Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation header image

70 Local Scholarships, Application Deadline April 3, 2017

Application deadline: April 3, 2017

Apply Now (hint: hit “submit” early to make sure you qualify for all eligible scholarships)

Thanks to the generosity of TTCF’s Board of Directors, aligned donors, and the collaborative nature of our community partners, TTCF has secured a three year subscription to the software AwardSpring. AwardSpring streamlines the entire scholarship process from application through administration to make it easier for students, review committees, and administrators. 

Over 60 local scholarships have already been uploaded to AwardSpring with the total funding equal to over $240,000 and counting. To be considered for most scholarships, all that is required is the submission of a single common application. In real time, the software reviews the student’s application, determines eligibility, and prompts them to provide any supplemental materials for scholarships that require more information. 

When a student logs on to AwardSpring, they can also learn more about each scholarship. Donors and scholarship facilitators have a space to share the story behind the scholarship or to honor a person being memorialized. Because behind every scholarship, there is a story worth telling.

“In prior years, students were filling out the same information over and over again to apply to many different scholarships. It was common for students to miss out on scholarships simply because they weren’t aware of them, missed a deadline, or didn’t provide all of the required paper work. It was frustrating for students and for the review committees. This streamlined process gives all kids a chance to achieve their dreams with the help of community scholarships.” -Phyllis McConn, TTCF Community Impact Officer

More information on scholarships or donating to a TTCF facilitated scholarship: www.ttcf.net or (530) 587-1776

Apply at: ttcf.awardspring.com

On the Verge: Emerging Leader Pilot Project Wraps up Year-Long Training Program

It is no secret that nonprofit organizations have high employee burn-out rates. Long hours and historically humble wages, as well as deeply involved work, makes it difficult to hold onto staff or develop leaders. Last week, ten local nonprofit executives completed a year-long program designed to develop and retain emerging leaders in the family-strengthening field. The On the Verge (OTV) program occurred simultaneously in six communities in California, all of which wanted to provide an incubator for developing solutions to community problems. Until now, there have been no leadership programs focused on the family strengthening field in the context of real, community work.

The Tahoe Truckee cohort was made up of a diverse group of leaders representing eight local nonprofits. The program was led by trained facilitators Alison Schwedner, Director of the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (a TTCF program), and Amy Kelley, Executive Director of the North Tahoe Family Resource Center.

Throughout the year, leaders worked collaboratively to define regional needs on specific issues and implement community-based projects. The nature of working collaboratively in a time intensive curriculum also served to nurture the individual development of these young leaders while creating successful cross-sector partnerships.

“The On the Verge Leadership model emphasizes the personal, interpersonal and professional development of the participants. We know that working in family strengthening can be stressful and the pay is modest. This model acknowledges that in order to retain talent in this work, we must help emerging leaders develop essential hard skills, fortify their networks of trusted colleagues, and help them grow personally. The year format allows us to do this over time and, most importantly, enables the participants to experience first hand what it means to be part of a high functioning team”. – Alison Schwedner

The following outcomes were identified as priorities throughout the last year:

  • Provide Leadership Development for New and Emerging Leaders
  • Improve Retention of Brightest Leaders: On The Verge offers leaders the opportunity to renew their passion and develop coping skills, to sustain their leadership over time and prevent burn-out.
  • Build the Family Resource Center (FRC) leadership pipeline by creating more opportunities for professional advancement: On The Verge will support leaders to step into new organizational roles and professional growth.
  • Cultivate interdependent teams across intervening systems: On The Verge is the only leadership development program building interdependent, interdisciplinary teams to transform communities.
  • Create innovative community solutions to long-entrenched problems: FRC leaders will engage in ongoing conversations and research to better understand the underlying causes of inequity in their community, while piloting innovative strategies to address those underlying factors.

The OTV program was funded by the State of California, Office of Child Abuse Prevention and the S.H. Cowell Foundation, a long time partner committed to the family strengthening field in the Tahoe Truckee community.

The other incubator communities involved include:

Fresno County
Humboldt County
San Jose

| Tagged , , , ,

Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide Raises Over $380,000 for Local Nonprofits


For the third year, TTCF and Sierra Sun partnered to facilitate a year-end collective giving campaign to raise awareness and financial support for our local nonprofit community. The Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide was a huge success, and thanks to our media partners at 101.5 KTKE Truckee Tahoe Radio and the massive efforts of our participating nonprofits, we reached more people than ever before. The campaign kicked off on #GivingTuesday, November 29th and closed at 11:59pm on December 31, 2016.

