Welcome to The Virginia and Alfred Harrell Foundation website. The Foundation has a long tradition of giving back to Kern County through funding grants to a variety of local nonprofits.

*Please Note:
The Virginia and Alfred Harrell Foundation was formerly known as The Bakersfield Californian Foundation. Only the Foundation's name has changed — the Foundation's Board of Directors, its mission and goals, and the entity itself, remain the same.

Foundation's Fall Grant Winners Announced 

Inspired by all the exciting projects in this year's Fall Grant Cycle, the Foundation Board decided to award three $25,000 grant awards, two $50,000 grant awards, and two $100,000 grant awards, for a grand total of $375,000 donated this Fall Cycle.

We would like to again thank all the local nonprofits that applied for this unique two-part grant funding cycle. Kern County is fortunate to have so many dedicated organizations working on its behalf.

•$25,000 Grant Award Winners & the projects that will be funded:

1) Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporation: Project to Significantly Reduce Trash Out of Place in Downtown Bakersfield
2) Rebuilding Together Kern County: Rebuilding the Carnation Neighborhood
3) United Way of Kern County: Book of the Month Club


•$50,000 Grant Award Winners & the projects that will be funded:

1) Garden Pathways: Garden Pathways Hope Village Project
2) Recycling Lives: Recycling Lives Glass Pulverizer Purchase to Create Local Industry & Paid Job Skills Development 

•$100,000 Grant Award Winners & the projects that will be funded:

1) Mercy Foundation-Bakersfield dba Friends of Mercy Foundation: Advancing Women’s Health in Kern County
2) Tree Foundation of Kern: Bakersfield Beautification Project 


Foundation's 2017 Non-Cycle Grants

Along with our Spring and Fall grant cycles, the Foundation also awards non-cycle grants to Kern County nonprofits throughout the year. Non-cycle grants are usually focused on either literacy, education, animal welfare or cultural or environmental improvement. So far this year, the Foundation has awarded $76,377 in support of a variety of projects.

Below, is a breakdown of these grant awards:

•$3,500 to California City Animal Outreach Foundation, to fund the replacement of a roll up door.

•$12,000 to DonorsChoose, continuing our partnership with them, which allows the Foundation to fund Pre-K to 2nd grade literacy-based classroom projects in Kern County schools.

•$4,000 to Keepers of the Kern. Inc., for their Making a Difference on the Wild and Scenic Kern River project.

•$7,000 to the Kern Agriculture Foundation, for seven, $1,000 scholarships.

•$5,000 to the Tehachapi Community Orchestra Foundation, to help fund their World Premiere of New Work Concert.

•$10,500 to the Kern County Museum, toward their Kern County Museum Archive Preservation Project.

•$11,877 to The Salvation Army, Service Extension Mojave, to help fund the Mojave East Kern Outreach program.

•$5,000 to St. Vincent de Paul, St Malachy Conference, Tehachapi, for general funding.

•$5,000 to California State Old-Time Fiddlers Association, District 3, to help sponsor the 41st Annual “Fiddlin’ Down the Tracks” Fiddle Contest.

•$7,500 to the California Native Plant Society and their Important Plant Areas of Kern County project. These funds were part of a matching grant, which the organization successfully met.

•$5,000 to Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation, to help fund the Kern River Valley Snip & Tip TNR program.


Grant Awards for 2017 Spring Cycle Announced

For its Spring Grant Cycle, focused on animal welfare causes and summer literacy programs, the Foundation awarded 21 Kern County non-profits a variety of grants, for a total donated amount of $249,472.

Listed below are the organizations awarded funding, the amount each received, and the projects that will be funded.

• All The King's Horses of Robison Ranch: $8,000, toward the purchase of equipment and equine medicine for their horse rescue operation.

• Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry: $5,000 to fund their Pet Collar, Leash and ID Tag Project II, a continuation of their program of giving away pet ID tags, collars, and leashes to struggling pet owners.

• Bakersfield Police Activities League: $10,000, to help fund the Safe Haven Program, which offers education, guidance, and life-skills to at-risk youth.

