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The staircase at South Carlsbad State Beach is just one of the projects The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation helped to fund. Photo by Ellen Wright
The staircase at South Carlsbad State Beach is just one of the projects The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation helped to fund. Photo by Ellen Wright
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Nonprofits, city benefiting from charitable foundation

CARLSBAD— If you’ve used the staircase lately at South Carlsbad State Beach or enjoyed the “Cat Nap” mural on the side of Witch Creek Winery, you’ve experienced the efforts of The Carlsbad Charitable Foundation.

The foundation is an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation and has granted more than $500,000 to different nonprofits throughout Carlsbad.

The foundation was founded in 2008 and has a different philanthropic focus each fiscal year.

Last year, the focus was civic engagement, which allowed the foundation to grant money to a variety of different nonprofits.

Ray Pearson, chairman of the foundation said they were aiming to create more volunteerism in the community.

The biggest grant in the 2013-14 fiscal year was awarded to the Community Resource Center. The foundation granted $25,000 for the Homelessness Prevention and Intervention Program, which provide services to episodically homeless.

In years past, the foundation focused on the arts, which is how four murals in the Village of Carlsbad were funded, including “Cat Nap,” “Waiting for the Sandman” on Carlsbad Village Yoga & Fitness, “Village Words” on Carlsbad Cabinet Co. and “Owl” on 83 Degrees Restaurant.

There will be a free tour of the murals Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. starting at CHOICE Superfood & Juicery on Carlsbad Village Drive.

Membership fees fund the foundation. Each member pays $1,000 annually and the McLaughlin Live Here, Give Here endowment, matches the funds given.  The McLaughlin match will happen for the next three years and was endowed to the North County affiliates of The San Diego Foundation by the late Matt McLaughlin.

According to Pearson, every dollar donated by a member is valued at two dollars, because of the match by the McLaughlin endowment.

This year’s focus will be outdoor engagement. Since the fiscal year just started, the foundation is open to hearing grant proposals.

Nonprofits that wish to receive grants must write a letter of intent. The board then chooses which nonprofits will write a full proposal.

The board visits the site of the nonprofit and discusses which will move to a vote.

The board then votes to award the grants.

Pearson said there is also a high level of accountability.

“We’re managing our neighbor’s money,” said Pearson. “We want to make sure it’s being used as intended.”

Each organization that receives a grant is reviewed after six months. The organization must discuss how the money was spent. A year after the grant is given foundation board members measure the results with metrics that were agreed upon during the voting process.

The foundation estimates that close to 28,000 people have benefitted from the grants and some have more than once.

Pearson said that people who want to get involved without becoming members are also welcome.

“If someone really want to get involved, we will find them a place to get involved,” said Pearson.