62 nonprofits participated in the campaign to share their community impact and most-pressing needs to a greater potential donor and volunteer base. TTCF and our partners worked together to reach community members via print, social media, radio, and the KTKE radio app. The printed Giving Guide was distributed regionally in key locations. As an additional opportunity, Sierra Sun and TTCF printed the Giving Guide directly into the December 21st and December 28th editions of Sierra Sun.

They say the third time’s a charm, and in this case it was absolutely true. Our nonprofits came to the campaign with strategy and enthusiasm, engaging their staff, volunteers, and board members to become true ambassadors of their campaign messages. Thoughtfully produced social media posts, images, and videos converted fans into donors and made the two week Challenge Grant period a race down to the last minutes.


  • Raise dollars for local nonprofits
  • Elevate the community impact of local nonprofits to a more expansive network than they may otherwise reach
  • Provide an opportunity for nonprofit staff, board members, volunteers, and ambassadors to work together towards a common goal and forge more collaborative relationships to carry forward
  • Attract new donors and convert community members who may not see themselves as donors into intentional philanthropists


  • $382,336 total dollars infused into the North Tahoe – Truckee region
  • 1,217 total gifts donated
  • $62,157 matching gifts leveraged
  • 339 donors gave to a nonprofit for the first time
  • $45,000 in TTCF donor provided Challenge Grants

Challenge Grants

From November 29th – December 13th, TTCF donors offered a total of $45,000 in Challenge Grants to inspire giving and encourage nonprofits to connect with new and past donors.

In order to avoid the donor fatigue that was reported last year, TTCF truncated the Challenge Grant season to the first two weeks of the campaign. In presentations with our participating nonprofits, we advised them to secure matching funds and create a donor engagement strategy before launch.

Nonprofits reported that the Challenge Grants provided an opportunity to reach out to community members with a clear ask and deadline. They expressed gratitude at having the structure and support of the Giving Guide campaign and TTCF staff as they broke out of their previous comfort zones to create meaningful relationships with people. The Challenges also presented shared goals and a common language for board members, staff, volunteers, and community advocates.

Several of the Challenge results were close, and two nonprofits even tied. Yet even while racing for thousands of dollars, the spirit of community was palpable and nonprofits reported texting their “competition” into the late hours.

To engage a broader spectrum of community members, TTCF lowered the minimum donation to qualify for the 2016 Grand Challenges to $25. Nonprofits reported that community members who had never considered themselves potential philanthropists were surprised and grateful for the opportunity to participate. They were able to see how their dollars could be leveraged in a truly significant way.

The Challenge Grants accomplished everything we hoped and more, including setting a positive example for other community members to come to the table with the contributions they could afford.

Once again this campaign shows the power of collective giving being far more impactful than just one person. It is an incredible thing to create a simple way to connect donors to the nonprofits in our region to help them raise much needed resources. When the entire region rallies around the things that make our home such an incredible place to live and visit, we can feel the power of a small community.

We want to express our gratitude to Sierra Sun, the Riley Family (owners and operators of Sears Hometown Stores and sponsors of the printed Giving Guide), 101.5 KTKE Truckee Tahoe Radio, and our Challenge Grant donors for making this a fantastic third year! On behalf of our entire community, thank you!

| Tagged , ,

Snow Update with Emergency Services

Update: TTCF offices are again open. 1/17/2017

Power Returns in Some Area,  Shelters Announced
Emergency Services are Available

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation offices are closed while power remains down. Please stay safe and warm, and if you need to reach TTCF – please email kathy@ttcf.net or info@ttcf.net. Thank you!

The following information has been provided and shared by Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (CCTT).

post to the CCTT Facebook page: @CommunityCollaborativeTahoeTruckee

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — As winter weather conditions continue to wreak havoc in the Sierra leaving many residents without power, Placer County has opened four warming/charging centers in the North Lake Tahoe area.

All four locations provide the public a place to stay warm and charge their phones.
People should not expect food and water at these locations, and pets are not allowed.
Warming center and charging station locations include:

Tahoe City Public Utility District
221 Fairway Drive
Tahoe City
North Tahoe Public Utility District
875 National Avenue
Tahoe Vista
Truckee Tahoe Airport
10356 Truckee Airport Road
Squaw Valley Fire Department
305 Squaw Valley Road
Olympic Valley

“Because of the extensive power outages throughout North Tahoe, we have opened these warming/charging centers to give people a place to keep warm and power up their communication devices so they can stay in contact with friends and family and receive emergency updates sent through Placer Alert, our emergency notification system” said John McEldowney, Placer County emergency services manager.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office will be handing out fliers to at-risk communities that may not receive the messages otherwise.
TART Service Suspended

Note that TART will not be running today. Transportation to shelter may be an issue for some community members.

| Tagged ,

Moving into the New Year, fearlessly

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) was established in 1998 when William Hewlett challenged our region to match a million dollar donation to start a community foundation. Local attorney Jim Porter accepted the challenge by phone before promptly setting out to discover what exactly a community foundation does.