• Bakersfield SPCA: $25,000 toward the creation of The Cat's Meow Outdoor Habitat, an outdoor cat habitat that will allow cats and potential adopters to interact.

• Bit-O-Heaven Ranch Inc: $18,500, to design, construct, and fill a new Hay Barn.

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County: $15,751, to help fund their Summer Brain Gain: Read! program, a summer reading program aimed at preventing summer learning loss.

• Christmas for Seniors of Kern County Inc: $5,000 for the Animals and Senior Bed and Blanket Blessings project, which will help purchase materials for low-income seniors to make pet blankets, pet beds, and pet toys for animals awaiting adoption.

• Critters without Litters: $10,000, to help fund their Feral Cat Program Expansion project, to improve their feral cat trap-neuter-return program.

• Have a Heart Humane Society: $12,000, to help fund the Spay/Neuter Eastern Kern County Pet Project 2017, which will provide, at a reduced cost, spay/neuter surgery, and related pet care, to Tehachapi-area pet owners.

• Helping Animals Live Tomorrow [HALT]: $10,000, to fund expansion of the PAWS (Pet Awareness Week for Students) educational program, as well as restocking their Rags to Rescue free library with pet-related books.

• Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation: $10,000, to help fund the Smart Fencing for Kern County program, a program offering free fencing instruction and tutoring sessions to struggling students.

• Kern County Chapter of California Turtle and Tortoise Club: $15,295, toward the creation of a habitat enclosure.

• Kern Dance Alliance: $9,000, to help fund their Books in Motion: Dance + Literacy program, a free program combining dance and literacy, for children from kindergarten through third grade.

• Kern Literacy Council: $8,000, for their Family Literacy Summer Jump Start program, which includes funding two program: the BCSD Summer Parent Academy; and the Summer Reading/Healthy Eating Workshops for pre-school children.

• LightWave Education: $15,000 for their Summer Literacy and Leadership Program, pairing low-income and at-risk students with college student mentor-teachers.

• Marley's Mutts Spay & Neuter: $10,000, to help fund the North Kern Fix 'n' Chips program, a low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinic, serving the outlying areas of Shafter, Wasco, McFarland, and Delano.

• Mercy Foundation-Bakersfield dba Friends of Mercy Foundation: $10,926 toward their Summer Learning Program, which will provide tutors, books, and science kits, at no cost, to 40 students.

• Pet Match Maker: $12,000, to fund general improvements to their rescue facility.

• SOXrescue: $10,000 for support of their general rescue operation.

• Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Association: $20,000, toward the construction of 12 permanent horse pens, with automatic water, and covered tops.

• Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws Animal Advocacy: $10,000, toward general funding of their animal welfare organization.


Foundation awards $250,000 to five Kern County nonprofits

On November 4, 2016, the Foundation's two-part competitive fall cycle came to a close. Inspired by all the compelling proposals, the Foundation Board awarded two $25,000 grants, two $50,000 grants, and one $100,000 grant.

Thank you to all who applied for this two-part grant cycle. This was a particularly strong year and we deeply appreciate all the time and energy that went into applying.

Below, are the winners, broken down by the amount awarded.

$25,000 Grant Award Winners:

1) Kern Literacy Council for their Fighting Illiteracy: Property Improvements to Attract Tutors, Students, and Staff, a multi-pronged project that will improve the appearance and safety of their downtown location, and includes paving the 13-space parking lot, and installing security cameras and lighting, among other improvements.

2) Special Olympics Southern California, for their Special Olympics Sports Programming in Kern County, which will entail the purchase of uniforms, equipment, and awards, along with rental facilities, for their School Partnership Program.

$50,000 Grant Award Winners:

1) California Recreation Foundation/One Spade Youth Packers’ One Spade Youth Packers Improvement project will involve the purchase of materials, supplies and equipment, including trailers, a tractor, tack, tools, and new packing equipment, among other items.

2) The Wildlands Conservancy for their San Emigdio Sunset Theater, which will host the ongoing “Movies in the Canyon”, a free event that screens family-friendly movies outside, so attendees can witness the beauty of the Wind Wolves Preserve.

