Encinitas, Mizel Foundation grants help support a variety of local organizations


Tucked in among the list of 47 recipients of the 2014 City of Encinitas and Mizel Foundation Community Grant Program is a new program — Ballet Folklorico de San Dieguito.

The Bayside Community Center will use part of its $2,500 grant for scholarships to fund the program, which will begin in September at Ocean Knoll School. Nadia Arumbula, who directed a performance of a similar group at the Encinitas Arts Festival, applied for the grant after City Arts Administrator Jim Gilliam suggested it.

Ballet Folklorico is just one of the varied programs approved by the Encinitas City Council last month. They cross all spectrums of the community, from arts and music to civic events and programs for targeted populations. The funds are allocated by the council, but only after an evaluation committee of five residents spends an entire day reviewing and ranking the proposals. On July 8, the recipients met for a workshop and to get their contracts.

“The generous donation by the Mizel Family Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations that are committed to improving quality of life in our community and building a more vibrant Encinitas,” said Mayor Kristin Gaspar via email.

The foundation began contributing in 2007, providing a 1:1 match that enables the city to double the amount available, Gilliam said, noting that the family prefers to remain low-key about its role in helping the community.

In all, the programs will receive $150,000 for the coming year — the same as the past two years, he said, adding that he knows of only two cities in the county with larger grant programs, Coronado and San Diego.

The number of programs funded is up by five over the 2013 program, and two fewer programs were not granted any funds — 15 of the 62 applicants. Six of the applicants received 100 percent of their requests, a drop from 13 in 2013.

Thirty-one percent of the grants are going to K-12 programs during school or after school. Twenty-four civic category grants make up $80,599 of the total, up from 18 a year ago, and 23 arts groups are receiving a total of $69,401, down from 24.

Two programs target children with autism, which he said represents a small number of people, but a population with significant needs. Banding Together will receive $2,500 for its program called “Jam Sessions: Music Therapy Inclusion Program for Individuals with Special Needs.”

The other, Positive Action Community Theatre, is getting $3,200 for its ”Goldmine Inclusive Performing Arts Workshops for Individuals with Unique Needs.”

The largest amount granted was $5,000, with six at that amount for the Community Resource Center’s Holiday Baskets program; Encinitas CERT Disaster Preparedness and Training Program; Leucadia-Encinitas Town Council’s Encinitas Environment Day; Los Angelitos de Encinitas to cover participation for 200 low-income youth in the Community Soccer Program; San Dieguito Academy Foundation for its Encinitas Arts Festival; and the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy for its Family Discovery Days.

Gilliam said the city has tried to back groups that enable residents to find high-quality cultural events at home without driving south. One example he cited was the international music festival presented by the iPalpiti Artists International Inc. The festival, which was held from July 10-13 this year, brings an array of classical performances to the city. (The festival continues at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 20, at Soka Performing Arts Center with a performance by the iPalpiti Orchestra;

The impact is reflected in a note from Laura Schmieder, director of iPalpiti, who wrote, “It was a remarkable experience … particularly seeing the pride among audience members after last year’s performances. They left the concert in awe, saying ‘We don’t have to go to La Jolla anymore. We have our own festival with such great international musicians here in Encinitas.’”