainability but a visit to her home territory of Puerto Rico in 2017 — where she saw the aftermath of Hurricane Maria — inspired her to further address disaster resilience. “I saw families devastated and without access to basic services and needs. I told myself I would never let that happen to the people who depend on SBHF. I also wanted to find a way for my organization to have a positive impact for our climate,” Fernández said.
Over the past year, new solar panels, retrofitted lighting, an ultra-efficient HVAC system, and a bioethanol generator have turned San Benito Health Foundation into the first clinic in California powered by its microgrid.
“It’s exciting and we hope that this will serve as a model for other community health centers throughout the region, throughout the state and nationally,” said Fernández. “And to those communities in Puerto Rico that are still struggling through power outages.”
The community celebrated these important improvements to regional well-being with an open house and ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, Aug. 14 featuring special guest Congressmember Jimmy Panetta and community leaders. The event included guided tours of the newly renovated health center, food, entertainment and activities for all ages. The health center will also host a Community Open House from 3-7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16 as part of National Health Center Week, which recognizes the contributions of community, migrant, homeless and public housing centers in promoting health and prevention. chance to learn more about the many services and programs available. Learn more
MBEP Member Spotlight: City of Pacific Grove
Like other cities across the Monterey Peninsula, the City of Pacific Grove is grappling with the challenges created by high housing costs. A key goal for the city is to add affordable housing, says Mayor Bill Peake. Ideally, housing is located near work, reducing traffic and its carbon emissions and ultimately improving quality of life. Current city efforts are headed in two directions: City-sponsored affordable housing and city incentives for private development. Such a project would require a partnership with a developer, with the city providing land, water, and possibly funding. The other effort, city incentives, involves new regulations such as an inclusionary housing ordinance and loosening accessory dwelling unit restrictions. The inclusionary housing ordinance would encourage higher housing densities to make adding affordable housing units cost-neutral for private developers. As an MBEP member, the City of Pacific Grove is working in partnership with MBEP to achieve those affordable housing goals.
Another key goal for the City of Pacific Grove is to reduce single-use plastics as much as possible, says Peake. “Our community has a long-standing desire to improve our environment and keep the bay pristine,” he said. “The City’s environmental program manager is working with the city’s Beautification and Natural Resources Committee to develop new regulations to move us in the direction of eliminating single-use plastics in retail businesses, particularly for food containers. Other community organizations are partnering with the city in this effort: The Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce, Sustainable Pacific Grove, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Regional Waste Management District and the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.”
The goal will require a dedicated, longterm coordinated effort by businesses and residents to make it work, says Peake, but there is significant support throughout the community to make it succeed.
Member Spotlight: California Manufacturing Technology Consulting
One of MBEP’s newest members, California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) is taking an important role in helping shape California’s future. As a provider of technical assistance to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), its primary goal is to promote manufacturing growth leading to an increase in high-paying manufacturing jobs.
It’s vitally important to California’s economy, says CMTC President and CEO James Watson, that small manufacturers increase their productivity and competitiveness, as they comprise 75 percent of the state’s manufacturing establishments.
Yet, SMMs are facing challenges in finding qualified candidates to fill manufacturing jobs, keeping pace with technological demands and industry automation advancements. “Many manufacturers don’t have the necessary resources to meet these challenges,” says Watson. “We’re here to help.”
Through partnerships with universities, community colleges, Workforce Development Boards and nonprofits across the state, CMTC and its partners are working together to identify workforce needs and connect skilled workers with middle-skills and digital-skills manufacturing jobs.
When it comes to building a future workforce, industry perception matters. That’s why, each October, CMTC partners with manufacturers across California to open their facilities to the public, one day each year as part of Manufacturing Day, to show students what today’s manufacturing is — and what it isn’t. Once those students step out on the manufacturing floor, see the technology and opportunity in today’s manufacturing businesses, they have a completely different perception of the industry. This year, the Oct. 4 event will be just the beginning of a monthlong campaign of manufacturing events.
Technology is the most significant change affecting manufacturing, yet the need to remain competitive via automation can overwhelm business owners. “The whole concept of how to select the appropriate form of automation that will integrate into their operation can be an issue,” says Watson. “Workforce and technology work hand in hand — you can’t upgrade your plant’s automation without a skilled workforce.”
To help alleviate the technology challenges, CMTC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technologies team, works to strategically build advanced technology roadmaps for manufacturers while addressing workforce needs, access to capital and automation options. “Technology adoption is a strategic decision,” says Watson. “If planned properly automation will increase productivity and stimulate business growth.”