$100,00 Grant Award Winner:

The $100,000 grant was awarded to Kern Medical Center Foundation for their Infusion Therapy Clinic at Kern Medical project, the creation of a space designed specifically for patients receiving chemotherapy and other infusion services.

Spring Cycle Grants Awarded

On Friday, May 6, 2016, The Foundation donated $328,251.70 to local Kern County nonprofits for projects focused on arts and culture. Below, are the organizations awarded, the amount they won, and the projects for which they were granted funding.

• Bakersfield Community Theatre: $10,000 to improve and upgrade their Youth Theatre program.

• Bakersfield Ivy Legacy Foundation, Inc.: $5,000 for their ASCEND (Achievement, Self Awareness, Communications, Engagement, Networking and Developing) Program, which exposes middle and high school students to cultural and artistic activities.

• Bessie Owens Primary School: $4,500 to purchase risers for their stage area, to help with award ceremonies, assemblies, and performances.

• Boys & Girls Club of Kern County: $16,650.27 for the expansion and upgrade of the Club’s sound system for their Performing Arts Program.

• Child Guidance Guild of Bakersfield, Inc.: $10,122.43, to help replace damaged kitchen equipment.

• Covenant Community Services: $12,500 for Fostering Art, an art advocacy and educational program for former foster youth.

• Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center: $6,000 for Go Native! 2016, an annual outdoor event that exposes the public to Native American traditional crafts, music, storytelling and food.

• Kern County Library Foundation: $48,898 to help in the creation of a Digital Arts Lab, an interactive space that will allow library patrons to use enhanced technologies to create everything from movies, digital art, video games, and 3D objects.

• Kern County Museum: $49,925 to fund painting the exterior of the Hotel Fellows, one of the historic properties in Pioneer Village.

• Kern County Superintendent of Schools: $51,223 toward the funding of the California Living Museum’s Master Sign Plan, including Bluetooth-enabled interpretive signage, which will interact with their forthcoming app.

• Kern Dance Alliance: $10,000 for the Kern Dance Alliance + Garden Pathways Summer Dance Camp & $3,650 for SHINE for Girls, MATH + DANCE = SUCCESS program.

• Kern River Valley Historical Society: $20,000 to help fund construction costs of the Kern Valley Museum Annex.

• New Advances for People with Disabilities: $25,000 toward the purchase of sound, video recording, and stage lighting equipment to outfit their new state of the art center.

• North of the River Junior Theatre: $12,000 for this summer’s Junior Theatre Summer Program, which will be producing The Little Mermaid.

• Ridge Route Communities Museum & Historical Society: $5,283 for upgrades to their Museum Signage, and improvements to their Outdoor Learning Center.

• Tehachapi Community Theatre Association: $25,000 to help with the funding of the expansion of the BeeKay Community Theater.

• Tehachapi Parks Foundation: $12,500 for the purchase of artistic bike racks and cultural features at locations in the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District.


Foundation donated $879,725 in 2015

This year, the Foundation donated $879,725 to Kern Country nonprofits, giving grants to organizations ranging from Lightwave Education to Keep Bakersfield Beautiful to the Kawaiisu Language and Cultural Center, and funded projects that included community gardens, scholarships to local students, and literacy programs.

The Foundation would like to thank all the amazing local nonprofits who make our mission to improve Kern County so worthwhile.


Six Kern County Nonprofits Awarded $275,000

On Friday, November 13, the second phase of the Foundation’s 2015 Fall Grant Cycle wrapped up, with the Foundation Board awarding three $25,000 grant awards, two $50,000 grant awards, and one $100,000 grant award.

Here, broken down by amount, are the organizations awarded, and the projects that will be funded: 

$25,000: Because of the number of compelling projects, the Board decided to award three $25,000 grants. These three $25,000 winners are:

-Independent Living Center of Kern County, toward the purchase of a Wheelchair Accessible Van.

-Lamont Women’s Club, Inc., to help fund the restoration of the Old Lamont Sign.

-Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation, for their Technology for College Readiness and Success program.

