San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Community Center

For more than two decades, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has made generous contributions to nonprofits and government agencies to make a difference in their surrounding communities and Indian Country. Below are some highlights of our charitable giving efforts.

SMBMI Awards $1.8 Million to Crafton Hills College Fire Academy

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians recently awarded $1.8 million to the Crafton Hills College (CHC) Fire Academy, the largest gift ever received by the CHC Foundation. The grant will help students overcome obstacles in their pursuit to higher education and training, particularly women; the unemployed or underemployed; those from underserved populations; and people who are facing financial barriers.

The donation comes at a time when updated industry standards have resulted in increased program costs, to a point where cadets are expected to pay more out-of-pocket to complete their respective courses. The grant will allow students to focus on their training and alleviate some financial hardships. In this way, San Manuel will substantially increase its support of programs that create pathways to a better future through education and training.

“It has been an honor to partner with Crafton Hills on both financial support and recruitment,” San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Vice-Chairman Johnny Hernandez Jr. said. “Every person should be able to follow their dreams regardless of their financial situation. The Tribe is excited to hear this may close the gap between diverse communities and access to following their dreams in firefighting.”

Crafton’s Fire Academy is one of the premier fire academies in Southern California, designed to meet requirements for Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications. The grant from the Tribe will directly support the Fire Academy’s goal to create a more diversified cadet pool, as nearly 30 cadets participate in the program each term.

Mosaics of the Mojave Exhibition Highlights Tribe’s History

The Victor Valley Museum recently opened the Mosaics of the Mojave exhibit, with the support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The interactive exhibit shares the cultural and natural history of the Mojave Desert that allows guests to walk through a native cave dwelling to experience the ecology of the High Desert region.

The Tribe awarded the grant to the San Bernardino County Museum Association to help bring awareness of the Tribe’s history in the High Desert Region. Vice-Chairman Johnny Hernandez and Business Committee member Laurena Bolden attended the opening of the Mosaics of the Mojave exhibition on Jan. 13 as Serrano culture is a significant feature of the exhibit.

San Manuel youth lent their voices to speak to the desert land animals in Serrano language, while also greeting visitors in their native indigenous language. The recordings of San Manuel speaking Serrano will be played throughout the exhibition as the Tribe’s culture is highlighted.

Students in the High Desert region will also be able to learn about the Tribe and the Mojave Desert through artwork that was provided to the exhibit by San Manuel Youth, the Tribe’s Cultural Resources Management team and Cultural Advisory Working Group.

SMBMI and SEBA Bring Holiday Joy with Shop with a Cop

Nearly 50 children experienced holiday joy during the 22nd annual Shop with a cop event, due in part to the Sherriff’s Employee’s Benefit Association and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The children, who were from Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, and their siblings were chaperoned by the Department of Public Safety and San Manuel Fire Department as they shopped in a local Walmart in Redlands with $200 gift cards for clothes and toys. During the morning activities, six additional families were also surprised with a shopping experience. The joyous experience was made possible due to the Tribe’s generous award of $50,000 to SEBA to support Shop with a Cop for their holiday and back to school events.

San Manuel Donates $1 million in Honor of GivingTuesday

GivingTuesday is known as the largest day of philanthropic giving every year, occurring the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In honor of the day, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians surprised 10 native-led organizations with $100,000 donations, for a total of
$1 million.

With GivingTuesday also taking place during Native American Heritage Month, San Manuel’s donations help bridge the gap as Native American nonprofits receive less than 0.05% of total contributions throughout the United States.

Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena acknowledged that a great deal of work is left to be done in Indian Country to ensure Native communities around the nation have the resources to thrive for generations to come.

The following organizations were awarded for their service to Indian Country:

• Strong Hearted Native Women’s Coalition
• California Indian Museum and Cultural Center
• National Indian Child Welfare Association
• Great Plains Veterans Services
• Notah Begay III Foundation
• Inter-Tribal Sports Inc.
• Native Hope
• National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
• HIR Wellness
• Mother Nation

San Manuel announces Surprise grant to The Salvation Army

During the 8th Annual Red Kettle Kick-Off, hosted by The Salvation Army, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians surprised the nonprofit organization with a grant of $300,000 to help support various housing programs for families and individuals on Nov. 17.

Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena provided remarks as the Tribe was recognized as the Community Partner of the Year for the continued support in meeting the needs of the Inland Empire community. During her speech, Chairwoman Valbuena announced that the Tribe would award a grant to The Salvation Army to further their efforts to provide services to the homelessness population in San Bernardino and transitional living resources.

The grant will help support The Salvation Army’s Hospitality House & Men’s Annex Expansion by providing programming assistance to single women and families. The funding will also aid the expansion of their men’s transitional living center in San Bernardino, allowing up to 600 individuals to be served throughout two years of housing.