The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said that $60,000 will be awarded to community organizations and groups to aid local disadvantaged youth of color.

The grant money will be used to invest in the education and future of children in Santa Clara County, according to District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

“The children of Santa Clara County should know that diversity is our superpower and that they are our heroes,” Rosen said in a press release announcing the grant on June 3.

The money will be directed toward various community organizations like the African American Community Service Agency, an African American cultural center based in San Jose. Additionally, the grant will enable students of William C. Overfelt High School to tour UC Davis and Sacramento State. 

Prosecutors say the grant money has been sourced from the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture Fund, “money seized from gangs, drug traffickers, and criminal organizations.” The DA’s office says that this reinvestment process will address some of the pain and harm for the affected communities and individuals caused by these criminal operations.

One of the community groups being awarded, International Children Assistance Network (ICAN) focuses on serving the Vietnamese-American community in Santa Clara County.

According to Jane Nguyen-Cady, the operations and development manager at ICAN, the organization will be using the grant money to train students to understand data disaggregation, the act of collecting and analyzing data on specific subgroups like race and ethnicity. ICAN also aims to instruct them on how to request information through the California Public Records Act and Freedom of Information Act. 

“We’re really happy that we received this grant,” Nguyen-Cady said. “This project is going to benefit Santa Clara County. Without data disaggregation we won’t be able to service the needs of the community how they see fit.”

Another community organization, Empower and Excel, will be using their awarded money to run STEM workshops for low-income communities in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. 

“The grant, even if it’s small, helps us a lot to keep our summer program going,” executive director Ayesha Charagulla said. “[For] students from low-income communities, it encourages them to understand how science works and the value of STEM.”

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