As communities and their needs continue to change, the roles of community foundations evolve. TTCF is no different, and through it all our mission remains the same: to connect people and opportunities, generating resources to build a more caring, creative, and effective community.

How we accomplish this mission depends on the support of our community members as we identify our region’s most pressing needs and approach them with fearless, innovative solutions. More recently, this evolution has meant that we no longer restrict our work to growing endowments and dispensing grants, although we continue to do those things as well.

An example of this broader scope of focus is the 2016 Regional Housing Study. The study was an unprecedented, collaborative partnership between Placer and Nevada Counties, the Town of Truckee, and key stakeholders; TTCF acted as the neutral convener.  This comprehensive needs assessment identified our region’s unique and pressing housing needs by engaging the entire community. Now, with the study in hand, our region’s public agencies, businesses, nonprofits, and community members are moving together towards solutions that will impact everyone who lives, works, and visits here.

What does it mean to have these fearless conversations around topics that feel daunting and insolvable? What we have seen is that when people and resources come together, and the community feels respected and engaged in the process, we can find solutions to these types of community-wide issues.

TTCF looks forward to continue engaging in these fearless conversations with all of you in 2017 and beyond. A sneak preview of more to come includes: forest stewardship, continued strengthening for local nonprofit leadership and volunteer recruitment and retainment, and conscious economic development in a rural region that relies on snow.

In early 2017 we will launch a regional housing council engaging a wide collaboration of regional leaders to help us tackle one of the most difficult challenges of living and working in our region. We will also launch an Impact Agenda for the next five years with a vision for philanthropy and investments to help drive our region.

Our storytelling will continue to unfold with an exciting announcement in the coming months and a deeper look into best practices of nonprofits that operate in a rural region. Check in with ttcf.net and our social media pages as we embark on this exciting year ahead.

Follow us on:

| Tagged , , ,

Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund awards $60,000 to eight local organizations

The Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund, a women’s philanthropy program of Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, is wrapping up its Ten Year Anniversary Campaign by awarding its largest annual grant cycle to date! On December 1st, members and guests gathered to attend the annual GEMS (Grant Educate Motivate Serve) Grants Showcase. At the event, eight grants finalists presented their four-minute grant proposals at the Cedar House Sport Hotel. Voting began the next day, and members who were unable to attend the event accessed the recorded presentations online.

After two weeks of voting, $60,000 in grants have been awarded to the below organizations. This is the first year that the Queen of Hearts has awarded the second place finalists with $5,000, and we congratulate them as they continue to grow their endowment and their grantmaking.

This year’s recipients of a $10,000 grant are:

Slow Food Lake Tahoe – Growing Greens, Beans, and Community Engagement through the Demonstration Garden

Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway – Gearing Up for Canyon Completion:  Constructing the Hirschdale to Iceland Trail Segment

Gateway Mountain Center – Helping our Kids through Mindfulness Based Substance Abuse Treatment

Aim High for High School – Nurturing the Promise and Potential of Underserved Middle Schoolers

This year’s recipients of a $5,000 grant are:

Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, Inc. – Fostering Creation of Artistic Performances through Guest Artist Residency Pilot Program

Sierra State Parks Foundation – Ensuring our Tahoe/Truckee California State Park Visitors have a Memorable and Educational Experience

Family Resource Center of Truckee – Mediation and Legal Services for Local Families

TTUSD Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program – Supporting Teen Parents and their Children


| Tagged , , ,

Rural Community Seeks Your Support

North Tahoe – Truckee is no ordinary rural community. Yet, similar to all rural areas, our region lacks the steady federal and philanthropic funding that urban centers receive. This means that in order to preserve and enrich the lives we cherish here, we rely heavily on the generosity and commitment of those who love our region to give back. Luckily, all of us who are drawn to North Tahoe – Truckee cannot help but feel strongly compelled to protecting and serving our region.

This includes the hundreds of thousands of visitors who are enchanted annually by our region’s incredible natural environment and charming communities. With 65% of our housing stock owned by second homeowners and one of the country’s most vibrant cities just hours away, our little slice of heaven is held close in the hearts of many. While those who own second homes and regularly visit our region probably give back to the communities in which they reside full-time, their donations and volunteer time are valued and incredibly necessary to the continued health and vibrancy of our region as well.

