$65,000 to boost civic involvement up for grabs | SierraSun.com

$65,000 to boost civic involvement up for grabs

Ryan Salm/ Sierra SunMemebers of the Truckee/Tahoe community got together at the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation on Friday to speak about the civic health of the community and discuss what local groups will receive funding for projects.

Close to 30 community activists from the Truckee and North Shore ” representing a plethora of Tahoe-area nonprofits ” brainstormed ideas Friday on how to inspire more volunteerism in the region.

Hosted by the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, the morning meeting in Truckee served as a sounding board for participants to suggest innovative ideas for increasing civic involvement.

“What are we trying to improve over time?” asked Phebe Bell, a foundation program officer. “What makes a strong community? We need people who are engaged who are part of the solution.”

The community foundation started a Civic Engagement Fund last year to provide financial support to local groups that are working to enhance public service through creative projects. This year, the group has put $65,000 in grant funding up for grabs.

From education and the environment to local government and youth organizations, the nonprofit staff who attended represented diverse interests in the community. Those who attended filled out a civic engagement survey, rating topics such as citizen participation and government performance on a scale from one to 10. Some North Shore residents expressed concern about their local government, frustrated about who was making the decisions.

Many agreed about the need to teach residents the value of civic involvement. And that includes reaching out to youth as well.

“It really disturbs me that more people vote for American Idol,” said Truckee resident Beth Ingalls.

Katie Zanto, director of the Adventure, Risk and Challenge program at UC Berkeley’s Sagehen Creek Field Station, shared similar sentiments, adding that all nonprofits should include a program to encourage public service at a young age.

The community foundation is looking for creative projects to enhance civic responsibility in the grant applications that are due by June 1.

Those hoping to receive a portion of the $65,000 don’t have to be an established organization, Bell said. Grant proposals must serve the areas of Donner Summit, Truckee, Squaw Valley, or the west and north shores of Lake Tahoe. The foundation will not consider applications involving religious activities, legislative projects, lobbying, individuals, private foundations, or capital campaigns.

The foundation committee will review the applications and notify those selected as grant recipients by July, said Paquita Bath, chairperson of the Civic Engagement Fund committee.

“We really encourage out-of-the-box groups and out-of-the-box thinking,” Bell said.

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