After a decade of philanthropic work on the Monterey Peninsula and beyond, the Franklin Legacy Fund (FLF) is closing it doors. Numerous nonprofits and individuals have benefited from the financial support and expertise provided by the Franklin Legacy Fund, which was founded in 2014 by the late Susie Franklin, whose commitment to philanthropy was instilled in her at an early age by her father, businessman Henry Baron. Despite decades of battling Parkinson’s Disease, Susie was unstoppable, making plans to help those less fortunate up to her last day on Earth. Through her tireless support of local nonprofits, both financially and by sharing her considerable wisdom and expertise, Susie left a lasting mark on our community that will endure long beyond the tenure of the Franklin Legacy Fund.
Among the many groups that have received grants and/or guidance: The Kitchen Sisters, YWCA, Sun Street Centers, Kearns Pool, Power Over Parkinson’s, Action Council, SpectorDance, Restorative Justice, Girl STEM Stars, Dress for Success, Gathering for Women, Global Purpose Group, Voices of Monterey Bay, KSBW, California State University Monterey Bay, MEarth and others.
Susie was particularly proud of an innovative program she developed called the Sustainability Initiative, in which selected nonprofits received funding and guidance over a three-year period. The designated nonprofit was provided a team of Capstone students from the CSUMB School of Business that conducted a thorough review of their operations, particularly their funding model, and then offered recommendations to revitalize practices and ensure sustainability. It was a win-win undertaking for both the soon-to-graduate students, giving them real-world experience, and for the organizations we helped.
Franklin Legacy Fund 2.0 Since Susie’s death in July of 2021, the Franklin Legacy Fund has focused on helping unsheltered children and youth in Monterey County, where 11,734 public school students have been identified as homeless.
FLF helped found a broad-based grassroots organization called Housing for Kids (H4K) that is dedicated to ending student homelessness.
Housing for Kids was a part of this year’s Monterey County Gives annual fundraising campaign and received nearly $50,000 in donations, a remarkable accomplishment for a new organization that was relatively unknown. Our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who donated. We’re so pleased that even as the Franklin Legacy Fund comes to an end, Housing for Kids will continue its mission.
Housing for Kids has a multi-pronged approach that includes paying upfront costs – first and last months’ rent, deposit and fees – to get homeless families with students into housing now. H4K is also conducting a public awareness campaign, talking to service organizations and other groups about this issue and its root, which in our county is insufficient and expensive housing. And it is supporting local nonprofits that work in the homelessness field. The big idea is to buy and renovate houses or buildings to add to the supply of affordable housing.
"HOMELESS HEROS" ETHNOGRAPHIC FILM
The Franklin Legacy Fund, with a grant from the Arts Council of Monterey County, created a film on “Homeless Heroes,” directed and produced by Ethnographic Filmmaker Maren Elwood (also known as the Franklin Legacy Fund Digital Diva). The film focuses on women and their “hero’s journey,” navigating the treacherous waters of homelessness – figuring out the maze of nonprofit and governmental agencies that are doing their best to support this population – and successfully regaining a stable place to live and again being contributing members of society.
By highlighting how women have stepped up to the challenge, this film will contribute to the public’s overall understanding about who is homeless, the challenges faced by those who have lost their housing and the root causes. We hope with this film will help change and broaden attitudes about the unhoused, particularly women and mothers.
Franklin Legacy Fund put on a daylong retreat entitled “Reconnect, Revitalize and Re-Envision” for nonprofit leaders in the homelessness sector, an extremely challenging field that can easily lead to burnout. At the retreat, which was also funded by the Arts Council, we offered a variety of techniques and practices designed to help these dedicated executives manage stress and access alternative forms of intelligence for problem solving using art, creativity and contemplative practices.