As an MBEP member, CMTC is making inroads across the Monterey Bay region to foster technology adoption, leverage organizations to further advance workforce development and share the message of an industry sector with high wage jobs.
“Manufacturing is transforming at light speed,” says Watson. “It’s not smokestacks and slippery floors. We want people to understand that manufacturing is important to the economy of our state and we still have a lot of work to do.”
For more information, contact Christina Chavez Wyatt.
Photos courtesy of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting. Manufacturing Day, an annual event started in 2012, is designed to inspire and recruit the next generation of manufacturers.
Member Spotlight: Poly Helps People Connect
“We see limitless opportunity for how people communicate and collaborate today,” said Burton. “With advancements in AI, machine learning and new technologies, we see a future where Poly makes the connection, then quietly steps out of the way to become the one thing you don’t notice in the meeting.” Read more about the rebranding and areas of innovation here.
Member Spotlight: Mann Packing Keeps Innovating
Mann Packing’s popular Nourish Bowls® was a first-of-its-kind product, and the line has continued to evolve. “We introduced those back in 2016 in four flavors,” says Loree Dowse, director of Creative Marketing. “We actually like to say we created the warm vegetable meal segment in the produce department.” Two flavors of Nourish Bowls Breakfast, microwavable meals that create high-protein breakfasts with the addition of eggs, were introduced in January.
The company’s newest sensation is a sweet, long-stemmed beauty that can be grown year-round in the Salinas Valley. Two years in the making, CAULILINI® baby cauliflower, as it’s known, is already making a splash among professional chefs for its mild taste, blonde, open florets and stems that turn bright green when cooked. CAULILINI® baby cauliflower has just been named Best New Product by the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. Hundreds of news outlets have reported on the product in recent weeks, and the company’s phones are ringing off the hook with consumers wanting to know where to find it, says Dowse. The product will roll out to consumers in partnership with a major retailer in the coming months.
Behind all that creativity is a business making a difference in other ways as well. Mann Packing employs close to 600 people in Monterey County and had about $580 million in sales last year. It’s currently hiring for jobs at its state-of-the-art processing facility in Gonzales. As many as 200 new jobs could be created as a result of the new 130,00-square-foot facility. Shipping operations begin this month, and processing will begin there later this year.
Mann Packing is also dedicated to minimizing its environmental footprint: A 260-foot-tall wind turbine at the new Gonzales facility will provide 50-75 percent of the plant’s power during peak wind times, generating the equivalent power offset of 349 U.S. homes and an estimated energy savings of $120,000-$210,000. Those offsets are equivalent to CO2 emissions from 371,672 gallons of gasoline burned, more than 3.5 million pounds of coal burned, or a year’s worth of energy use for 349 homes.
The third-generation family company was founded in 1939 and purchased by Del Monte Fresh Produce for $361 million last year.
Member Spotlight: City of Del Rey Oaks
The city continues to improve its transportation infrastructure including street rehabilitation, the design and construction of South Boundary Road, and the Fort Ord Regional Trail & Greenway Project, a proposed 27-mile recreational trail connecting parks and neighborhoods traversing multiple cities and unincorporated areas and connecting to the Monterey Bay Scenic Coastal trail.
In addition, Del Rey Oaks continues to work toward diversifying its cannabis business sector safely and in compliance with state county and municipal regulations. “On all of these fronts,” says Pick, “Monterey Bay Economic Partnership will be an important partner and we look forward to working with MBEP.”
Member Spotlight: Santa Cruz County Bank Celebrates 15 Years
“We wanted the community to be in the bank, not just another bank on the corner someplace,” Santa Cruz County Bank’s CEO David Heald told the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “Our engagement within the community was important, if not as important as the overall financial performance of the bank.”
That overall financial performance is worth celebrating as well. With assets of $662 million in 2018 and eight successive years of record earnings, Santa Cruz County Bank is playing a major role in regional economic growth. Last year alone, the bank made $200 million in loans and it’s a top SBA lender in Santa Cruz County and the Silicon Valley.
“What we do every day supports the growth of the community,” says Santa Cruz County Bank Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer Mary Anne Carson. “Our whole business structure is built to support our customer’s needs, and that in turn supports the community’s needs.” Read more.
