Vicki Kahn: Tahoe Fund launched at the West Shore Cafe

Vicki Kahn
Special to the Sun
Vicki Kahn/Special to the SunSen. Dianne Feinstein shakes hands with Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery as TRPA board chair and Tahoe Fund board member Allen Biaggi looks on.

When she was a young girl, Dianne Feinstein attended summer camp at what is now the Tahoe City Golf Course. At 16 years old she biked around the entire lake. She and husband Richard Blum vacation at the lake every summer. So it’s no surprise that Tahoe is a special place for her. Last Sunday, Aug. 15, she, along with local community leaders, VIP’s, philanthropists and friends of Lake Tahoe helped set afloat the new Tahoe Fund, a bistate nonprofit foundation dedicated to building a sustainable future for Lake Tahoe.

The celebratory event was held at the lakefront West Shore Cafe and#8212; an auspicious occasion with the restaurant just recently being purchased by JMA Ventures (JMA also owns Homewood Mountain Resort, Alpine Meadows Ski Area and the future Hotel Avery in downtown Truckee) and closing escrow only two days before Sunday’s gathering! Employees of JMA’s extended family went the extra mile working around the clock oiling teak furniture, planting flowers, and generally spiffing up and readying the restaurant for the reception of about a hundred guests.

It was a classic, gorgeous Tahoe summer day as several board members of the new Tahoe Fund spoke to guests against a beautiful blue backdrop of Lake Tahoe, explaining the new fund’s mission: to partner with public agencies in building a sustainable future for Lake Tahoe. Then Feinstein, dressed casually in a white cotton pantsuit, spoke, re-iterating the importance of the new nonprofit foundation, urging guests to get involved and write a check.

and#8220;When the private sector responds it inspires the public sector to respond,and#8221; emphasized Feinstein.

Situated within two states, five different counties, and a patchwork of local, state and federal agencies, Lake Tahoe has definitely faced its share of management challenges. Based on the proven models of the Yosemite Fund and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy which have raised tens of millions of dollars in coordination with their public agency partners, the Tahoe Fund, composed of leaders from both California and Nevada, will afford a common vision from which to build a sustainable future for Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe Fund will seek to raise funds for projects such as recreation and public access like linking together the current patchwork of trail networks around the lake, for restoring key watersheds, improving wildlife habitat and protecting the clarity of the lake, for supporting projects that develop walkable, bike and transit-friendly communities, as well as helping to accelerate the basin’s conversion from a development and casino-based economy to a sustainable ecotourism economy. The fund will also help educate, inspire, and build a stewardship of the lake’s natural and cultural resources. At the end of the event, Feinstein put her money where her mouth was by writing the first check for the fund. For more information go to The West Shore Cafe is scheduled to open to the public around Labor Day weekend.

Tahoe Fund board members attending the reception included President Cindy Gustafson, Roger Wittenberg, Tom Mertens, Art Chapman, Allen Biaggi, Roger Kahn, Cory Ritchie, Jim Boyd, Chuck Greene, Jim Lawrence, and Patrick Wright. Others at the afternoon event included TRPA Executive Director Joanne Marchetta, Ray Lacey of the Tahoe Conservancy, Linda and and#8220;Hoopieand#8221; Hoopingarner of JMA, Wally Auerbach, Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery and Dan Gomez, Richard Blum, Tom Martens, Nancy and Dr. Charles Goldman, Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation CEO Lisa Dobey and Debbie Cole, Tahoe Maritime Museum founders Polly and Tom Bredt, Colleen Chapman, Todd Chapman of JMA, League to Save Lake Tahoe board chair Robert Damaschino and wife Nancy, Ardith and Howard Marguleas, Fritzi and Bill Briner, Patricia and Robert Ronald, Chaco Mohler of the Tahoe Quarterly, Lynn Olson (Dave was in Pebble Beach at the Concourse d’Elegance), Uli Schmid-Maybach and Danielle Bersen, Barbara Perlman and Andy Whyman, Carol and Mike Sabarese, Larry Sevison, Margaret and Ben Solomon, Maja Thaler of Sandbox Designs, JMA Vice President David Tirman, and Steve Merrill.

and#8212; Vicki may be reached at

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