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Truckee family donates $250,000

SHERRY MAYS

Truckee residents Ernie and Tom Grossman donated $250,000 to the Truckee-Tahoe Community Foundation and an additional $10,000 for operating expenses in a fund named “The Grossman Family Fund for the Performing Arts.”

The foundation announced the father-son philanthropic duo as its second largest contributors since its inception in February during the final moments of the foundation’s Founder’s Party Tuesday night at the North Tahoe Conference Center.

“We are committed to our community,” Tom Grossman, a developer and member of the Truckee Planning Commission, said. “The foundation was an excellent way for us to make sure our money went back into the community.”

Giving back and insuring the communities’ future were the focus of an inspirational speech given by the Bay Area’s Sterling Speirn, president of the Peninsula Community Foundation and chairman of the League of California Community Foundations.

Since its founding in 1994, the league has provided a statewide mechanism for partnerships and collaborations among the state’s community foundations. The 20 current members of the league manage a combined $2.4 billion in permanent charitable assets.

“Philanthropy is becoming popular,” he said. “It’s exciting stuff.”

With the assistance of technology powerhouse and outdoor enthusiast William Hewlett, the foundation was created in February.

The foundation will establish a permanent charitable endowment for local needs. An additional $125,000 was used for the start-up of the foundation and for initial operating expenses. At the foundation’s “kick-off” party, it was announced that Hewlett would match all foundation donations up to an additional $1 million.

Just one week after the establishment of the foundation an anonymous Truckee resident made the foundation’s first substantial donation of $100,000, which was matched.

The endowment, including interest has reached $1.95 million with matching funds at about $625,000.

“We are well on our way to the foundation’s goal of $10 million,” Porter said. “We are well out of our infancy.”

Speirn and Monroe Group Consultant Helen Monroe equated the growth of the endowment with the growth of a child.

“The Truckee-Tahoe Community Foundation is past its early childhood,” said Monroe. “It is in its early adolescence.”

Speirn and Monroe also emphasized ways the foundation can aid the community both in the receiving and granting of funds:

— it is a standing institution with an infrastructure in place to match donors with recipients.

— it provides a new resource for meeting needs within the community.

— it creates a new focus on community philanthropy.

— it creates a generalist institution without limitations.

— it creates a vision, leadership and passion to provide for the community’s future.

“Everyone is born generous,” Monroe said. “Not everyone is born with an understanding of philanthropy.”

Speirn compared Ted Turner’s $1 billion philanthropic donation to the United Nations and the mission of community foundations.

“I solve the world’s problems right here in my own back yard,” he said. “That is what every donor has the opportunity to be part of.”

Walter Hewlett and sister Eleanor (Hewlett) Gimon said their father, William, is excited to be a part of the Truckee-Tahoe foundation.

Hewlett, who has been a longtime area preservationist, is best known for his land donations to the state of California. He and his family gave the land surrounding Meeks Bay to the state and Walter sold the land in Cold Stream Canyon to the state in an attempt to help preserve the value of the Emigrant Trail found there.

“One day he (William) just said, ‘Let’s start a community foundation in (the) Truckee (area),'” Walter said. “This area means a lot to us. We have been a part of the community for a long time.”

Foundation board members

The foundation’s boundaries reflect the Hewlett’s involvement in the community. They reach from Truckee and Donner Summit to Squaw Valley, West Shore and North Shore. It is also without restrictions, which means there are no parameters which dictate where funding will be given within the community.

Boardmembers include Linda Brown, representing Northstar; Tahoe City businessman Roger Kahn; Truckee’s first mayor Kathleen Eagan; former Truckee mayor Breeze Cross; Phil McKenney, executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association; recent North Tahoe “Man of the Year” Dave Ferrari of Kings Beach, Stu Feigin of Northstar; Truckee’s Ernie Grossman, president of the Lake Tahoe Summer Music Festival; Cindy Marsh, co-owner of Truckee-North Tahoe Materials; Nancy Richards, Truckee Planning Commission member; Craig Poulsen, developer and longtime Squaw Valley resident; and Bill Briner, former California State Parks director.

The foundation’s board of governors includes Walter Hewlett, Bill Newsom, a retired Bay Area judge with ties in Tahoe City and Squaw Valley; Donner Lake’s Susan Briggs, a Bay Area attorney with McClutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enerson; Nick Chickering, a Nevada City Realtor and part-time Donner Summit resident; Randy Verrue, Resort at Squaw Creek general manager; and Dave Loeb, owner of Countryside Mortgage Co. and part-time Squaw Valley resident.

For information about the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, call Jim Porter at 587-2002.

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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