Member Spotlight: Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce is riding the forefront of change, as chambers of commerce shift away from being primarily a source of information, community promoter and host of special events and ribbon-cuttings. That, says Farmer, is yesterday’s chamber. “Today’s successful chamber is a convener, catalyst and champion,” says Farmer. “As a convener, we bring together people who can solve challenges. As a catalyst, we help foment solutions. As a champion, we enlist support from residents, businesspeople and elected officials to bring about the success we have helped envision.”
For its efforts, the Salinas Valley Chamber has been honored by the Western Association of Chamber Executives two out of the past three years. The award, for visionary work leading communities, is presented to only five out of 850 members.
On Thursday, Feb. 28, the chamber hosted its biggest event of the year, as it honored exemplary individuals and businesses at its 98th annual Awards The luncheon was sponsored by Rabobank, at Sherwood Hall. Each of this year’s honorees help make for a more vibrant community. Says Farmer, “We like to say our Awards Luncheon is the one annual event we hold where ‘everybody comes because everybody goes.” Learn more.
To view more member stories, visit our Member Spotlight page.
Member Spotlight: S. Martinelli & Co.
Building Upon a Legacy, Martinelli’s Looks Toward the Future
The bright flavors of perfectly ripened apples – pressed into cider, distinctive apple-shaped juice bottles or celebration-ready sparkling ciders – are at the core of one of the Monterey Bay region’s most historic businesses. S. Martinelli & Co., a family-owned and -operated company and an MBEP member, is still based in Watsonville, the town in which it was founded more than 150 years ago.
Martinelli’s marked its sesquicentennial last year in a big way, rolling out a commemorative book and restoring a 1932 Ford Model B truck once used for company deliveries, reintroducing it for Watsonville’s Fourth of July parade, the Wharf to Wharf Race in Capitola and other events. And in a nod to its roots, the company debuted a hard cider, which was Martinelli’s original product in a pre-Prohibition era.
Behind all those years is a history of constant reinvention, says company President/CFO Gun Ruder: “We need to continuously improve and advance, but there’s no sense that we can rest on our laurels.”
That’s why working as an active MBEP partner on big regional issues is so important. “For us as a manufacturing company, having a workforce that’s educated and has the skillset to work in a more technologically advanced plant than we’ve ever had before is critical, and having those workers sustain a livelihood in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties is tough,” says Ruder. “These are all big issues for us, and we want to make sure we have a voice in the solution and add our perspective to help drive solutions for the region broadly.”
So while the company, which now sells its products in 44 countries, was publicly celebrating its milestone anniversary with an appearance on the “Megyn Kelly Today” show, it was also upgrading its infrastructure and investing in its own future: replacing a 30-year-old enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with new cutting-edge business process management software and going live with a new filtration system, the first of a three-phase modernization project that will soon bring two new high-speed production lines to the company’s West Beach facility.
For S. Martinelli & Co., 150 years are just the beginning. “We’re proud of where we’ve been,” says Ruder. “We’re in Watsonville for the long haul.”
Pictured from left, S. Martinelli & Co. President/CFO Gun Ruder and CEO John Martinelli. Photo courtesy of S. Martinelli & Co.
Member Spotlight: Northern California Carpenter's Regional Council
Last year’s massive bridge repair projects in Big Sur and California State University, Monterey Bay’s Student Union and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences buildings currently under construction are among the high-profile projects employing significant numbers of union carpenters, but whether they’re creating concrete formwork for bridges, building wood framing, erecting scaffolding or installing drywall, those members are an integral part of the Monterey Bay region.
Many of those skilled union carpenters are also residents here, challenged to afford housing even as some of their fellow union members help build affordable housing for others. So the issues of livable wages, good medical and retirement benefits are vitally important to the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, says Sean Hebard, Senior Field Representative for Carpenters Local 505/605. “Affordable housing is a big one, from our perspective,” says Hebard. “We need to make sure we address the demand side as well as the supply side.”
MBEP is invested in employment opportunities for our youth, and we are excited to partner with the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council. Strong training programs are helping build a skilled workforce for a rapidly evolving industry where technology is playing an increasingly larger role: There’s a waitlist for the union’s various four-year apprenticeship programs, the largest of which is general carpentry, and an outreach program to high schools in the in tri-county region makes young people aware of opportunities across the construction trades. A six-week carpentry pre-apprenticeship for recent high school grads teaches soft skills, safety basics and financial literacy and has dramatically cut attrition rates for those who later enter the carpentry apprenticeship program. And a helmets-to-hardhats program ensures that military veterans are eligible for apprenticeship opportunities.
