Gifts For Good: Squaw Valley Institute | SierraSun.com

Gifts For Good: Squaw Valley Institute

Sun Staff Report

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunErin Casey of the Squaw Valley Institute.

Our purpose, vision, and mission have been unchanged throughout our history and are to enhance the quality of life within the unique mountain environment of Squaw Valley, North Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and surrounding communities with programs and activities that have artistic, cultural, educational and entertainment value.

Squaw Valley Institute was formed in March 2002 with encouragement and support from residents, businesses, and North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.

Our mission and programming began primarily by word of mouth within the Squaw Valley Community. Over the past year, thanks to a community outreach grant from the Lahontan Community Foundation Fund and a capacity development grant from the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, we were able to produce our first brochure and distribute newsletters to the greater community. We also began engaging regional Chamber of Commerce and Resort Associations in disseminating our program information with their databases.

Our total audience has grown by nearly 200 percent since January of 2006. The community at large now looks to the Institute as an important resource for providing programming for them.

Erin Casey is the new Executive Director of the Squaw Valley Institute. She began her career as the Associate Director for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. She then moved on to the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Reno as their Distinct Director. She also sits on the board of the Truckee River Watershed Council and the Truckee Trails Foundation.

Our Institute has engaged community members consistently throughout our six years of operations by producing a diverse variety of programs. In recent years, we have averaged 18 to 20 programs per year, and we are the only nonprofit in the entire region that executes a wide variety of public programs on a year-round basis. We were named the Nonprofit of The Year for 2006 by the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce”quite an honor for such a young organization.

Recommended Stories For You

The majority of our events have involve a myriad of guest speakers”we have had authors, scientists, climbers, professors, doctors, adventurers, explorers, historians, forestry experts, environmentalists and economists. We have done a few music events, but always include some educational aspect. Our audiences have grown and recent programs have audience sizes varying from 40 people to as many as 200.

How will this add to the community?

We bring speakers to the area which promotes lifelong learning. We are able to keep our programs affordable for the entire committee with the support of our donors and members. The topics discussed range from energy policy, politics to the environment and others. The Institute is looking to expand the programs offered in the area and will look to the local community for direction.

How can people contribute?

People can support the Institute by volunteering to help with our committees, attending our programs and or becoming a member of the Institute.

What if they are unable to donate money but want to help?

We are always looking for volunteers to help us with our programs.

What future plans do you have for your nonprofit?

We would like to expand our programs and host more each year and also move our programs to venues in other areas such as Truckee and Kings Beach. We continue to try and bring a wide range of speakers to discuss topics that will initiate conversation and promote learning.

President: John Wilcox

Executive Director: Erin Casey

Phone: (530) 581-4138

Address: P.O. Box 3325 Olympic Valley, CA 96146