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A Message from the CEO

We’re more resilient when we work together. Our agency’s impact report this year demonstrates our collective power. Working side-by-side in community builds trust and creates thriving relationships that heal and transform. I’m excited to share now the results of our efforts in partnership with you.  

The stories and data presented here reflect some of the notable work done over the course of our most recent fiscal year (July 2019 – June 2020). During this time, the world changed. The COVID-19 pandemic brought crisis to not only our community, but also to communities across the nation and around the globe. Although we were not alone in our suffering and anxiety, many were uniquely impacted. Our Latino community, for example, was especially hit hard with disparate health and economic repercussions. Our Black community too demanded change as glaring injustices enlivened a strengthened movement in response to systemic racism. Peaceful protests covered every corner of our planet to say that Black Lives Matter in the wake of racially motivated violence and police brutality.  

Through it all—and even as the work to topple white supremacy continues in this moment—our community’s elevated voices from the grassroots to notable positions of power across the county are speaking out and rising up to be heard. The double helix of racial and economic justice will only spiral into equity and pathways out of poverty if we commit to doing the hard work. This report is a first step in marking the way forward for our agency in deep partnership across community because we will not be successful without the strength of us all.  

As you read, I invite you to explore our accomplishments knowing that there are tears, sweat, and profound gratitude behind every graph, every vignette. Join us online at www.camarin.org/impact2020 for a more in-depth look at the people and work of creating change.  

If you’re capable of giving, consider making a gift to our Step Up Community Fund. You are a partner in making impact possible.  

And if you’re ever in need, call us—we’re in your corner.

Chandra Alexandre
Chief Executive Officer

“We here at MCF can confidently rely on the trust Community Action Marin has established with so many individuals and families.  In these tumultuous and conflicting times, nurturing the basic level of trust that your clients can place in you and your team is an ephemeral but essential feature for extending assistance. All of us here at MCF are enormously grateful for [your] efforts.”

Thomas Peters, Ph.D.
President & CEO,
Marin Community Foundation

   SAFETY NET

Our safety net programs work to meet emergency needs. These efforts kicked into overdrive as the pandemic deepened and many families and individuals confronted  extreme hardship. Low-wage workers here were some of the hardest hit in the nation, with employment rates down approximately 30%.1 In the face of rising need and inequity, we delivered unprecedented amounts of cash, rental assistance, and other resources to help those facing crisis find stability and hope.

SAFETY NET
Cash Assistance

$K

$375,000 provided in direct cash assistance to approximately 750 families and individuals

SAFETY NET
Rental Assistance

$M

$1.3 million provided in rental assistance to approximately 500 families and individuals

SAFETY NET
LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program)

$K

$310,000 provided in energy assistance to over 660 families and individuals

*Cash, rental and LIHEAP assistance provided through June 30th.

I have no words to thank you for your kindness. Thank you for your generous help with our rent during this rough time in my life. My daughter and I are so touched by your help and support. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.” 

                — Alicia V.

SAFETY NET
Homeless Outreach

Homeless individuals received support from our Community Alternative Response & Engagement (CARE) homeless outreach teams, who often serve as the first point of contact for people experiencing homelessness, providing resources, spearheading COVID response and reducing the need for contact with law enforcement. For every homeless individual who gets housed, system costs are reduced by approximately $35,000.  

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Daily contacts between CARE teams and people experiencing homelessness 

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D. was homeless in West Marin when the COVID-19 shelter-in-place directive went into effect. Aged 68, he has several health issues and early signs of dementia or Alzheimers disease. The CARE Team coordinated with community partners to secure a room for him at the Tomales Bay Resort and negotiated a reduced rate with the hotel management so that he could remain at the hotel using his social security income. The CARE Team also coordinated with the Coastal Health Alliance to ensure that he was receiving medical care and regularly delivered food from the Pantry at West Marin Community Services. These efforts resulted in D. having better health outcomes and a safe place to stay while traditional shelters were not accepting new residents.

