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Coast Hills

A Lengthy Legacy of Giving

by Joshua D. Scroggin
May 20, 2016
CAC Community Action Committee

Once a month for 20 years running, Marla Hernandez sits down with other CoastHills Credit Union employees and answers this question:

What’s the best way we can make a difference in our neighbors’ lives?

As members of our CoastHills Community Foundation’s Community Action Committee (CAC), Marla and her colleagues have responded with hundreds of thousands of dollars in community sponsorships over the years.

This month marks the end of an era. Marla has attended her last meeting.

She joined the CAC two decades ago knowing the experience would be as fulfilling as her other volunteer activities. She’s aided in in disaster relief efforts all over the country with the American Red Cross. Now, after the longest tenure in the committee’s history, Marla is stepping away so another credit union employee can enjoy the experience as much as she has.

Along the way, the CAC members have marveled at the sheer number of deserving local nonprofits and school programs throughout the credit union’s field of membership.  Having a finite budget to assist them has been hard.

“We’ve sponsored so many school activities and nonprofits every year,” Marla said. “There’s a lot of smaller groups that, without our contribution, might not have been able to do what they wanted to do. I think we make a really great difference.”

The CAC convenes the second week of each month to review sponsorship requests submitted through the CoastHills website. The committee has about $20,000 a year to allocate and tries to award funding based on timely requests and where it will make the biggest impact. It’s able to grant each selected nonprofit up to $500 a year.

The size of the committee has grown. So have its resources and exposure. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the mission.

Marla said even when it first launched and very few members and employees were aware it existed, our CAC worked hard to enrich the community and get the word out.

Some of Marla’s favorites were charity events held by firefighters and local law enforcement.

“We physically went out into the community,” Marla said. “It was neat seeing what kind of organizations were out there that we really weren’t aware of.” She said it felt good to know CoastHills was making a difference.

Schools and nonprofits from Santa Cruz to Ventura counties can request CAC funding by completing a Community Action Sponsorship form on the CoastHills website. 

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