Funds to Benefit Middle School Arts Academies at Branciforte and Mission Hill

The Santa Cruz Education Foundation announced today the latest in a series of grants from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. The two-year grant will help to fund the after school Arts Academies, treasured enrichment programs at Branciforte Middle School and Mission Hill Middle School. This is the third round of funding for this program from the Packard Foundation, bringing Foundation support to $150,000 over five years.

Students build ukuleles at Branciforte Middle School

Students build ukuleles at Branciforte Middle School

In the weekly afternoon Arts Academy, students are guided by professionals from the community as they explore theater arts, bicycle maintenance, making and playing musical instruments, science experimentation, engineering, dance and more. Students with full academic schedules during the school day appreciate the opportunity for enrichment and exploration building deeper understanding and a lifelong love for learning and the arts.

“We’re privileged to be able to support organizations like SCEF that are having such a significant impact on our youth,” said Jessica Mancini, Program Officer for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

“We are so grateful for the confidence and collaboration shown by David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Their support directly benefits our students and their encouragement has fostered the expansion of our ability to serve our schools,” said Suz Howells, SCEF Executive Director.

The grant also includes funds to support a one-year capacity-building effort to increase SCEF’s ability to support Santa Cruz neighborhood schools and students in a sustained and meaningful way.

About the David and Lucile Packard Foundation

For more than 45 years, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has worked with partners around the world to improve the lives of children, families, and communities—and to restore and protect our planet. The Foundation, through its Local Grantmaking Program, works to make area communities strong and vibrant. Annually, the Foundation’s Local Grantmaking Program supports more than 150 nonprofit leaders and institutions, including those serving Santa Cruz County. For more information about the Foundation, visit