Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

City Names Advisory Board of We Are Santa Monica Fund

Panel includes COO, CEO, RAND Analyst, film executive and social services commissioner

The City of Santa Monica has announced the seven appointees to the newly-formed We Are Santa Monica Fund Board. They include business executives, a RAND analyst and a social services commissioner.

The We Are Santa Monica Fund – a donor advised fund (DAF) – was established last year, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide a pathway for the community to donate emergency goods, services, and monetary funds to aid recovery efforts, city officials said.

The seven-member board will advise the City Manager on various aspects of the Santa Monica Fund, managed by California Community Foundation (CCF).

The board inaugural members include: Jessica Aronoff, Chief Operating Officer, Cayton Children's Museum; Stacey Capoot, Major Gifts Fundraiser, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC); Nancy Coleman, Social Services Commissioner; Ken Grouf, Entrepreneur, CEO of Swoop; Jason Lin, Entertainment and Finance, Story Arch Pictures; Ben Preston, Environmental Scientist and Policy Analyst, RAND Corporation; and Rhoda Weiss, PhD., National Health Care Leader and Consultant.

"Santa Monica is a fortunate City to have so many devoted and highly experienced residents that care deeply about our community and want to be involved," said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg.  "We are eager to work with the advisory board to lay strong foundation for the fund. Santa Monica's future is bright, and public private partnerships is one of the paths towards recovery and ensuring our community can expand support to non-profits that deliver essential services to our community."

City officials said CCF has awarded donations to eligible non-profits and emergency city services in four areas, including: COVID-19 emergency relief for Santa Monica residents; business recovery; "Black Agenda" in Santa Monica; and food pantry at Virginia Avenue Park.

Between November 1 and December 31, 2020, community members contributed $1,153,145 to the Santa Monica Fund, city officials said in a press release. "This impressive coming together of our community to support neighbors in need demonstrates the viability of the We Are Santa Monica Fund as a long-term tool to support the desire of community members to give back locally."  

Among its many duties, the advisory board will also be responsible for the following:

Provide input on allocation of funds to non-profit community partners and community-focused programs and services; Enhance community and donor awareness of the Fund, consistent with fundraising restrictions; and Evaluate whether to transition from a DAF administered through CCF to an independent 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. 

For more information or to donate to the We Are Santa Monica Fund, visit  


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