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Posted on: September 7, 2022

Half Moon Bay Awarded Chan Zuckerberg Grant to Support Coastside Recovery Efforts

September 7, 2022, Half Moon Bay, CA – The City of Half Moon Bay announced today that it has received a $400,000 grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) to support economic recovery efforts throughout the Coastside region. The funding will support farmworkers and regenerative agricultural practices, and digital access and resilience for the most vulnerable Coastside residents.

The grant from CZI is among the largest ever made to the Coastside region.

The City intends to allocate CZI grant funds to Rancho San Benito (RSB), a newly established nonprofit and first-of-its-kind farmworker cooperative designed to help farmworkers become entrepreneurs and establish their own land-based business. Participants will include low-income farmworkers who are already employed on Coastside farms. They will receive land for farming, supplies, and equipment combined with education on organic and regenerative farming methods, farm operations, and management.

Grant funds will also support two long-standing nonprofit organizations, Coastside Hope and Puente de la Costa Sur, to hire digital navigators that can help people access the internet and increase their digital navigation skills. Digital navigator programs are gaining traction nationwide and are increasingly seen as a critical part of adult education, workforce development and safety net services.

“We’re grateful to CZI for its generosity, vision, and commitment to making this investment in an area that has been hit hard by the pandemic, drought and wildfires,” said Debbie Ruddock, Mayor of Half Moon Bay. “This support builds on the strong foundation that has been created through the Coastside Recovery Initiative and its strategic recommendations to prepare the Coastside region for the next economy.” 

The Coastside Recovery Initiative (CRI) was launched in February 2021 to address immediate community needs in the face of a worsening pandemic, while advancing strategies to create a more inclusive and resilient economy. With the help of a diverse, multi-sector task force, recommendations were developed focused on using the region’s natural assets as drivers for economic growth, sparking business innovation and job creation, helping local businesses and nonprofits thrive, and creating vibrant commercial and community spaces.  

“The Coastside is a vital part of San Mateo County and yet faces a unique set of challenges, including acute need in rural sparsely populated communities,” said Andrea Jones, Director of Bay Area Giving, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “We wanted to change that by building on the incredible assets and potential that exists, amplifying the work of the CRI and creating greater social and economic opportunities for all residents which is one of our most important strategic priorities.”

Since the release of the CRI report in March, the County of San Mateo has approved a $2.5 million funding allocation to establish a dedicated center offering supportive services for job seekers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. Plans are underway to bring college classes and student support services back to the Coastside through a strategic partnership with the College of San Mateo and the Coastside Workforce Development Roundtable, a coalition of business, labor and trades, nonprofits, and education leaders. And a downtown revitalization project will begin with $250,000 from the city’s Capital Improvement Program.

Together with the efforts funded by the CZI grant, these important initiatives are contributing to a more economically healthy and resilient Coastside community, inclusive of all who live and work here.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of local communities. Its mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. More information about CZI is available online at chanzuckerberg.com.

For more information about this grant, or the Coastside Recovery Initiative, please contact Karen Decker, Community and Economic Vitality Manager at kdecker@hmbcity.com.

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