$50,000: Again, inspired by the number of worthwhile projects, the Board decided to award two $50,000 grants. These two $50,000 winners are:

-Bakersfield SPCA, for their WAGGIN’ TAIL CORRAL project.

-Children First Campaign and their East Bakersfield Family Zone Pocket Park. (The Board also offered an additional $50,000 in matching funds toward this project.)

$100,000: The winner of the $100,000 grant award was Community Action Partnership of Kern, for their Food Bank Solar Energy Improvement Project.

We truly appreciate all the Kern County nonprofits who participated in this year’s two-part grant cycle. Thank you for all that you do to better Kern County.


Spring Grant Cycle Awards Announced 

On Friday, May 1, 2015, The Foundation awarded close to $300,000 to local nonprofits engaged in improving downtown Bakersfield.

Individual grant recipients and the monetary awards they received:

• Arts Council of Kern: $4,800 to help fund their First Friday ArtWalk Headquarters, including the purchase of banners, totes and ArtWalk maps.

• Bakersfield Foundation: $9,975 for ArtTrek: A Walking Tour of Art in Downtown Bakersfield, a brochure and map containing the complete inventory of all the art resources available in downtown Bakersfield.

• Bakersfield Museum of Art: $54,000 for their Community Art Exhibit, a public art exhibit of 30 fiberglass pick-up trucks, decorated and embellished by local artists. In addition, the Foundation offered the Museum a matching grant of $27,350 for improvements to their wall at 19th and R Streets.

• Bakersfield Music Theatre/Stars: $40,000 for their “Beautiful Bakersfield” Venue Beatification Project, including installing an awning, adding shrubbery, and installing LED lighting, among other improvements.

• Bike Bakersfield: $5,000 for their Downtown Bicycle Parking and Community Enhancement project, which will add artistic bicycle racks in front of downtown businesses.

• Buena Vista Museum: $30,000 for a new roof for their building on Chester Avenue.

• Fox Theater Foundation: $30,000 for their Fox Theater Restoration Project, which will fund the restoration of the 20th street sidewalk level façade, and the interior wrought iron railings in the theater’s lobby.

• Garden Pathways: $35,000 for clean-up equipment to help enhance Garden Pathways Downtown Neighborhood Transformation program.

• Junior League of Bakersfield: $41,796.84 for interior and exterior improvements to their historic Payne & Son mortuary building on the corner of 19th and Eye Street. Improvements include adding outdoor lighting, installing synthetic grass, and updating carpet and tile.

• Keep Bakersfield Beautiful: $12,380.20 for their Rehab Downtown Furnishings project, which entails the purchase of a gum removal machine and other related tools, in order to clean up trash receptacles and benches originally erected to commemorate Bakersfield’s centennial.


Fall Grant Cycle Winners Announced 

On Friday, November 14, the Foundation Board awarded four grant awards: Three $50,000 awards and one $100,000 award.

$50,000: Because of the number of compelling projects, the Board decided to award three $50,000 grants. These three $50,000 winners are:
- Art, Science & Technology Educational Corporation of Tehachapi for their Joint STEAM Center and 4-H Facility.
- Bakersfield ARC for their Innovative Education Program for the Developmentally Disabled.
- Mercy Foundation-Bakersfield dba Friends of Mercy Foundation for their Community Wellness Center Kitchen Classroom.

$100,000: The winner of the $100,000 grant award was the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault. The award will fund a portion of their Shelter Rehabilitation project.

In addition, the Board offered the opportunity for matching grants to both the Bakersfield Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Tejon Ranch Conservancy.

Thanks to all the Kern County nonprofits who participated in this two-part grant cycle. 


Spring 2014 Grant Awards

On May 16, 2014, the Foundation awarded $211,325 to local nonprofits focused on improving the lives of Kern County animals.

Individual Grant Recipients and the monetary awards they received:

2nd Chance Ranch [Tehachapi]: $15,000 for the purchase of a new tractor.

• All The King’s Horses of Robison Ranch [Ridgecrest]: $5,000 to replace old equipment and tools.

• Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry: $10,025 for their Pet Collar, Leash and ID Project, which will provide collars, leashes and ID tags to needy Bakersfield pet owners.

