United Way of Santa Barbara County is ecstatic to announce a $120,000 grant from the Errett Fisher Foundation to support the newly-established Santa Ynez Valley site of Fun in the Sun for the next three years!
The grant ensures that United Way has seed funding that will guarantee this additional site through 2018 and beyond to serve dozens of Santa Ynez Valley’s disadvantaged children and families each summer.
During its 11-year partnership with United Way, the Errett Fisher Foundation has invested more than $600,000 in United Way’s educational partnership programs, notably Fun in the Sun (FITS) and United for Literacy (UFL). In fact, the Errett Fisher Foundation has been the single largest donor to United Way’s Fun in the Sun Endowment, which ensures a steady revenue stream for the program in perpetuity.
Thanks to the support of the Errett Fisher Foundation and Fun in the Sun’s other funding partners, United Way was able to expand the FITS program to the Santa Ynez Valley for the first time in FITS history. In 2015, 48 at-risk Santa Ynez children and their families were able to benefit from Fun in the Sun’s academic and enrichment curriculum designed to reduce/reverse summer learning loss and narrow the achievement gap between low-income students and their higher-income peers.
Despite the fact that the site was brand-new, feedback from parents, staff, and partners emphasized that the site felt like it had been running for years. Due to the strong support and investment from staff, partners, students, parents, and funders (especially the Errett Fisher Foundation!), we are proud to announce that the site will continue for Santa Ynez’s most at-risk children and families for the next three years.
Overall, across all sites, participants met and exceeded all six of FITS’s academic and social/emotional target goals at their highest levels to date. Within the reading component alone, 93% of participants maintained or gained literacy skills, instead of losing two to three months of prior learning achievements – the average summer learning loss experienced by low-income children.
These remarkable goals and the unique experiences provided to participating children and families would not be possible without the financial support of FITS’s 22 funding partners. Please join us in thanking the Errett Fisher Foundation for helping the FITS collaborative dramatically improve the lives of more than 1,000 previous FITS participants, as well as the lives of thousands more future FITS participants.