Community Impact Highlight: Puente de la Costa Sur and SV2

In our 2021 Economic Inclusion Grant Round, SV2 selected Puente de la Costa Sur as one of our Grantee Partners. We’re thrilled and honored to be in partnership with Puente. 

Puente fosters wellness and prosperity in the San Mateo County, South Coast communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio by promoting and advocating for equitable access to education, health, and economic security. Puente believes that self-sufficiency of individuals, families, and communities is essential for turning future dreams into reality. 

Puente has consistently listened, deeply engaged with the community, and strengthened trust and relationships. During the pandemic, Puente significantly contributed to a 90% COVID vaccination rate among agriculture workers in the South Coast of San Mateo County. Harsh climate disasters and the traumatic shooting in Half Moon Bay last year led to immediate community needs. Puente successfully responded by creating multiple emotional and financial resources. For example, Puente launched a fundraiser, and over $300,000 was distributed to the community for flood assistance, household assistance, and loss of wages. In addition, around $50,000 was passed on to the shooting victims.

Puente’s ongoing work includes:

  • a trauma-informed approach to reduce health disparities in coastal, rural towns
  • provide accessible, high quality and culturally relevant free mental health services
  • advance early childhood education, family engagement and youth programming
  • provide support with navigating public benefits, case management, free tax preparation assistance, free health coverage enrollment assistance, and other critical services
  • engage community in advocacy and public policy

Some key highlights of Puente’s recent outstanding work, impact, and strong leadership include:

  • Serving 1,900+ households, provided $500,000+ in financial assistance
  • Launching 60+ Connection and Wellbeing Program for Older Adults
  • Farmworkers joined advocacy group in Washington DC to fight for legalization of Farmwork Force Modernization Act
  • Farmworkers are being involved in local community leadership development and attending local government meetings

You can learn about ways to partner with Puente and get involved here.

Soon after SV2 made the grant, Puente selected Cynthia Lang and Kwok Lau (SV2 Partners) to be their Partner Champions during the three-year grant period. Partner Champions advance SV2’s Beyond-the-Dollars approach to listening and supporting our Grantee Partners to achieve their social impact and organizational health goals (beyond our unrestricted funding).

Kwok shared: Puente as an organization has a true understanding of the cultural and political context of its community. Their continued advocacy on behalf of the farm workers and extended community workers is compelling. Rita [Executive Director] took a vocal leadership position in supporting  San Mateo County’s sanctuary ordinance  and brought strong opposition to a proposed amendment.”

Kwok connected Puente with a nonprofit recruiting professional to expand Puente’s Human Resources capacity and hire strong match candidates. Kwok donated these professional services to Puente. When the community needed financial assistance, Cindy outreached to donors and advised Puente on how to steward individual donors. Cindy also volunteered at Puente’s painting, organizing, and cleaning community event. Cindy and Kwok have participated in Puente’s ongoing events such as Fall Harvest and Gathering for Giving. Cindy and Kwok have been such thoughtful and caring Partner Champions and demonstrate the kind of collaborative and impactful relationship SV2 strives to have with our wonderful Grantee Partners!