STAFF SPOTLIGHT
“I grew up on the Canal so I see myself in the families I’m helping now—it could be my mom, I’ve been in their shoes, in that very apartment complex. So I know what it means to say to someone, ‘I understand you.’ That can be everything to them.”

  — Melissa Medina-Sanchez

  CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES

Our Children & Family Services team offers a variety of programs to help children, their parents, and other family members reach their full potential. Our partnerships in community support families with childcare, home-based care, health and nutrition, and other necessary supports.

CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES
Center-Based Early Care & Education

Our early learning center-based programs provide high-quality education, health and social support to over 500 children and their families. While many in-person programs closed in the spring, we continued providing services and were still able to gauge both child educational progress and how we were meeting the needs of parents and families.

In our Head Start and Child Development pre-school programs, over the course of the year, cognitive, literacy and social and emotional skills showed marked growth over the year:

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Share of students exceeding expectations in Cognitive increased 6x year over year

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Share of students  exceeding expectations in Literacy increased 4x over the course of the year

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Share of students exceeding expectations in Social and Emotional increased 2.5x year over year

An explicit goal of our programs is not just child progress, but providing families the tools and resources that they seek to support their child and their own development. Our parent survey shows that the percent of families reporting that their needs have been met has skyrocketed since becoming involved with our programs.

Percent of parents reporting needs met in:

Support Network and Community Engagement

Fall
%
Spring
%

In-Home learning Activities

Fall
%
Spring
%

Parent and Child Development

Fall
%
Spring
%

In an effort to improve family experiences and outcomes, as well as our own operational efficiencies, This year the agency will transition from operating two distinct programs, federally-funded Head Start and the state-funded Child Development Program, to a unified program. We look forward to sharing the results of that effort in the years to come!

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Parent Story

As a parent, I am so thankful to this program. It has given me the opportunity to pursue my education and career. They have taken such good care of my son and given me the chance to earn a degree in Medical Assisting. I never would have been able to pursue this career goal it weren’t for Community Action Marin.

        — Bertha M.

Our Central Kitchen and Organic Production Farm provide tasty and nutritious meals that are fresh, seasonal, and culturally-appropriate. The farm is used as a classroom for children in our programs and the kitchen is used by other community businesses and non-profits.

CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES
Organic Production Farm

Last October, we broke ground on our production farm at Old Gallinas Children’s Center. It provides year-round organic produce for children and families, supplies our Central Kitchen, and serves as a hands-on STEM learning classroom for children.

Research shows that involving children in school gardening programs may do more than cultivate a green thumb. Communities with production farms consumed 21% less soda, and children who have gardens at school are four times more active than those without a garden and more willing to try new food.

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Feeding over 900 families daily

32K pounds of food distributed in June 2020

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This fall, Community Action Marin staff kicked off a series of physically-distanced food and garden classes in the outdoor classroom at Old Gallinas Farm. The focus of the first series is drinking water and includes a bilingual puppet show with Potter the Healthy Otter and His Friends, a Rethink Your Drink-themed counting and shape matching game, an introductory tour through the Hoop House and Garden Beds, and a recipe project for a refreshing flavored water using produce from the farm.

Staff member Leah Walton said that one of her favorite parts of the class (aside from watching students engaged during the puppet show) is to see the children use their senses to experience new foods and their language skills to describe the color, texture, smell, and taste of the foods. The children tasted old favorites like cucumber and raspberries, and they also tried some foods that were potentially new like basil, sorrel, and pineapple tomatillos. And, what was the students’ consensus for the flavored water recipe? Thumbs up!

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  ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

Economic opportunity programs provide workforce development and financial coaching to help individuals and families achieve their goals and move towards economic stability and prosperity. As finances tighten and people look for work, these services have never been more important.