• Bakersfield SPCA: $40,000 for kennel resurfacing and to expand a cat habitat.

• Bit-O-Heaven Ranch: $20,000 for the Well Horse Health Program.

 • Cathey’s K-9 Rescue: $5,000 for spay and neuter vouchers.

• Critters Without Litters: $20,000 for their No More Cattin’ Around Project, which will provide subsidized surgical sterilization.

• Friends of the Kern County Animal Shelters Foundation: $30,000 to fund their spay and neuter efforts.

• Have a Heart Humane Society [Tehachapi]: $14,000 for a Mobile Adoption Center.

• Helping Animals Live Tomorrow (HALT) Rescue: $13,300 to provide veterinary care for rescue animals, plus emergency vet care for economically disadvantaged pet owners.

People Assisting Wasco Shelter (PAWS): $12,000 for the construction of a play yard for dogs.

• Pet Match Maker California: $10,000 to build a shelter for rescue animals.

• A SafeFurr Place Animal Rescue: $5,000 for their ‘No Littering’ spay/neuter voucher program.

• Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws Animal Advocacy: $12,000 to help fund their horse rescue and rehabilitation efforts.


Fall 2013 Grant Cycle

The Foundation is pleased to announce that the winner of the $100,000 grant award is The Salvation Army, Tehachapi Service Center. The grant will go to fund the creation of a Community Center, serving a wide variety of residents in the Tehachapi area.

Thanks again to all who participated in this Fall's two-part cycle. We received many wonderful proposals —it was a very difficult decision.


Spring 2013 Grant Awards 

On May 10, 2013, the Foundation awarded $225,413 to Kern County nonprofits involved in community enrichment projects throughout Kern County, including beautification efforts, small scope historical preservation projects and general community improvement.

Individual Grant Recipients and the monetary awards they received:

The Bakersfield Museum of Art/Bakersfield Art Foundation: $5,000 for the Museum's "Altares de Familia" celebration.

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra: $5,000 for a new educational outreach program, Inspire the Desire for Music.

• Buena Vista Museum of Natural History: $12,000 for improving the exterior of the museum's building.

• The Community Action Partnership of Kern: $10,000 to help fund the Friendship House Community Center Quad Project.

• Community Empowerment Organization DBA The Cross Family Center: $17,615 for The 180 Degrees Program Summer Camp.

 • Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Kern & Tulare Counties: $20,000 for the Financial Education for Victims of Domestic Violence program.

• Covenant Community Services Inc.: $14,450 for beautification of the organization's headquarters.

Dolores Huerta Foundation: $6,500 for the Arvin Youth Leadership public mural.

• Fox Theater Foundation: $14,800 for The Fox Tower Refinishing Project.

Gay & Lesbian Center of Bakersfield: $7,440 to fund the 2013 LGBTQ Youth/Young Adult Needs Assessment Project.

• Golden Empire Gleaners: $10,000 for Food for Thought: Bakersfield City School District.

• Imagine Ballet Company: $2,468 to help fund the Dance with Us event.

• Kern Athletic Fencing Foundation: $10,000 for the Smart Fencing for Kern County program.

• Kern County Museum Foundation: $34,140 to paint the exterior of the Howell House.

• Kern River Parkway Foundation: $10,000  to restore and retrofit the historic Peacock House at Hart Park. 

• Kern Valley Tutoring Company: $6,000 for the 2013 Summer Math and Reading Workshop program.

• Mercy Foundation-Bakersfield dba Friends of Mercy Foundation: $10,000 for landscaping and exterior improvement of the Dignity Health Community Wellness Center.

• Rebuilding Together Kern County: $10,000 to fund improvements of the VFW Post 97 on Union Avenue.

• Saint Vincent de Paul Center: $5,000 to provide footwear for diabetic homeless individuals.

• Youth 2 Leaders Education Foundation: $15,000 for the 2013-2014 FAFSA Completion Program.


Fall 2012 Grant Cycle

On November 19, 2012, the Foundation awarded $144,954.45 to Kern County nonprofits focused on promoting mental health and environmental education, as well as those involved in improving animal welfare and educational opportunities.