“Affordable housing and market rate housing needs to get built, and roads and highways need to get built,” says Hebard. “Our members do all those things.”
Pictured, third-period apprentice Anders Chippindale, Local 217, and carpenter foreman Steven White, Local 217, set a frame at CSU Monterey Bay student union building. Photo courtesy of The Northern Caifornia Carpenters Regional Council.
MBEP Member Spotlight: Monterey Peninsula Foundation: Golf and Giving
Great golf, gorgeous scenery and celebrity antics are just part of what the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am is really about. The annual event, coming up Feb. 3-9, plays a huge role in supporting more than 200 charities and nonprofits across the Monterey Peninsula each year. The event is one of two major benefit tournaments each year hosted by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation, which in the last fiscal year donated more than $15.6 million to community nonprofits.
That $15.6 million has an impact in countless ways across the tri-county region: Grants that help support a marine biology program for students at Chalone Peaks Middle School in King City, Community Solutions for Children Families and Individuals program for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in San Benito County, help the Monterey Museum of Art buy vans, and that support the Monterey Bay Aquarium Foundation’s efforts to create the next generation of ocean leaders. From summer camps for children affected by cancer, to rebuilding local markets for local and sustainable seafood, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation’s philanthropy is felt widely.
Among the organizations awarded grants last year was MBEP, supporting its multi-year special initiative to facilitate and coordinate affordable housing in the region.
With the goal of helping create safe, healthy, and thriving communities, the Monterey Peninsula Foundation awards grants to nonprofits focusing on five areas: arts and culture, community and environment, education, health and human services, and youth. Invest as much time and energy looking at nonprofits as the Monterey Peninsula Foundation does, and you have a unique insight into the complex needs of Monterey Bay region communities.
While those needs continue to evolve, the mission of the Monterey Peninsula Foundation hasn’t changed, says Monterey Peninsula Foundation CEO Steve John, who says the foundation reviews anywhere from 70 to 90 proposals each quarter. “We have the ability to widen our aperture wherever the need may be,” says John. “Our board gives us great flexibility. That’s our greatest strength, our ability to assess and adapt.”
The scope of the need is amplified by the number of nonprofits addressing similar issues in different parts of the region, says Mary Shipsey Gunn, Director of Philanthropy for the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. “What’s unique about us is we really try to listen,” says Gunn. “We are going out with our grant committee and with our staff and trying to understand those needs.”
One of those emerging needs in recent years has been what Gunn describes as a “staggering amount of youth homelessness,” giving rise to a swell of youth programs struggling to meet those needs. At the root of the problem is housing affordability.
“Our support of MBEP has gone to support their housing initiative,” says Gunn. “The need for housing in each of our communities is huge.”
Those grants often provide operating support for nonprofits across Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, says Gunn. “I think of our funding as kind of a ‘meat and potatoes’ funds, addressing basic needs that agencies have. It really helps them to provide their services.”
Another trend Gunn notes is increased collaborations among and between hospital partnerships. “In previous years, they’d compete more; now they are working alongside each other more.”
The organization is helping dispel the myth that philanthropy is the work of the wealthy.
“One of the best ways we’ve done that is Monterey County Gives!,” says Gunn. “A few years back, we approached the Monterey County Weekly and Community Foundation for Monterey County, and joined with them to provide additional matching money to groups that participate. ” The campaign runs in a short window, from early November through New Year’s Eve, accepting donations as small as $5. The 2019 campaign raised more than $5.3 million, with nearly 5,000 donors supporting 163 nonprofits.
Particularly heartening, says John, is that the campaign promotes young and new donors, “very creative in a way to pull people to give,” he says. “It’s a community effort to show that every dollar counts across all landscapes.”
The Monterey Peninsula Foundation is proud of its role in helping to develop philanthropy in the region, says Gunn. “Last year, we did $15.6 million in giving, which was really remarkable,” says Gunn. “We’re not a funder that has a small, circumscribed target: we’re really aimed at making the experience of the community as rich as it can be for all of its residents.”
So when the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am starts up next month, think about all the good the golf tournament brings with it. “We try not to talk about golf without talking about giving, and we try not to talk about giving without talking about golf,” says Gunn. “The whole capacity to give at all comes directly from those sponsors and volunteers. Without that whole formula, we wouldn’t be in the position to do what we do.”