GREENFIELD — Greenfield Community Science Workshop has received a $100,000 grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation that will allow the city program to continue offering free hands-on science activities for local youth and families.
The grant, awarded in December, is the Packard Foundation’s fourth contribution to the workshop, bringing its total investment to more than $400,000 since the program’s inception in 2011.
“The Packard Foundation has been a supporter of the Greenfield Community Science Workshop from the very beginning,” said Jose Sanchez, program coordinator for the workshop. “All-in-all, they have now invested $400,000 in our youth here in South Monterey County.”
The grant will be used to partially support three of the Science Workshop’s main programs: the Drop-In Program, which gives access to a community-oriented science learning space in downtown Greenfield for local youth and residents; the South Monterey County Mobile Science Workshop Program, which offers hands-on science learning opportunities year-round to youth in King City, San Ardo and San Lucas; and the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Enrichment Program, which provides activities that promote STEM concepts to students enrolled in the After School Education and Safety Program.
“Altogether, this grant will benefit around 12,000 local children annually,” Sanchez said.
Funds received from the Packard Foundation have been instrumental in shaping the Greenfield Community Science Workshop’s making and building space at 45 El Camino Real in downtown Greenfield.
A significant amount of tools and science exhibits purchased with a $10,000 “start-up” grant from the organization in 2011 can still be found today.
“This support was incredibly valuable in that it allowed the Greenfield Community Science Workshop to show to local community leaders and stakeholders the type of programming it was attempting to bring to the region,” Sanchez explained. “Only then was the workshop able to gain the support and trust that allowed the organization to grow and flourish.”
In 2015, the Packard Foundation provided funding that made it possible for the workshop to buy two passenger vehicles, which allowed the program to begin offering field trips to local wilderness and natural areas for youth to explore and connect to the outdoors. Common destinations include the Arroyo Seco, the Big Sur coast, Pinnacles National Park, Monterey Bay beaches, the Sierra National Forest and various state parks.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation was founded in 1964 as an effort to address society’s biggest needs, including climate change, ocean and land conservation, reproductive health and rights, small farmers, sustainable agriculture and health and early learning opportunities for children. Through its local grants program, the Foundation aims to empower local organizations and leaders who are committed to eradicating community challenges that prohibit children and families from fully realizing their full potential.