With a local nonprofit community as dedicated as ours, there is no lack of opportunity to align your philanthropic passions with that of a regional organization. A strong local entrepreneurial spirit fueled by a genuine love of place and people has inspired the establishment of hundreds of local nonprofits. From protecting our local environment and educating our youth and adults, from caring for our animals and vulnerable neighbors to developing reliable infrastructure and enriching our local culture, our nonprofits are the foundation of North Tahoe – Truckee.

With little duplication of services, local nonprofits are the heart of our region – inspiring stewardship, advocacy, and generosity. They impact all of our lives directly. We sit on their boards, attend their events, adopt their animals, and benefit from their work. In the last fiscal year, the 62 nonprofits that are featured in the 2016 Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide attracted and stewarded over 18 million dollars into North Tahoe – Truckee’s local economy. They also employed over 2,000 locals and engaged over 10,000 volunteers.

Of course, compared to what our counterparts in urban areas have, this is still not enough. With limited resources, we have to find ways to leverage the dollars available and bring extra value to the table. This is when community foundations and community collaboratives can step in to enhance the services of our local nonprofits and develop approaches to integrative capital that go beyond charity.

At Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), we are looking beyond grants to accomplish the work that must be done. We are thinking creatively about raising awareness of local issues and attracting more dollars from the basic leverage of matching donations to the more complex strategies that attract investments from outside of our region.

Still, philanthropy begins at home. Just as you use your consumer power to shop local and support the business owners who give back to your community, you can give your time and dollars to local nonprofits to build our local economy and support our region.

How you can help

1. Get to know our local nonprofits and those whose passion and hard work drive them.

2. Look through the 2016 Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide – a collective giving campaign that encourages all who love our region to give back in a way that is measurable and impactful. Visit www.givebacktahoe.org to research participating nonprofits and donate straight from there. Involve your family to make the process more engaging and to pass on your charitable generosity. Read our article on inviting our younger generations into the fold of philanthropy.

3. Research local volunteer opportunities through the Give Back Tahoe volunteer portal where all local nonprofits are invited to post short and long term volunteer opportunities.

4. Donate to TTCF’s grant cycle by giving to Gifts for Good in an area of impact that aligns with your vision of community. Your dollars will be leveraged with those of other donors and a volunteer grants committee will help disperse the funds in our annual grant cycle.

5. If you’re over 701/2, making a distribution from your retirement account allows the gift to be a qualified charitable distribution while still satisfying the required minimum distribution.


If you’re interested in exploring any of the above options to support our local community and would like some assistance, TTCF is always here to consult with you about your best options. Please call (530) 587-1776 and we’d be happy to serve.

| Tagged , , , , , , ,

Making philanthropy a family affair

Teaching Giving

In the middle of the recession, one local family decided to approach the holiday gift giving tradition in a way that felt more authentic given the economic realities of so many. Rather than exchanging gifts between adults, sisters Kristi Darzynkiewicz and Kathy Whitlow invited their growing families to put all adult gift money into a donation jar. Their kids, ages five to nine, were each given the opportunity to research and present a charity they thought was worthy of the donation.

At the beginning, the collective donation was split equally amongst the children’s charities. As the kids matured, however, they were asked to prepare and present a “pitch” so that everyone could vote on which charity should get the entire collective donation. As the years went on, the kids started adding their own money to the jar as well. They started to learn about the many dimensions of philanthropy such as the impact of donations and the difficulty in picking between very worthy choices.

Kristi told Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), “I’m raising my kids in Truckee because I want them to breathe fresh air and live in a safe, tight-knit community. But it’s easy to get wrapped up in our quiet, beautiful life. I want them to grow up with their eyes and hearts open to those who are less fortunate than they are. I want them to know there are ways to help with either your money or your time, whether you’re five and only have pennies or 95 with a fortune.”

Finding Your Voice

When it comes to creating community change, Beth Pascalli-Hirsh recently had the opportunity to encourage her oldest daughter to find and use the power of her voice. Hannah, 13 years old, researched a controversial community project that impacted many levels of our region to decide whether she was for or against it. She then stood in front of a large meeting to advocate for what she believed.

“The power to speak in front of a large audience and the confidence that was instilled from that experience is priceless. It provides a foundation for her to continue to use her voice in the future,” Beth said.

All Year Round

When it comes to shaping a community and addressing the issues that impact all of us, it’s important to give our children the power to be more than bystanders. Through volunteering, well-researched advocacy, and intentional donations, our kids have a real choice in how their community evolves. If our children are our future, giving them the opportunity to step into a role of active participation benefits all of us.

