Queen of Hearts fund gives first grants | SierraSun.com

Queen of Hearts fund gives first grants

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun Flora Buscemi, clinical supervisor at Tahoe Forest Hospice, gets into her car outside her office in Truckee on Tuesday.

They haven’t reached their $1 million endowment goal yet, but already the Queen of Hearts are giving away thousands.

An anonymous donor contributed $50,000 to the Queen of Hearts Women’s Fund this fall, and earmarked $25,000 for immediate granting.

“Because of the gift, we were able to make an inaugural grant, which was a great way to get our feet wet,” said Martha Simon, donor relations manager for the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation and the driving force behind the fund. “We learned a lot and the women involved gained so much knowledge about our community.”

Members of the fund voted to give two grants, one for $13,000 to Tahoe Forest Hospice to purchase a new vehicle, and one for $12,000 to the Nutrition Coalition to improve physical activity programs for young children.

“We asked the [voters] to really consider our goal ” to fund things that will have a big impact on the region as a whole,” Simon said. “This was a way to address two separate projects, one for issues at the start of life, and one for issues at the end of life.”

Wendy Lewis, director of Tahoe Forest Hospice, said she applied for the grant because reimbursing staff for mileage on personal vehicles is getting to be too expensive, and by purchasing a new service vehicle, money saved can be reallocated to patient needs.

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“It will save hospice money and allow for palliative chemotherapy and radiation services,” Lewis said.

Hospice’s 13 employees currently share three service vehicles and everyday log nearly 100 miles each caring for clients in Sierra, Plumas, Placer, Nevada, Washoe and El Dorado counties, Lewis said.

The Nutrition Coalition, a regional organization that promotes healthy living, will use its grant money to hold a training for child care providers to address appropriate physical activities and nutrition for preschool-aged children.

“Survey data from Nevada County First Five said that obesity prevention was a top concern, and that children across all socioeconomic levels are not getting the appropriate amount of activity for their needs,” said coalition coordinator Maria Martin.

Twenty to 25 area child care providers will learn creative ways to keep children active, and some will receive age-appropriate exercise equipment such as yoga mats and hula hoops, Martin said.