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Main Street Scholars is among the local nonprofits that raised more than they expected in the recent Coastside Gives campaign. Photo courtesy Main Street Scholars

Main Street Scholars received more than $10,000 through the one-day fundraiser known as Coastside Gives, surpassing its goal by 25 percent. Jamie Weintraub, the organization’s CEO, said the funds will help Main Street Scholars stay in business and provide scholarships to more students.

“In the last 10 days, I’ve heard from parents I’ve never heard from before,” Weintraub said. “They’re concerned about the loss of the two months now, and how that’s going to carry forward.”

Weintraub and Laurie Stein, a volunteer marketing and communications manager for Main Street Scholars, explained that with the education system in flux right now and so much unknown about how students will attend school in the fall, the nonprofit’s ability to tailor curriculum and provide continued support for students could make a big difference as online learning continues.

The fundraising success and challenges that lie ahead for Main Street Scholars are emblematic of nonprofits across the coast since the May 7 fundraiser that shattered previous records for giving. In a non-pandemic year, the event provided much-needed support to dozens of local nonprofits. This year, according to the Coastside Gives website, the event raised $1,076,254 for 52 local nonprofits.

Some organizations are putting their funds to use right away.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Coastside raised $30,000, far surpassing its goal of $20,000. Jill Jacobson, the club’s executive director, said the majority of those funds will go toward Cunha Intermediate School sports. The club announced it would organize and run the school’s sports teams for the 2020-21 school year after the Cabrillo Unified School District cut sports funding.

“I’m really happy to have been a part of Coastside Gives and to see so many people in our community seem so concerned about kids,” Jacobson said.

Thanks to a few matching donations, Puente de la Costa Sur and Coastside Hope did better through Coastside Gives than even its own staff anticipated. Puente reached $250,000 by the day’s end. Puente’s fundraising team, spearheaded by Executive Director Rita Mancera, recognized ahead of time that donors may be under financial pressure and not able to contribute much, if at all. So they lowered their initial goal from $250,000 to $100,000.

“I had already told my team we weren’t going to reach the goal and not to worry,” Mancera recalled. “I told them not to worry, this is a very different year. We’re going to do everything we can, but our community is in a very different situation.”

Mancera said that while there were far fewer individuals giving smaller amounts between $20 to $50, her organization benefited from key contributions made by a few generous donors who matched the $60,000 raised online.

The different circumstances surrounding the fundraiser called for different actions among the nonprofits. Ayudando Latinos a Soñar met its goal of $17,000 during the donation period. But as ALAS founder and director Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga explained, that target was set before the pandemic complicated everyday life on the Coastside.

“Obviously, (COVID-19) has increased our need tremendously,” she said. “We need an increase in case management because there are more families to follow and in our monthly outreach support.”

The money Puente generated from Coastside Gives will go beyond its youth programs, which in previous years has used funds for academic support and paid internships. The donations will be dispersed between Puente’s COVID-19 Public Health Resource Fund, scholarships for students of Pescadero High School’s class of 2020 and general operations costs. Puente’s COVID-19 relief fund is designated for Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar and San Gregorio residents. It gives between $500 to $1,000 per household to assist families who need to pay rent, buy groceries or pay student tuitions.

Coastside Hope received $90,000 and plans to use it for rent assistance, which it expects will still be an issue even when shelter-in-place orders are lifted.

“It’s an ever-changing world we’re dealing with right now,” said Executive Director Judith Guerrero. “The ability to have those funds at hand gives us flexibility on how to assist the needs of our clients.”

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