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Sparkpoint

Through our Sparkpoint programming, we offer one-on-one financial coaching which clients attend over a period of at least six months. We help participants not only to identify their goals, but to realize them. Our coaches assist clients with budgeting, making savings plans to start new businesses, and guidance to build better credit scores—helping clients powerfully gain control of their money. This past year we served 262 clients in Sparkpoint.

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Savings, credit or debt improved by 30% or more

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Achieved 75% self-sufficient income, 2 weeks of savings or 600 credit score

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Achieved 100% self-sufficient income 3 months of savings 700 credit score or no revolving debt

I’ve been able to stick to my plan and I’m proud to say that I now own a car and I’ve paid off all of my credit card debt! The best information I got was through my coach’s advice and connections to all the free community resources available to me that I didn’t know existed before. Thank you, Community Action Marin! 

         — Marsha, single 35-year-old mother of two

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

Every year during tax season, we provide assistance with tax preparation, in particular ensuring that families are able to claim relevant credits and deductions to reduce their tax burdens. While COVID-19 forced us to end the service five weeks early, we were still able to return over $200,000 to more than 110 families, with our highest-ever average return of $1,892. The plot below shows how each year our program returns more to families who participate.

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Despite challenges presented by COVID-19, Community Action Marin was still able to deliver excellent service to the community with the highest average returns ever.

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96% of clients rated the tax preparation services they received from Community Action Marin 10/10

   MENTAL HEALTH

We provide services free of charge to those with mental health needs as well as their family members and friends. Many services are delivered by trained Peer Support Specialists who have lived through their own experiences with mental health challenges, and so they’re able to relate to people at their most vulnerable moments. Especially in this time of high stress, we seek to provide community members with an atmosphere of warmth and caring whenever they should need it.

MENTAL HEALTH
ERC and Warmline

The Enterprise Recovery Center (ERC) is our drop-in peer support center, which maintained high levels of attendance prior to the pandemic-induced closure. During the closure, we offered additional online office hours and augmented our Warmline, a call-in service where trained Peer Support Specialists are available by phone for anyone who feels the need to talk. We now offer extended hours and Spanish availability. The thousands of calls we received to the Warmline, and visits to the ERC before closure, demonstrate the level of trust the community has in our peer-offered, compassionate mental health services.

Similar peer-supported programs have helped reduce hospital visits by 50%. For every avoided hospital visit, approximately $3,000 is saved by individuals, families, and the community.

Over 7K visits to the Enterprise Recovery Center in the past year

Calls to the Warmline
(English and Spanish)

Clients receiving Youth Mentor services

Clients receiving Family Partner services

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A Family Reunited

Our Family Partners program assists those who struggle with mental health and helps their family members navigate supportive programs. Our family partners go above and beyond to provide services to help the whole family connect to resources and improve their well-being. One mother who worked with a family partner not only received help navigating mental health resources for one of her daughters, but the family partner was also able to help the mother bring her other daughter, who was born in the US, to Marin from Mexico. She called a border patrol agent and discovered that the daughter would be allowed back into the US if someone was at the border to greet her and take her under their care. She assisted the mother in setting this up. A relative of the family met her at the border and she is now reunited with her mother.

Gracias por la ayuda, es un gran alivió para nosotros en estos momentos. E tratado de buscar ayuda en otros lados pero no he tenido éxito. Que Dios lo bendiga.

Thanks for the help, it is a great relief for us right now. I have tried to look for help elsewhere but I have been unsuccessful. May God bless you. 

  — Roxana R.

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We’ve served over 2.5 million meals

20K individuals are touched by our programs each year

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Met 100% of rigorous and wide-ranging federal standards on organizational health

Recognition as a California Nonprofit of the Year comes at a time when Community Action Marin has been working hard alongside our community family to avert crisis and strengthen our resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inequities it has revealed. 

  — Chandra Alexandre, CEO

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children have graduated from our high-quality early education programs ready for school and life success.

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children have graduated from our high-quality early education programs ready for school and life success.

Get the 2020 Impact Report Now