Our Story

Nonprofit Connection (NPC) Santa Cruz County builds and strengthens relationships among local nonprofits, broadening networks of support and community connections.

How it began
Source: calnonprofits.org
Source: calnonprofits.org

In 2013, the County Office of Education initiated a study of the county’s student support service providers, including nonprofits, to shed light on the quality and variety of services for K-12 students in Santa Cruz County.

The study revealed much more than it set out to achieve. The research found that some services were not being provided as effectively as they could be, because too many nonprofit organizations were duplicating services and competing for the same sources of funding and volunteers. It also found no current, single, in-depth information source about the county’s vast number of nonprofits and their missions. Importantly, the study found our county lacked a coordinating body to connect and support the more than 500 nonprofits of all sizes and in all sectors, both 501 (c)(3) and fiscally sponsored, operating in Santa Cruz County.

Nonprofit alliances in the adjoining counties of Monterey and Santa Clara Counties were an hour away and specific to the needs of those counties, yet they were the only option for Santa Cruz County nonprofit leaders seeking peer support, collaboration, and new sources of information.

Exploratory phase:
Advisory Group - January 2019

Rose Filicetti, who had conducted the initial research in 2013 at the request of then-Superintendent Michael Watkins, continued exploring the feasibility of forming some type of nonprofit alliance organization for Santa Cruz County. She and several others met with former and current Executive Directors of nonprofit alliances in surrounding counties, including the Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits (Santa Clara), Thrive (San Mateo) and Nonprofit Alliance of Monterey County. They wanted to learn how these organizations got their starts, and what they’d learned that might apply to our county.

This small group ultimately grew to a larger Advisory Group of experienced nonprofit leaders, board members, and volunteers, who began meeting monthly. Over the course of a year, they interviewed dozens of SCC nonprofit leaders about their needs, challenges, and ideas for collaborating and supporting each other through some kind of shared resource platform.

FoodWhat - Spring Field
The Goal

1

Gather input from nonprofits from all sectors and all sizes; identify common needs and challenges.

2

Determine if there was interest, need, and support for this type of organization in the county.

3

If YES to the second goal, then, with the guidance of the Advisory Group, we would determine a structure for a nonprofit communications and resource platform; how it would operate, be funded/staffed/housed, and what membership would consist of.

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Connections make us stronger

O'Neill Sea Odyssey

Common Needs

Common Needs A number of needs were identified by Santa Cruz County nonprofits during this process, via personal meetings, interviews, and surveys. Here’s what nonprofits told us they wanted: 

Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust (PVCHT)
Resulting Focus for the new Nonprofit
Connection Santa Cruz County (NPC)

After more than a year of information gathering direct from our county’s nonprofit leaders, we concluded there was both a need and a strong desire for a county-wide umbrella organization that could provide a communications platform, a repository of resources, and a variety of digital tools (calendars, job postings) to serve and help strengthen local nonprofits. In response, the NPC was formed to support the following:

Source: calnonprofits.org
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Every dollar we collect helps NPC to connect nonprofit people, ideas, and resources.

Nonprofit Connection Santa Cruz County is a 501(c)3 corporation, Federal Tax ID# 87-2130376