My Turn: Lessons from Truckee/Tahoe
June 23, 2011
TRUCKEE/TAHOE and#8212; and#8220;Some of us will stay in Truckee North Tahoe and inevitably some of us will leave. But while weand#8217;re here, we each need to do something that leaves a mark. Start something. Build something. Tear something down. Become a legend. Become the talk of the town.and#8221;
These words were part of remarks from a presentation I made at the Tahoe Truckee Leadership Programand#8217;s graduation ceremony a few years ago. At the end of next week, I move to Bend, Ore. And, while I hope that my work at Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation has left a mark, the much bigger mark is the one that this community has left on me.
Working at Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation has given me the opportunity to experience deep generosity and deep commitment to create community. The Tahoe region is a community composed of people who are passionate about where they live and how they live.
The fact that so many in this community give themselves and their resources to strengthen and vitalize our community says a great deal about the community, its values and its priorities. It speaks volumes about what this community is all about. In truth, this community will be as strong as the spirit that supports it.
Our community does not speak with one voice. Thatand#8217;s what makes it great. We have hundreds of people running off in hundreds of directions supporting the issues, projects and activities they believe are important. Itand#8217;s chaotic, but it works. Nothing creates a better opportunity for success than the sense that you are truly in it together, as equal partners. If you think about it, what more is a community than a collection of people? We are people who care enough to explore where we agree and where we disagree and still come back to lift glasses together. And, itand#8217;s in this chaos that Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation finds its mission.
Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation exists with great flexibility and freedom, accompanied by increasingly significant resources. And TTCF can often do what others cannot: take risks, foster innovation, explore novel ideas and approaches. While it is both easy and tempting to focus on easy issues and areas that are measurable, we know too well that doing so can lead us to ignore and#8212; at great peril and#8212; the more intractable and challenging issues facing our communities.
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Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation will always focus on keeping the great things in the region great and#8212; great trails, beautiful lakes and a welcoming community. However, the foundation increasingly focuses on helping those with the least in the region. These include and#8220;basic needsand#8221; grants to organizations such as Project MANA, Tahoe Safe Alliance and the Family Resource Centers. It also means focusing precious scholarship dollars to students with the highest financial need. Our aim to open the doors of access and opportunity for everyone, particularly those in greatest need. It is, as you know, work that is never done. Itand#8217;s by turns humbling and exhilarating, frustrating and inspiring, work that is in short, work worth doing.
As I leave this great community, let me end with a blessing. It has been an enormous privilege to be associated with a philanthropic institution such as Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. I consider myself blessed to have done this work in this community. The gifts of community and generosity are ones that so many of you have given to me. I will cherish them and carry them with me.
Lisa Dobey is executive director of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation.