Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation header image

Why Four Local Nonprofits are Consolidating

Crisis rarely happens in only one aspect of a person or family’s life. In a region made up of several small communities widely spread apart, it’s often a challenge for community members to know what services are available to them and to be able to reach them. This is especially true for people who lack dependable access to transportation. Too often, people go without all of the help they need to thrive.

North Tahoe Family Resource Center, Family Resource Center of Truckee, Tahoe SAFE Alliance, and Project MANA are currently in the process of joining forces to better serve community members across North Tahoe-Truckee. The four long-standing social service nonprofits are in the midst of combining systems, staff and boards and plan to launch the new organization, officially, on July 1, 2019. The single entity will have five locations throughout with services continuing and being enhanced in Truckee, Kings Beach, Tahoe City, and Incline Village.

This consolidation is a result of over 15 years of community collaboration aimed at improving health and safety outcomes and strengthening services for families and individuals. Several years ago, North Tahoe Family Resource Center, Tahoe SAFE Alliance, and Project MANA, hired an integrated services coordinator to make sure that community members receiving services at one organization were also aware of the services of the organizations. Several years later, they wanted to bring their collaborative services under a single roof in a shared space. Under the leadership of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), donors and organizations came together to plan, construct, and implement Community House. A massive effort was put forth by numerous people and agencies; the Community House was completed in 2014 in Kings Beach, one of the most poverty-stricken communities in North Lake Tahoe. Community House has been recognized as a national model for shared spaces by The Nonprofit Times.

“It is the next natural evolutionary step for these nonprofits to consolidate into one strong entity for families and individuals,“ Stacy Caldwell, CEO of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation.

The four organizations will continue to provide the same services, with many of the same staff, under the umbrella of the new entity. Community members will be able to access basic needs support, food programs, community education, and crisis services under one roof in their own neighborhoods. By joining forces, the four organizations will serve community members in a better, more holistic and integrated manner and tailor services to meet specific needs. This consolidation will also provide smoother, streamlined systems for staff and board members. Rather than four separate organizations with four separate strategies for strategies, budgets, and administration work, one organization will focus on streamlined fundraising, finance, marketing, human resources, and information technology.

To support the staff through this transition, TTCF is funding a special On the Verge cohort. The On the Verge Leadership Program (OTV) is a year-long professional and personal development program facilitated by the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (CCTT). This year’s cohort launched recently with all staff members from the consolidating nonprofits.

To learn more about Community House, click here.

| Tagged , , ,

TTCF announces partnership with the National Forest Foundation

TTCF is proud to share that we recently awarded the National Forest Foundation (NFF)  a grant as part of our efforts to protect our forests. The NFF is producing an educational video to showcase different forest health and fuel reduction treatments such as hand thinning, biomass removal, and mastication— as well as demonstrate how these methods protect our communities. The video will follow the Big Jack East Project, located in Placer County, California and south of the Town of Truckee. Big Jack East, a collaborative project between the NFF and the United States Forest Service, will treat approximately 2,000 acres with the following goals:

  1. Reduce fuel loadings and the risk of wildfire in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) 
  2. Create conditions that would improve forest resiliency to fire, insects, disease, drought and climate change.

Learn more about the Big Jack East Project on the National Forest Foundation’s website.

TTCF has been exploring market-based solutions to protecting our forests as well as potential avenues to develop a restoration economy for our region. If you’re interested in learning more about the work we’re doing, please reach out! We’d love to hear from you! Contact Emily Vitas, Donor Services Manager, at emily@ttcf.net or by calling (530)587-1776.

Registration open for 2019 Board Training Series

Sign up for the series now!

Behind every successful nonprofit sits a strong and productive board of directors.  The role of board member is one of the most influential volunteer positions in the nonprofit community, and an opportunity to serve a mission to which one is truly dedicated. If you are ready to create positive change in your community and step into a role of leadership, this series gives you the necessary tools and knowledge to do so with confidence.

This four part series on board governance prepares you with the tools and knowledge you need to be able to create real change in your community. If you are ready to step out from the sidelines and into a role of community leadership, this workshop series is for you. If you are already a board member and want to hone your skillset, this series will give you resources and networking opportunities that will strengthen your board service.