The Riley family, owners and operators of Sears Hometown Stores in Truckee, sponsored the Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide’s Education category this year. Supporting the year-end collective giving campaign and encouraging those who love North Tahoe – Truckee to give back is part of their long term commitment to supporting our region.

As Charlie Riley told us, “My wife Nancy and I are extremely grateful for the opportunities we’ve had in education, family, and community support. We have impressed on our children, and now grandchildren, that we all need to appreciate our good fortune, and help others who have not been so lucky. We hope that others in our community join us in this endeavor through the Giving Guide and all year round.”

The Power of Collective Giving

The Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide is a perfect opportunity to teach kids about giving back. The printed directory features over 60 local nonprofits divided into categories and with short blurbs that describe each organization’s community impact. Each category begins with a short description that encapsulates why that area of need is so important to the vitality of the North Tahoe – Truckee region.

The simplicity of the content allows a reader to connect with nonprofits that align with their community values and vision. To learn more or to donate, all a person or family has to do is logon to the online giving portal at givebacktahoe.org.

Challenge Grants, which award nonprofits and their donors for extraordinary fundraising efforts, occur on certain days and in certain ways from November 29th – December 13th. They are another way to explain and understand the power of every donation, large or modest, to make a big impact. Through December 13th, every unique donation of $25 or more gets nonprofits closer to their goal of earning extra $2000, $3000, or $4000 Challenge Grants.

Donating together through givebacktahoe.org may be the most rewarding part of your holiday traditions.


| Tagged , , , ,

$42,000 and counting towards Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide nonprofits!

The United States of America is a very big place with approximately 325 million people residing on the mainland, the islands, and the state up towards the north pole. It can make a person feel very small, a perspective which can provide a dose of lighthearted presence during a stressful day. In a world filled with adversity, it can also make someone feel unimportant and incapable of creating change. It can fool a person into believing that they are too insignificant to make a difference.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Last year, our country gave $373.25 billion to charitable causes working to rescue animals, save the environment, and cultivate a society that puts human services, education, and arts within the grasp of all. And don’t think these dollars were donated in the form of elegantly signed checks handed over by the top percentiles, rich corporations, and famous foundations. $264.58 billion of that altruistic giving was donated by individual donors giving what they could, that’s 71% of total giving! Furthermore, through 7.8 billion hours of volunteering, 62.6 million of our country men, women, and children gave another $184 billion worth of services. Still feel small?

Whether you are able to give $2 or 2 hours, those significant gifts can change the day of a senior citizen or help buy emergency food supplies for a growing child. If that’s still hard to grasp, think about #GivingTuesday. In 2015, the international day for giving inspired 700,000 people in over 70 countries to donate more than $116 million in one 24 hour time period! By the time this article is printed, we will have seen these numbers increase in 2016 as more and more individuals rally around the causes that align with their vision of community.

Collective giving campaigns like #GivingTuesday and our region’s Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide elevate the power of individual donors to make a huge difference in shaping their communities.

Yesterday’s #GivingTuesday launched our own Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide season, developed and promoted by Sierra Sun and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF). So far, we have raised over $40,000 for local nonprofits and we still have over a month to give! Donations of $25 can help your favorite local nonprofits as they work towards earning $1,000 – $4,000 Challenge Grants! Donate now at www.givebacktahoe.org.

| Tagged , , , , ,

2016 Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide: November 29th – December 31st

View the Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide now!

The Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide starts on November 29th, or ” #GivingTuesday” – the international day of giving, and runs through December 31st to elevate the missions and impact of 61 participating nonprofits who serve our region. Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) and Sierra Sun have partnered for the third year in a row to host this collective giving campaign which raised over $355,000 last year alone.

Through a printed nonprofit directory, an online giving portal at www.givebacktahoe.org, social media, and with our partners at Truckee Tahoe Radio 101.5 KTKE, we are reaching those who love Tahoe – Truckee to support and co-create our community. We believe that a community decides together, one person at a time, one action and word at a time, what it values and how it will shape its future.

A huge part of what makes life here so fantastic is our nonprofit community. Some of organizations are large, and others are driven by only one or two people. Together, they strive to take care of each other, protect our environment, inspire our community, and educate our next generation. The Giving Guide began in 2014. As a community, we’ve seen the value of this program to both support our nonprofits, and to draw our community members and visitors even closer to the heart and soul of our home. This year, we hope to continue to manifest greater awareness of our nonprofits and to connect those who want to give back to the causes in which they most believe.

It takes all of us to raise up this important work and to drive more resources and awareness to the needs and opportunities in our community. Please join us by looking out for the printed Giving Guide, sharing the campaign with your friends, and donating to the nonprofits that you love.

Your friends and neighbors at Sierra Sun and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation