Surrounded by foam letters, cubbies and a model igloo, kids at the Children’s Center in Goleta painted their names with colored ice cubes on Monday morning.
These children, along with many others in Isla Vista and Goleta, have much to look forward to this year after the Isla Vista Youth Projects (IVYP) acquired the funds to purchase a building they call home for eight hours a day.
The Children’s Center, a part of the IVYP, provides low-cost childcare to Isla Vista and Goleta. The nonprofit focuses on providing parent education, low-cost childcare and preparing children to start school.
Narrowly clearing its Dec. 31 fundraising deadline, IVYP completed its “$300K for $300K Match Campaign,” through a crowdfunding page, which indicated $300,033 raised on the morning of Jan. 1.
Speaking about the success of the fundraiser, IVYP executive director LuAnn Miller said the “community-based campaign” had donations ranging from a penny to thousands of dollars from local foundations.
The funds qualify the organization for the County of Santa Barbara’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), which has awarded IVYP an additional $300,000. IVYP intends to use the $600,000 to purchase the building it currently rents near the Camino Real Marketplace, closing out a mortgage of $1.2 million.
“The CDBG grant from the County of Santa Barbara comprises the final payment of the mortgage, and it really was an ‘all or nothing’ … We needed to get the mortgage gap down to $300,000,” Miller said.
The County of Santa Barbara reviews and selects grant recipients with a committee of 13 members organized by the Santa Barbara City Council. The committee, referred to as the Community Development and Human Services Committee (CDHSC), consists of representatives from several local groups.
IVYP has completed the grant process, and the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors is completing a final review of loan documents and escrow/title information before releasing funding.
According to Isla Vista Youth Projects’ mission page, in addition to securing the building through government funding, it plans to raise an additional $700,000 intended to be used for renovations and repairs of their facilities.
“Of that $700,000 that’s remaining we’ve already raised over $100,000,” Miller said. “Some of the effects of that you’ll see right here in this office.”
The Children’s Center’s front office recently remodeled its floors and painted its walls, and its facilities recently added storage sheds for children’s equipment. Waterproof awnings have also been installed in order to protect some of the children’s equipment.
According to Miller, future renovation plans include extending the tricycle path in the outdoor area, replacing a washing machine and kitchen stove and providing more natural spaces for the children to play in. In order to create more natural areas while remaining environmentally conscious, IVYP hopes to plant a succulent garden.
In line with its commitment to sustainability, the center ultimately intends to install solar panels in order to curtail their energy costs. Miller said this is a way for them to use the money they save to create more programs and give back to their community.
Miller said the local community’s support was critical to the fundraiser’s success.
“We couldn’t have done it without the grassroots support of Isla Vista and Goleta communities,” she said. “It was the families baking cookies and doing jog-a-thons and selling raffle baskets and taco carts and penny drives … It was amazing to see the community pull together.”
A version of this story appeared on p. 1 of the Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 edition of the Daily Nexus.
Correction: The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has already awarded IVYP a Community Development Block Grant, and is now finalizing the release of funds.