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.