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Katz Amsterdam Foundation Continues Vital Partnership with Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Investing $250,000 to Help Transform Local Mental Health Support

Published on April 24, 2024

Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) has partnered once again with the Katz Amsterdam Foundation (KAF). At the end of 2023, the collaboration helped distribute $250,000 in grant funding to four local mental health nonprofits. The Katz Amsterdam Foundation strives to be a catalyst for eliminating inequities, increasing access to opportunity, and improving outcomes for all. Amongst its priorities, KAF works with mountain resort communities to reduce behavioral health risk factors and advance just and equitable approaches to accessing mental and behavioral healthcare. 

KAF awarded four grants in Tahoe Truckee to target two priority areas: (1) decreasing substance misuse and increasing healthy activities, and (2) increasing mental health equity for communities of color. The grants will help local nonprofits de-stigmatize mental healthcare, streamline siloed systems, and provide equitable access to quality care for all residents– regardless of age, race, location, socio-economic status, or identity. 

These grants specifically fill gaps in our regional behavioral health and substance abuse services safety net that local communities of color and other vulnerable community members tend to fall through. KAF’s funding will be leveraged to provide support for K-12 Tahoe Truckee Unified School District students to have continued access to critical Wellness Programs. These programs are integral to providing school-based, student friendly, and responsive behavioral health therapeutic and substance abuse services– with 55% of students who receive therapeutic services being LatinX and BIPOC students. 

To reach students outside of school, Gateway Mountain Center received funding to provide clinically supervised one-on-one nature-based therapeutic mentoring for 50 high-need youth living in the region as well as 5-6 week small group cohorts. 

To continue reducing stigma around mental health and substance abuse issues, including Fentanyl use, Sierra Community House’s promotora and peer support programs aim to reach at least 150 community members in Spanish speaking communities.


KAF Helps Develop a Behavioral Health Roadmap to Guide Regional Partners

With contributions that now total more than $200M, Rob Katz, former CEO of Vail Resorts, and Elana Amsterdam, a best-selling author and leading wellness and lifestyle blogger, formally launched the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust in 2017 and the Katz Amsterdam Foundation in 2018. TTCF has been grateful to work alongside the Foundation since its inception to collaboratively develop mental and behavioral health support for the Tahoe Truckee region.

When the two foundations first connected, they shared a common goal of reducing inequities and closing behavioral health gaps in a place that Rob and Elana love. Mental health and substance abuse are issues that impact communities the world over. On top of common systemic issues that burden many places, mountain communities share common struggles including:

  • Securing enough care providers,
  • Ensuring community members are aware of and can access available services, and 
  • Mental health stigma that can be more entrenched especially in communities of color. 


Sitting down together, the foundations saw an opportunity to leverage their resources. KAF provided a planning grant to identify and address the resources and gaps in the behavioral health safety net for the region. TTCF’s family strengthening program, the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (CCTT), engaged their 45+ partners to inform a strategic plan for regional behavioral health needs.  

The Behavioral Health Landscape and Roadmap helps KAF and TTCF align our resources to directly address regional gaps and opportunities. The Roadmap guides the work of regional shared priorities, and includes the following strategies: 

  1. Policy and funding, 
  2. Programs and service, 
  3. Equitable access, and 
  4. Addressing the root causes of behavioral health challenges and substance abuse. 

KAF Connects Mountain Towns to Address Systemic Health Issues

The Katz Amsterdam Foundation are consistent, engaged supporters of this strategy. KAF also connects TTCF and its partners to a wider community of mountain resort towns and collaborators that Rob and Elana are passionate about helping. Every other year, KAF helps distribute a community engagement and well-being survey both in Tahoe Truckee and to our sister mountain communities. Together we look at the data and learn about what is unique and what is common to our rural mountain regions. What works in another mountain town could likely work here, and an issue that arises here could potentially meet the same circumstances in Vermont, Nevada, Colorado, or Utah. 

To deepen these relationships and facilitate ongoing shared learning, KAF hosts an annual convening to provide a crucial opportunity for behavioral health leaders from these cohorts. The Convening has led to collaborative programs and investments, including an anti-stigma campaign and volunteer peer training. This May will be the fourth annual convening and continues to welcome new communities from the Mountain West.