We approach the breadth of board governance information by blending several resources and interweaving the most valuable pieces into four (4) workshops. Workshops are delivered in three parts:  Theory, Practice, and Interactive Application.

Community members identified as experts in Nonprofit Boards participate as panelists. Panels are unique to each topic, and the experts are chosen based on their particular breadth of experience.  The workshops are organized under four topics:

Board Training Series

Module 1: Board Responsibility and Board Culture – Learn exactly what responsibilities you take on as a board member and how to co-create a powerful and engaged board of directors.

Module 2:  Financial Stewardship and Legal Compliance – Ensure nonprofit dollars advance the mission. Includes a dive into oversight and fiduciary responsibilities.

Module 3:  Strategic Planning and Evaluation – Learn how to approach the scope of your organization’s work by establishing and adapting a strategic plan.

Module 4:  Fundraising 101 – Receive an overview on the basics of fundraising and how to raise the dollars necessary for nonprofit organizations to achieve their objectives and hit their funding goals. Learn how to form and deliver a request that aligns with potential and existing donors.


Grantee Spotlight: Headwaters Science Institute receives accolades

Based in Truckee, CA, Headwaters Science Institute is an education nonprofit with a vision to create informed citizens— citizens who not only pursue science careers, but blossom when faced with opportunities to positively impact society through engagement, curiosity, and applications of the scientific method. Recently, Headwaters was listed by STEMworks at WestEd as an “accomplished program.” 

Headwaters Science Institute continues to impress with a longline of achievements. TTCF has been a proud supporter of their commitment to serving the young people who live in our region through their mission. In 2017, Headwaters Science Institute vigorously took on the Give Back Tahoe Giving Season, hosted by TTCF, and strategically won multiple Challenge Grants by engaging their donor base across the country. In approximately two weeks, Headwaters raised over $20,000 for their general operating funds. In addition to earning grants from TTCF, Girls Giving Back, TTCF’s youth philanthropy project, awarded Headwaters a grant for their STEM summer camp aimed at empowering girls. Headwaters is also participating in our Jumpstart Accelerator Program which works with nonprofits to identify strengths and weaknesses, match them with appropriate coaching, and increase their capacity. 

In its 2018 Annual Report, Headwaters reported its highlights, including:

  • Working with over 1600 new students
  • Growing its programs by 188%
  • Utilizing 90% of its funds directly for educational programs
  • Engaging through its programs 50% low-income students and 40% minority students

As part of our mission, TTCF strengthens and uplifts our local nonprofit organizations in a number of ways: an annual grant cycle, technical assistance, and capacity building opportunities. We are proud to report to our donors how your dollars are at work in our community.

| Tagged , , ,

Grantee Spotlight: A tiny house on wheels to call their own

Just in time to celebrate its 50th summer, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley is happy to share the story of its Paul Radin Memorial Dream Wagon. Just ten feet wide and mobile, the Dream Wagon acts as offices, a bookstore, and a stage for performers. TTCF is proud to have helped with funding to bring the Dream Wagon to completion.

Even if you consider yourself deeply familiar with iconic Squaw Valley, you may not know much about the weeks of summer workshops the Community of Writers hosts. For 49 summers, in fact, the nonprofit organization has helped writers in refining their craft “and thus, in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support, moving them closer to achieving their goals.” 

The workshops bring together poets and prose writers in workshops, individual conferences, lectures, panels, readings, and discussions. With a backdrop that is sure to inspire awe, writers dive into both the craft and business of writing. For years now, the Community of Writers has been in need of more space: to head quarter, to sell books, and to act as a stage. Last summer, it debuted the Dream Wagon. Although the wagon wasn’t yet complete, the response was overwhelmingly positive. 

The majority of the funding was provided by the family of Paul Radin in his memory. Paul Radin was a longtime friend of the Community, an early guest who attended the summer poetry and fiction workshops. Born in Boston, Mr. Radin lived on the Truckee River and as close to Nature as possible. 

Legendary was Radin’s arrival one summer on horseback, wearing his trademark flat-brimmed hat and western boots.  We all remember his dramatic entrance with white horse and enjoyed his recollections of the seminal years of the Conference. (Excerpt taken from Community of Writers’ blog here). 

Thanks to the contributions of Paul Radin’s family as well as the donations, labor, advice, and materials of other community members, attendees of the 50th Anniversary of the Writers Workshops will be able to enjoy the Dream Wagon!

“TTCF is grateful to the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley for nurturing the skills and careers of local and visiting writers. Our community has so many dimensions and our local arts and culture field is burgeoning. We want to attract artists of every discipline to make of our mountains a home and a muse, and TTCF seeks to support the nonprofits that cultivate their presence here,” Phyllis McConn, TTCF Community Impact Officer. 

Learn more and sign up for July events here

Second Homeowner Opens Educational Pathways for Young People

A Community Gives Back

Spanning 7,670 acres, Tahoe Donner is a planned community in Truckee, CA. Tahoe Donner’s streets wind through forested hills with some of the town’s deepest snowpack, and homeowners enjoy miles of trails, downhill and cross country ski areas, and community activities. While 80% of the population is second homeowners, Tahoe Donner Homeowners’ Association is involved in developing solutions to region-wide concerns like the local housing crisis and forest health. So it was no surprise when a small group of homeowners proposed a philanthropic arm of their community. When it comes to charity, a person generally gives back in their place of primary residence and overlooks the charitable opportunities in their second community. In 2014, the group approached Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) to alter that trend and provide an easy way for their neighbors to give back to the place they love. 

Rather than create a new charitable entity of their own, the group became a charter Tahoe Donner committee and opened the Tahoe Donner Giving Fund (TDGF), an affiliate fund with TTCF. TTCF provides operational, legal, accounting, and investment services, and TDGF leaders focus on their mission to inspire generosity and pool charitable giving among their neighbors in support of deserving programs and youth in the greater Truckee community. For greater efficiency and to leverage resources across several local giving streams, TDGF aligns its efforts with TTCF’s grantmaking and scholarship processes.  

“TDGF is run by a committee of volunteers so partnering with TTCF for much of the heavy lifting was a great choice,” commented Dick Gander, founder of the Giving Fund.

A Donor Inspired to Give More

Since its inception, TDGF’s fundraising efforts have significantly grown its charitable giving. In 2015, its first year, TDGF granted $11,090 to local nonprofits and awarded a scholarship of $1,000. In 2018, just three seasons later, TDGF granted $48,000 and awarded $12,500 in scholarships! TDGF has even retroactively extended and increased some scholarship awards. Among others, the seminal $1,000 scholarship recipient was surprised with another $1,000 the next year, and $4,000 the following! 

It was in 2017 that one homeowner picked up the Tahoe Donner newsletter and read about TDGF’s scholarship recipients. The photographs and stories of the first generation high school graduates moved her. She was inspired by the generosity of her neighbors who were taking responsibility for the area of their second homes, and wanted to support TDGF’s efforts to promote “off the hill giving”- as she calls it. 

She reached out to TDGF and TTCF and her first anonymous donation funded a 2018 TDGF scholarship. Changing a life inspired her to do more, and together TDGF and TTCF crafted a scholarship structure that would offer long-term financial assistance to students who have earned the support of their community and need help to leap into their next life chapters. 

In 2019, she provided four $50,000 Impact Scholarships to four separate first generation college students (or $10,000 a year for up to 5 years). These are TTCF’s largest scholarships to date and the students were amazed and grateful for the opportunity. First generation students face all of the ordinary challenges of college, and some unique additional challenges. Multi-year scholarships make all the difference so they can feel the support necessary to focus on their studies as much as possible. This donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, opened up an educational path to transform lives and has committed to continue this generosity on an annual basis. 

Learn more about our 2019 Scholarship Cycle.

Philanthropy: A Personal Passion

Giving back is a deeply personal thing. We give back through volunteering our time where it’s needed and advocating for those who deserve a louder voice; we work hard and donate some of what we earn to causes that resonate in our hearts; we give back by sharing our skill sets to strengthen the efforts of others. Our reasons and our actions reverberate onward in some ways that are apparent and others that are more ephemeral. All that matters is that we give. 

Inspired? You can help boost an existing scholarship or open a new one! Learn more by calling (530)587-1776 or email Phyllis McConn, Community Impact Officer, at Phyllis@ttcf.net.

2019 Impact Scholarship Recipients

| Tagged , ,

You nearly doubled our scholarship funds! See the happy student recipients.

THANK YOU, SCHOLARSHIP DONORS!

Last year, donors like you doubled our scholarship funds from $113,000 to offer $232,500 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors. In 2019, you did it again! TTCF is overjoyed to share that you raised $449,500 to support local young people in their pursuit of higher education through TTCF facilitated scholarships!

2019 highlights include:

  • 92 community scholarships totaled $868,400
  • 145 applicants
  • 119 recipients
  • 36 first-generation college student recipients

TTCF is amazed at how our donors have stepped up to support local students achieve their dreams. It shows that our community values higher education and making it more accessible to more students in the face of rising costs and competition. This year, one anonymous donor shaped a scholarship structure to support first generation college students throughout their entire careers. Read it here.

If you’re interested in learning more, please call us at (530)587-1776 or email Phyllis McConn, Community Impact Officer, at Phyllis@ttcf.net.

| Tagged , ,

The Ripple Effect: A Scholarship Success Story

Perhaps you remember this lovely picture of Yulisa Mendez, a 2016 Sierra High School graduate and recipient of several community scholarships.  It wasn’t that long ago! We caught up with this impressive, inspiring and tenacious leader to learn of her college experience and future plans. Below we share her story from a written interview.

TTCF: Tell us about yourself.

YM: I’m 20 years old and have a five year old daughter named Alyssa. My family moved to Truckee when I was only a few months old. My family means the world to me. I am the oldest of five kids and have always helped my mother take care of my younger siblings. In high school, I became a teen parent. During this time, I lost hope in ever pursuing my educational dreams. When my daughter was born, she became my ultimate motivation to continue my education. With the support of my family, high school, community, and friends I was able to graduate from Sierra High School with 20 college credits.

Now, I am a senior at Sierra Nevada College and will be graduating with honors this upcoming May. I will receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology. I will also be graduating a year early.

TTCF: What inspires or motivates you?

YM: My daughter. My daughter is the person that keeps me moving forward. Without her I would not be where I am today. I want to make my daughter proud and be a role model to her. My mother is also my inspiration. As a single mother of five, she has given so much to me and my siblings. I hope to one day repay her for all that she has done for us.

TTCF: You received a number of community scholarships, can you tell us a bit about the process from a student perspective?  

YM: The process of applying to scholarships was simple, but difficult at the same time. The most difficult part was writing about myself and my life story. It is difficult to talk about yourself and describe what you have been through. The best part of applying for scholarships is that you get to reflect on all of the accomplishments you have achieved in your life.

TTCF: What do you think the value of higher education is? How can community scholarships help?

YM: I believe that it is important to keep learning and to never stop. Education is something no one will ever take from you. Education is one of the most valuable things a person can have. Community scholarships are very important; they give students like me an opportunity to believe in oneself.  Scholarships enable students to write about their accomplishments, goals, and future aspirations. They provide motivation, encouragement, and support to those students who, like myself, have felt like giving up. The scholarships allowed me to focus on my school work and to not worry so much about the financial factors.

TTCF: What were the ups and downs of your college experience?

YM: Taking 18 credits every semester- it was difficult taking so many courses at a time while also managing being a parent, a student worker, and a provider for my family. The best part of college is getting the opportunity to learn, be a part of a unique community, and experience new things. For example, I will present my research project that I have been working on for the past year at different research conferences at UNR, UCLA, and at SNC. Coming to the end of this experience, I am proud of all the sacrifices I had to make, all the hard work has paid off.

TTCF: What’s next?

YM:  Once I graduate, I want to obtain a master’s degree in social work. Social work is a field that I am very passionate about. I am an example of what great support from a community can do. With a degree in social work, I will be able to pay it forward and support/help vulnerable populations in my community.

There are so many remarkable students like Yulisa who are poised for success, but just need your help to pay for tuition, books, room and board, and more. Please help students reach their goals of higher education by supporting our scholarships or opening one of your own today. Call Phyllis McConn at (530)587-1776 or donate here.

Leaving a Legacy: “Let’s Bet On Youth” Golf Tournament Opens 2019 Season on May 16th

Register now:

On Thursday, May 16th, the North Tahoe-Truckee community will open the 2019 golf season with the fifth annual “Let’s Bet on Youth” Golf Tournament. The first tournament of the year celebrates the life of beloved community member E.J. Tegner and raises between $15,000 and $18,000 for the E.J. Tegner Golf Foundation. And there’s still time to register to be part of the season’s inaugural tournament!

Marilyn Wood started the foundation in memory of E.J., her husband, after he passed away in 2014. EJ was an avid golfer and loved a friendly wager, which is how he, and his memorial foundation, received the nickname “Let’s Bet.” Marilyn, Kevin Murphy, Kathy Hess Slocum, and Brian McGeever- dear friends to E.J. and Marilyn – opened an endowed fund at the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) to honor E.J.’s memory and to bring the virtues and values of golf to local young people. Their original goal was to raise $250,000 to be held in an endowed fund. Marilyn seeded the fund with $200,000 and the endowment today stands close to $300,000!

The vision was to bring golf to all kids regardless of socio-economic background or the interest of their parents, and to create a pathway for all kids to experience the benefits of the life skills and core values that the game instills. EJ Tegner “Golf in Schools Program” month long program is offered at area elementary schools. Travis Alley, PGA Golf Director at Tahoe Mountain Club, leads the golf in Schools Program. Like Travis, the instructors are PGA Golf Professionals. This year all 3rd and 4th and 5th grade elementary school kids in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District were able to participate.

“E.J. would be pleased to see the impact and improvement on the lives of youth through access and education in golf,” says Marilyn.

Other groups the EJ Tegner Foundation has contributed to include: North Tahoe Golf Boys and Girls Teams, Truckee Boys and Girls Golf Teams, and The Fred Alexander Memorial Family Golf Clinic. This totaled over $12,000 in grants for 2019.

“It’s tremendously gratifying to be part of the team who created the E.J Tegner – Let’s Bet on Youth Golf Foundation.  Making a difference in kid’s lives is what really matters most!” said Kevin Murphy. The beauty of the endowed fund is that it will continue to serve our community’s young people and honor E.J. forever.

On May 16th, a fun day is planned with 18 holes of golf, longest drive, closest to the pin and putting contest. It will be held at Old Greenwood Golf Course. The format is four person, two net better ball. Cost is $400 per team and/or $100 per person. If you would like to make additional donations we have sponsorships available.

Come out and enjoy the day for a great cause. All proceeds go directly to the foundation. Sign up soon, this event will sell out.

If you can’t play the golf tournament, you can still positively impact the lives of local youth through golf. Donate to: Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation E.J. Tegner Memorial Fund.

Podcast: The Evolution of Grantmaking

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) has granted over $26 million into the North Tahoe-Truckee region in partnership with our donors and collaborative funders since 1998. That means more people who are receiving the food, shelter, and assistance they need; more animals safer in both their furever homes and in the wild; protected open spaces, and access to recreation for more people. It means that more children receive opportunities to succeed whether what they need is mental health services, mentorship, exposure to performing arts, or simply a more equitable playing field. It means families that are thriving and programs that elevate the wellbeing of our elders. It means stronger nonprofits and nonprofit employees to serve our region.

While TTCF has always partnered with you, our community members and donors, to build a more caring, creative, and effective community, the way by which we do so has evolved to meet the changing needs of our region. TTCF recently sat down to record a podcast that looks over two decades of community changemaking through grant cycles, what we’re doing now, and how philanthropy is changing overall. It features: Phyllis McConn, who runs our grantmaking process, as well as Christin Hanna, the Executive Director of Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, and Heidi Volkhardt Allstead, who has sat in the seats of grantee, grant writer, and now collaborative funder with TTCF as the Director of Martis Fund. They explore what it’s like to be a small nonprofit in a rural community, how the attitude and approach of funders can make a huge difference in ways unseen, and what it means to respond to the needs of the organizations you serve.

Please enjoy and share with your networks.  https://bit.ly/2NADSdZ (53 minutes)

| Tagged , , , , ,