Inaugural Give Back Tahoe campaign raises $124,000 for nonprofits |

Inaugural Give Back Tahoe campaign raises $124,000 for nonprofits

Stacy Caldwell and Michael Gelbman
A look at the cover of the hard copy of the inaugural Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide, a partnership between the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and Sierra Sun.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — This year, the Sierra Sun and Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation came together to launch the inaugural Give Back Tahoe Giving Guide, a combination of a printed directory featuring local nonprofits, and an online giving portal to facilitate collective giving.

The Holiday Giving Guide took place during that busy time of year with the precise intention of inspiring a new holiday tradition of giving back.

Sierra Sun’s Thanksgiving edition showcased the Giving Guide’s beautiful hardcopy booklet with letters from the guide’s partners and sponsors, and the missions and year-end requests of each participating nonprofit effort.

The online campaign, part of Give Back Tahoe, kept a live count of gifts and donations, where donors could track the progress of their favorite nonprofits.

Throughout the weeks, everyone involved reached out to increase numbers of potential donors with innovative and creative campaigning strategies.

For Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, the guide helped us promote our nonprofit community and the activities that make our community more effective, creative and caring.

For Sierra Sun, it provided a chance to showcase to all our readers the depth of work and focus our local community has. Ultimately, we all wanted to attract more resources to advance these missions.

In many ways, the Giving Guide evolved from the “Give Day” concept that promotes a day of giving in communities all around the world.

A single day of giving just isn’t compatible with Tahoe’s unique tourist and second homeowner population. But a SEASON of giving during the holidays, when Americans are most generous — well, that made sense for Tahoe.

From Nov. 21 through Dec. 31, 2014, through a six-week campaign, we highlighted 60 nonprofit efforts in the Giving Guide across seven categories of community service: Animal Welfare, Arts & Culture, Community Improvement, Education, Environment, Human Services, and Youth Development.

For the initial year, we tempered our expectations for the new program and anticipated the participation of 30 nonprofits and $30,000 in donations.

We are ecstatic to have completely eclipsed those numbers. With this kind of momentum, we plan to do so much more in the future. Here are the highlights:

• We received 277 gifts and collected $81,872.

• The average gift was $328.

• Almost 20 percent of the gifts were first-time gifts to selected nonprofits.

• 18 of our featured nonprofits secured matching gifts, which leveraged an additional $42,960.

• Therefore, a total of $124,832 was infused in our community.

• More than $10,000 will be given to the Community Foundation’s competitive grantmaking (Gifts for Good) and will eventually reach even more nonprofits.

We are so grateful for Tahoe-Truckee’s generous response to the giving campaign. Thank you to everyone who gave to our community!

We want to thank our sponsors of the printed guide: Trinkie Watson, Chase International; Wolfdale’s Cuisine Unique Restaurant; Auerbach Engineering Corporation; Truckee Tahoe Airport; Cabona’s; Hansen Management & Maintenance; and Northwestern Mutual.

If you missed all the fun, take a look at, or stop by the offices of Sierra Sun or Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation to pick up a copy of the beautiful printed Giving Guide.

In the coming months, Sierra Sun and TTCF will collaborate on a weekly featured page in the Sun on “Give Back Tahoe,” where we will continue to tell the stories of the nonprofits and impact work happening in our community.

So stay tuned, and we hope you will be as inspired as we are.

— Stacy Caldwell is CEO of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. Michael Gelbman is publisher of the Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza newspapers. Reach them at or to learn more.

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