Gifts for Good: Help support programs important to our region | SierraSun.com

Gifts for Good: Help support programs important to our region

Roger Kahn
Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; About two years ago, Alison Schwedner, the executive director of the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee, became aware that many of the non-governmental social service organizations supporting the population of North Lake Tahoe communities either had offices which were sub-standard, were being charged exorbitant rents, or were unable to find adequate space within the communities where they did their important work. Karen Carey, ED of Tahoe Safe Alliance; Emilio Vaca, ED of the Family Resource Center; and George LeBard, ED of Project MANA, were the original voices that had expressed this concern.

Alarmed by these developments, she brought the matter to Phebe Bell. The program officer of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. Over the course of the next two years, they recruited a committed group of community members, including Theresa May Duggan, Dave Ferrari, Bruce Pohle, Scott Ryan, Dave Shelton, Ken Yagura and myself to tackle the problem. Placer County officials, including Glen Harelson, Richard Knecht, Richard Burton, Jennifer Merchant and Jennifer Montgomery were also brought on board. In addition to Phebe, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation staff, including Kristi Darzynkiewicz, Ann Pridgen, Lisa Dobey and Linda Brown, became integrally involved.

After numerous meetings, the group became convinced the ideal solution would be to find a property to house a number of related social service agencies in the same permanent location in order to provide a one-stop shop for their clients. Moreover, in order to realize their vision, they needed to find a location that could provide additional temporary space for other supporting social service agencies that did not need permanent space, but served these same clients on a regular basis. Lisa Maisano from the S. H. Cowell Foundation came forward to provide a grant to hire Yvonne Nenadal to assist with the logistics of what exactly would be required to effectively do the work the group envisioned.

The next very important step was finding a location that was easily accessible for the clients who needed the services. The building needed to be large enough to house the North Tahoe Family Resource Center, Tahoe Safe Alliance, have the temporary space for organizations to see clients and room for community service organizations to hold meetings. The property needed to be large enough for Project MANA to be able to do food distribution. After a great deal of research, a couple of locations were identified. Rick Stephens, husband of Gail, a Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation board member, ably handled the negotiations and a property has been put into escrow as of December 9. To ensure the eventual success of the efforts of so many people, the S. H. Cowell Foundation, who has been so supportive of our region for so many years, has just awarded a $250,000 grant toward the purchase of the property and a $128,000 grant for the unique integrated service model to provide assistance to the clients.

As a former board member of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, I am particularly excited because TTCF has identified a critical need in our community and is taking proactive steps to solve the problem. I am asking that the and#8220;Gifts for Goodand#8221; check I am writing this year be used to support the and#8220;Community House.and#8221; Perhaps you have an area of interest that the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation supports as well. Please join me in writing a check to Gifts for Good so that the community foundation can further support programs that you find to be important in our region.

Roger Kahn is a long-time North Lake Tahoe resident and a member of the board of directors for both the Tahoe Fund and Tahoe Forest Health System Foundation.