Gifts For Good: Make this holiday season special for neighbors in need | SierraSun.com
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Gifts For Good: Make this holiday season special for neighbors in need

Stephanie RogersonSpecial to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. andamp;#8212; As a resident of one of the most beautiful and community-minded places in the world, I feel fortunate every day I step outside my front door. I am also grateful to the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation for enhancing our community through philanthropy and support to our non-profits. TTCFandamp;#8217;s primary mission is to secure donations and resources from residents and visitors to meet the changing needs of our community. One of the primary ways they do this is through competitive grants. TTCF distributes donations through a process in which nonprofits apply for funding to support their programming and organization.Over the past two years, Iandamp;#8217;ve had the honor of serving on the competitive grants committee. Although Iandamp;#8217;ve worked with grant writing for many years, my experience on the committee is always eye-opening. Through the competitive process, we review grant applications from regional nonprofits that are focused on the environment, health and human services, education and the arts. The needs in our community are ever-present, and the nonprofit organizations work hard to meet these needs. Sierra Senior Services delivers 13,000 meals a year to our elderly and disabled, Sugar Pine Foundation saves our forests, Trails and Vistas combines nature and the arts, Big Brothers Big Sisters enables mentoring, Project MANA provides more than 34,000 food distributions annually, Sierra Family Services provides valuable mental health support and the list goes on.Recently, I was asked by the TTCF program officer Phebe Bell to think of organizations or grants that stood apart in the process. Two of the funded grants that came to mind were through the Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Truckee Family Resource Center to expand technology capacity. Operating since 1990, the Truckee Donner Land Trust has played a critical role in preserving and protecting more than 16,200 acres of open space and natural land in the region. In the coming years, the organization plans to protect another 22,000 acres.The Family Resource Center of Truckee supports our working poor, unemployed and homeless, single parents, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities or mental health issues through programs including information and referral assistance, health education and parenting classes, legal support, literacy classes and case management. The demand for legal assistance, housing and mental/physical health services has increased substantially with the economic downturn.These two critical organizations requested funds for items that are difficult to acquire through other funding streams. Many grants or donations are for specific programming and/or purchases. However, to run efficiently, nonprofits need to also run as businesses with marketing and outreach capabilities, tracking and reporting. These not so sexy items are essential for efficiency and capacity building. The grants committee recognized this and approved support for website development for the Land Trust and technological equipment to update outdated systems at the Family Resource Center. Through this support, the land trust has developed a professional website that enables donations to be submitted online and donors utilize interactive maps and greater visuals, thus increasing the donor base. The Family Resource Center will soon be able to track key trends, analyze demographic data and maintain a comprehensive history of clientsandamp;#8217; information. This will enable more targeted programming, create a stronger case for future funding and enable caseworkers to serve their clients more effectively.As part of the grants committee and a donor, I feel privileged to be involved with Truckee Tahoe Community Foundationandamp;#8217;s efforts. If youandamp;#8217;re interested in being a part of TTCFandamp;#8217;s campaign to support our community, go to http://www.ttcf.net and click on the link andamp;#8220;gifts for good.andamp;#8221; You may request that your donation goes to an immediate need, or you may make a lasting donation to the TTCF endowment, or build philanthropy by helping TTCF build a culture of giving in the region. Or make a donation directly to your favorite nonprofit either from yourself or in honor of a loved one. We have an incredible community. In the spirit of the holiday, letandamp;#8217;s make it a little more special for our neighbor who needs a little help this year.Stephanie Rogerson is a seven-year resident of Truckee and principal of Phocus Consulting Group,-a consulting agency for-regional non-profits-and public agencies.


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