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Story of
Rise Together

Photo Credit: Inspira Photography

Rise Together Santa Cruz County

Video by Inspira Studios

The first Rise Together gathering was held in the summer of 2020 amidst the national uprisings against anti-Black police violence and as gaping systemic health, economic, and social inequities killed tens of thousands of people of color disproportionately from COVID-19.
The Community Foundation brought together 17 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Leaders to support their work in continuing to advance racial equity locally. Rise Together includes community organizers, social justice and arts leaders, indigenous cultural practitioners, city officials, social workers, healthcare professionals, youth mentors, funders, immigrant advocates, and educators. Some members had deep existing relationships with each other, some were meeting for the first time, and all have worked relentlessly for racial equity.
You can read more about all our members here.

Together we are building our collective and ongoing story.

Our work is rooted in our relationships. We meet regularly to continuously learn from each other, provide support and energy, and celebrate wins when they happen. Building this trusted and collaborative circle is fundamental in our work. 

Founding members identified our shared purpose and goals for racial equity in Santa Cruz County. In 2021, Rise Together focused on three actions towards our goals: amplify our stories; redesign a grantmaking process and fund grants for racial equity; and increase investment in racial equity locally. Read about our goals and actions here.


Each year the Rise Together coalition will grow its members and work. Founding members nominated and voted on 11 new leaders of color to join Rise Together in 2022. 


Our 2022/2023 cohort includes leaders  from more diverse backgrounds, experiences, and skills we believe will strengthen our coalition. New members are working in journalism, recreation, libraries, the environment, public health, law, social justice, healing, and music. We will continue to work toward our goals with each year's group defining specific actions to take together to advance our goals.

Help grow our circle to build a more equitable Santa Cruz County


If you are a Black, Indigenous, Person of Color leader in Santa Cruz County and want to be a Rise Together member, let us know. We intend to expand the circle in 2024.

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