Ventura County Veterans Fund awards its first grants to ease the transition to civilian life for returning warriors

CAMARILLO, CA - The Ventura County Veterans Fund at the Ventura County Community Foundation has awarded its first grants to local nonprofits that serve veterans as they adjust to civilian life. The Ventura County Veterans Fund will present a total of $75,000 in grants to seven nonprofits that meet a variety of veterans needs, including college and career preparation and therapy.

VCCF and the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation seeded the fund with $25,000 in challenge grants last year, and it recently reached its goal with a $20,000 contribution from the Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors Foundation, which provided both a matching gift for personal donation and a donation to extend the work of the fund.

"Many who serve overseas in the military have a difficult time adjusting as they return home," VCCF President and CEO Hugh Ralston said. "These grantees have developed diverse and innovative programs to provide critical support for those who have served our country."

The following programs received the 2013 grants:

$8,500 to California Lutheran University for the Veterans Entrepreneurship Institute, a series of workshops to prepare veterans to be competitive in today's workforce.

$15,000 to the CSUCI Foundation for the Veterans Affairs Internship Program, to provide paid internships to student veterans in their chosen field.
$9,000 to Oxnard College for Boots to Books, a college orientation program offering support to veterans and their families. Workshop topics include the GI Bill, transferring to a university, career and financial aid planning and job seeking.

$15,000 to Reins of H.O.P.E for the H.O.P.E for Warriors Ventura County Veterans Services Program, which offers equine therapy and learning sessions for veterans and their families.

$15,000 to Turning Point Foundation for the H2H Housing First Veterans Project, offering housing and case management services for chronically homeless, mentally ill veterans.

$7,500 to Ventura County Jewish Family Services for counseling services for veterans and their families, providing therapy for PTSD, depression and emotional responses to adjusting.

$5,000 to the White Heart Foundation for the White Heart Network, allowing Ventura County residents to support funding campaigns for local veterans.

"To be recognized and supported by such a prestigious group is a compliment," said Reigns of H.O.P.E Executive Director Julie Sardonia. "Our team feels strongly it is important to give back to those who have sacrificed so much by helping them experience the healing power of riding and caring for horses."

VCCF's Ventura County Veterans Fund supports efforts to enhance the quality of life and to assist the men and women who so valiantly committed their lives to protecting our country though all branches of the military. Established with a challenge from the VCCF Community Response Fund and the Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, the fund has been focused on raising capital locally to support returning veterans and their families, and has established itself as a partner for local donors interested in supporting this cause.

Celebrating its 25th year, VCCF invests the charitable capital that drives the philanthropic engines of Ventura County. Its portfolio performance ranks in the top 11 of all community foundations in the United States for long-term growth. With total assets of nearly $126 million, as of March 30, its mission is to promote and enable philanthropy to improve our community for good for ever, which it does through grantmaking, scholarships and training at its Center for Nonprofit Leadership. It owns the VCCF Nonprofit Center in Camarillo - a place where nonprofits and the community can come together to work together. Visit or call (805) 988-0196.