Solana Beach Fund awards $16,000 in grants to five local organizations

By Kristina Houck

Five local organizations received more than $16,000 in grants during the inaugural Solana Beach Fund Grant Ceremony June 26 at Fletcher Cove Community Center.

After raising $18,000 since launching in the fall, members of the newly created Solana Beach Fund, which is part of the Coastal Community Foundation, divided donations among the Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito, Casa de Amistad, La Colonia de Eden Gardens, North Coast Repertory Theatre and San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy.

“Without the Solana Beach Fund and the Coastal Community Foundation, this would not be possible,” said San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, who presented each of the grant recipients with a certificate of recognition. “This is what community foundations do. This is how you build communities.”

The Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito received a $2,000 grant to support its after-school and teen mentoring program at the La Colonia Branch, which serves 63 elementary school children and 43 teens each week in Solana Beach’s Eden Gardens community.

Casa de Amistad received a $5,000 grant to support its science, technology, engineering and math program for low-income children. The grant will help the organization purchase books and send children on field trips to the Birch Aquarium and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, said Program Director Nicole Mione-Green.

“You are creating a strong foundation for these kids, so thank you very much,” Mione-Green said during the ceremony.

La Colonia de Eden Gardens Foundation received a $2,531 grant so residents can further develop the community garden off Genevieve Street and Ida Avenue.

“This garden brought the community together, all the way from the coast to the east side of Solana beach, and up and down the corridor here in the coastal area,” said Manny Aguilar, president and board chairman of the foundation. He noted that the improvements of Eden Gardens would not be possible without collaboration with the city and local organizations.

“This community’s getting better and that’s because of you guys,” he said. “We thank you for that.”

North Coast Repertory Theatre received a $5,000 grant to support “The Miracle Worker” production, which school groups and the greater public will see when it runs Nov. 20-23.

Lastly, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy received a $1,500 grant to support its Citizens Restoring Coastal Habitat program, which teaches volunteers about native habitat and restoration.

The Solana Beach Fund was launched in the fall, a project spearheaded by 17-year resident Laura Fleming. She and other founding members held focus groups to learn whether there was enough interest in creating a fund to support programs and projects that benefit the community.

In less than a year, locals donated about $18,000 toward the fund.

In January, the foundation encouraged organizations to apply for a grant from the fund. By the end of March, 16 local and regional organizations submitted applications.

The Solana Beach Fund Grants Committee was formed to sort through the applications, giving preference to organizations with budgets less than $2 million. The 10-member committee narrowed the field to seven applications and visited five sites before members made their final decisions.

“It’s hard to be the first at something,” Fleming said at the start of the ceremony. “I want to thank all of you for diving in. Thanks for having faith in this idea.”

For more information about the Solana Beach Fund and to donate, visit