Individual Grant Recipients and the monetary awards they received:

• American Lung Association: $15,000

• BARC ‑ Bakersfield ARC: $10,000

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County: $7,500

• California Living Museum – CALM: $16,800

• Community Action Partnership of Kern: $8,276

• DART – Desert Area Resources & Training: $3,000

• Flood Bakersfield Ministries: $5,000

• Greater Bakersfield Green Expo: $2,500

• Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic: $10,676.45

• Independent Living Center of Kern County: $3,702

• Keep Bakersfield Beautiful: $4,000

• Kern Economic Development Foundation: $25,000

• Laze Memorial Soaring Foundation: $3,500

• Legacy Behavioral Services, Inc.: $10,000

• Whiskers Paws Hooves and Claws Animal Advocacy: $20,000

Spring 2012 Grants

As of May 18, 2012, the Foundation has awarded $124,477 to a variety of Kern County nonprofits. These awards include: 

• $20,000 to The Kern County Museum Foundation, for their June 2013 Nut Festival.

• $17,252 to the Kern County Historical Society, for plaques to be affixed to downtown historical buildings.

• $15,000 to Lightwave Education.

• $15,000 to Ready to Start.

• $9,800 to MARE, for a summer literacy project with Bakersfield City School District's Migrant Student Outreach program.

• $9,025 to the Boys & Girls Club for their summer reading program.

• $6,500 to BARC.

• $5,000 to AngelDogs.

• $5,000 to the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic Stable Skills program.

• $4,000 for First Book Bakersfield.

• $3,200 to the College Dream Fund.

• $2,500 to Bags4Kids.

• $2,500 to Marley's Mutts.

• $2,500 to Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry.

• $2,000 to CALM.

• $2,000 to Community Action Partnership of Kern's Friendship House.

• $1,700 to the Friends of the Kern County Library, Inc.

• $1,000 to help sponsor the Buena Vista Museum's Spectacular World of Science event.

• $500 to The Cat People.


Fall 2011 Grant Awards 

On November 18, 2011, the Foundation awarded $111,748.32 to Kern County nonprofits focused on improving downtown Bakersfield. This included groups devoted to beautification, the environment, historical preservation, public art and public safety.

Individual Grant Recipients and the monetary awards they received:

• Arts Council of Kern: $10,000

• Bakersfield Art Association: $500 and $2,500

• Bakersfield Museum of Art/Bakersfield Art Foundation: $8,000

• Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra: $1,000

• Boys and Girls Club of Kern County: $5,000

• Boy Scouts of America: $10,000

• Fix Your Pit: $5,000

• Foundation for Christmas Around the World: $1,500

• Fox Theater Foundation: $16,000

• Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Gift to Bakersfield Committee: $750

• Greater Bakersfield Green Expo: $2,500

• Independent Living Center of Kern County: $1,269

• Keep Bakersfield Beautiful: $5,000 and $10,450

• Kern County Museum Foundation: $11,053

• Spotlight Theater Foundation: $12,000

• Tree Foundation of Kern: $9,226.32


Spring 2011 Grant Awards

On May 17, 2011, the Foundation awarded $61,693.02 to Tehachapi-area nonprofits working in the arts, historic preservation and the environment.

Individual Grant Recipients and the monetary awards they received:

• American Lung Association in California: $1,500

• The Arts, Science and Technology Education Corp. of Tehachapi: $2,300

• Friends of the Tehachapi Depot/Tehachapi Depot Railroad Museum: $5,000

• Have a Heart Humane Society: $3,000

• National Chavez Center/Stonybrook Corp.: $3,000

• Rotary Club of Tehachapi: $2,300

• Tehachapi Community Orchestra: $5,000

• Tehachapi Community Theater Association: $12,000

• Tehachapi Heritage League: $3,497.02

• Tehachapi Mountain Foundation: $10,000

• Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo Foundation: $5,000

• Tehachapi Pops (T-POPS) Orchestra: $3,500

• Tehachapi Wind Museum: $5,596