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Bank of the Sierra announces $3 million Sierra Grant donation milestone 

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The Bank of Sierra branch in Paso Robles is located at 1207 Spring St.

Grant program provides funding to 15 nonprofits along the Central Coast and Southern California

– Bank of the Sierra announced this week that it has donated more than $3 million to nonprofits in its communities through its Sierra Grant program. Since the program’s inception in 2004, over 1,500 grants have been awarded. Bank of the Sierra awards $1,000-$5,000 grants to 15-30 nonprofit organizations each quarter as part of the program. Nonprofits who wish to apply for a Sierra Grant can pick up an instructional brochure at any Bank of the Sierra branch or visit the bank’s website at BankoftheSierra.com/SierraGrant.

More than $98,000 were given to 15 nonprofits in the bank’s Central Coast and Southern California markets in mid-2021 through the Sierra Grant Program. The bank will continue to prioritize Sierra Grant funding to nonprofit organizations that are fighting or have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall in mid-2021, Bank of the Sierra awarded more than $310,000 to nonprofits in the seven counties it serves.

A Sierra Grant was awarded to Ventura County Community Development Corporation (VCCDC), which has aided underserved communities in its region for 20 years. VCCDC was initially unable to provide in-person services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but quickly made its programs available online, including coaching, education, financial assessment, and lending services.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast (BCGMCC) will use its Sierra Grant to offset additional staffing and programming costs caused by opening virtual school sites during the pandemic. These distance learning centers are needed by students in Santa Barbara County who cannot attend class in person and do not have adequate online access at home. BCGMCC also provides free breakfast and lunch to students at their sites.

A Sierra Grant will help patients affected by COVID-19, thanks to the SLO Noor Foundation. The grant will offset the costs of patient services at SLO Noor Health Clinics, including clinical support staff, clinical supplies, and laboratory and radiology diagnostics. The foundation estimates that 1,400 patients will benefit from the additional funding.

In part thanks to a Sierra Grant, United Way of Ventura County will support free tax preparation for low- to moderate-income individuals and small businesses through the IRS VITA program. These people and companies might otherwise be unable to pay for tax preparation services, or even online tax software.

Mission Community Services Corporation will use its Sierra Grant to provide San Luis Obispo County small businesses with COVID-19 recovery assistance, financial literacy, and self-employment training classes. The organization also offers ongoing workshops on timely business topics, and consulting with an emphasis on women, minorities, and low-income and rural business owners.

A Sierra Grant will support school and summer programs from the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley. These programs benefit a primarily underserved minority population, and many of the program’s members are currently one year or more below grade level due to pandemic-related challenges. While implementing social distancing, mask-wearing, and other safety measures due to COVID-19, the club continues to offer its after-school STEM Academy programming which includes agriculture, coding, robotics, and more.

“These wonderful organizations have supported to our communities for several years,” said Kevin McPhaill, Bank of the Sierra president and Chief Executive Officer. “We’re thrilled that Sierra Grant Program donations have reached the three-million-dollar mark and we’ll continue to help these organizations make a difference!”

The Paso Robles branch of Bank of the Sierra is located at 1207 Spring St.

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The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.