Amanda Merz January 31, 2023 at 7:45 AM

SAFE's Grants Forge Forces for Good in 2022

I am so grateful to have played a part in bridging so many forces for good on behalf of SAFE Credit Union and our members in 2022!  

Our community sustainability grants awarded in 2022 went to eight exceptional organizations that directly make a difference in the lives of thousands of people living in the Sacramento region.

Altogether we funded a total of $95,000 to programs that reach adults and children experiencing hunger and homelessness as well as many in need of educational and job-training opportunities. The funds supported foster care and disability services, nutrition programs and mental health and housing services.

Combined the grants impacted more than 5,800 people in 2022 and are expected to reach thousands more in 2023.

It’s heartwarming when I hear how our Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services grant will provide food to students this summer who reached out to the nonprofit directly for support.

It is also humbling to know we assisted area veterans with grants to Cyber Proud and Volunteers of America – both who work tirelessly to give our vets, some experiencing homelessness, job and career opportunities.

This past year we also wanted to give our members and the community the opportunity to take part in supporting area nonprofits. We invited the public to vote to determine which two nonprofits would each receive a $5,000 grant from SAFE in December. The top two vote-getters – Cottage Housing and the Construction Industry Education Foundation – each received a grant.

Granting it Forward in 2022

Be sure to read about all of SAFE’s extraordinary grant recipients in 2022:

  • Alchemist Community Development Corporation - SAFE awarded $5,000 to Alchemist CDC’s Community Gardens project to help purchase a solar-powered generator and other supplies to expand its program offerings in Sacramento’s River District and Oak Park. With the grant, Alchemist CDC will be able to educate up to 200 families a year with healthy practices through gardening, education, and cooking lessons.

With the new resources, Alchemist’s Neighborhood Empowerment Manager Joe Robustelli says, “We look forward to holding more workshops and demonstrations on how to prepare the fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables that have been grown in the gardens.”

Read more about the grant here.

  • Construction Industry Education Foundation (CIEF) – Voters in December selected this program to be one of two recipients of a $5,000 grant. CIEF introduces high school students and young adults to careers in the trades, engineering, and construction. The grant will go toward funding CIEF’s annual Design Build Competition that challenges more than 5,000 high school students to learn about all aspects of construction and build a structure testing their craftmanship, teamwork, and perseverance.

Read more about the grant here.

  • Sacramento Cottage Housing Inc. – This is the other nonprofit that voters selected in December to receive a $5,000 in grant funding. Cottage Housing provides programs helping people out of homelessness through counseling, education, setting goals, and building resiliency. The grant will help launch two new classes, including an Independent Living Skills class, in its Skill Development Program introducing 50+ participants to financial literacy, job-seeking skills, parenting, nutrition and more.

Read more about the grant here.

  • Cyber Proud - SAFE awarded $20,000 to Sacramento-based Cyber Proud for funding to provide employee training mentoring for 14 veterans, from El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Yolo counties, seeking careers in information technology. Each connected with their own assigned CEO, as well as industry mentors and an instructional coach to evaluate their career objectives and skills before moving enrolling, at no cost, into Cyber Proud’s in CompTIA CertMaster Training in either A+ or Security+. Ten are set to complete the program in spring 2023 and Cyber Proud will continue to offer ongoing career counseling services and job training and career placement opportunities.

“Our goal is to move individuals from lower-wage jobs to high-demand, high-wage careers,” says Cyber Proud Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Coleen Morehead. 

Read more about the grant here.

  • HOPE Counseling Center – SAFE awarded $20,000 to the HOPE (Healthy Outcomes for Personal Enrichment) Counseling Center to pay for mental health services for those with or recently diagnosed with substantial vision loss. Referred to by Sacramento’s Society for the Blind, up to 20 clients benefitted from weekly therapy sessions ranging from six to 13 weeks at the nonprofit’s Folsom, Midtown Sacramento, and Roseville clinics. The free appointments were the first of their kind provided by both organizations.

“This is a new offering, and we are truly grateful to HOPE Counseling and to SAFE Credit Union for supporting this important work for people living with low vision and blindness,” Society for the Blind Executive Director Shari Roeseler said soon after the grant was awarded by SAFE.

Read more about the grant here.

“When children experience hunger, they are more likely to get sick and are at higher risks of health conditions like anemia and asthma,” says Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services Director of Programs Karen Strach.

Read more about the grant here.

“This grant from SAFE Credit Union will help us meet their emotional needs during this process.” Heintz says. 

Read more about the grant here.

“Our organization is committed to keeping its veteran programs open and to continue serving homeless veterans in our community,” says Volunteers of America Executive Director Leo McFarland. “With funding from SAFE Credit Union, these much-needed ongoing services will continue effectively.”

Read more about the grant here.


Members and employees should take pride in the fact that SAFE annually awards grants in four phases focusing on its three pillars of philanthropy: healthcare, education, and active members of the military and veterans. I know I do!

Learn More

Four times throughout the year, SAFE distributes funding to local nonprofits through our competitive grant process. For the first grant cycle, we accept applications from nonprofits and businesses supporting career training for veterans usually through to mid-February. For more information on funding availability, application deadline information, and to download SAFE’s grant application, please visit here.


Amanda Merz

Amanda is the Community Impact Manager for SAFE and is responsible for ensuring that the organization’s mission to give back is fully realized.