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Local stereotypes aren’t always accurate

Lisa Dobey

I went to business school. I know that charging people for something they can get free is not a good business model.

Can’t you just imagine the first conversation?

“Hey boss, I have this great idea. Let’s bottle water and sell it. I bet people will pay $3 for 16 ounces.”

Let’s talk about Lahontan for a few minutes. It’s pretty safe to say that in the world of the haves and the have-nots, people who live or own property in Lahontan are firmly on the haves side. In a broad, stereotypical stroke, most are probably pretty good business people.

Now, I love a good stereotype as much as anybody, but it’s time to get past the Safeway jokes and take a look at what’s happening in this part-time community. Here’s a stereo breaker for you: Some people in Lahontan have cars as dirty as the full-timers.

Yes, they play golf in Lahontan. Actually, there is more golf played there than my little mind can comprehend. Nevertheless, over the past nine years, these mostly part-time residents ” many of whom have been coming to Truckee/Tahoe for generations ” have created a true community.

Here’s another fact you should know about Lahontan. Residents and property owners started the Lahontan Community Foundation as a way to give back to our community. Their spirit of being part of Truckee-North Tahoe led them to collaborate with Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation rather than create a separate structure. We, the people of Truckee and North Tahoe, and that includes Lahontan, too, benefit from a strong and healthy community.

This week, Lahontan Community Foundation gave away more than $130,000 to support education, volunteerism, the environment, and human services in our region.

I know those who are more blessed have a greater responsibility, but these folks are giving in their full-time communities as well as their part-time communities. Since Lahontan Community Foundation was established in 2002, property owners have given nearly $400,000 to support nonprofits in the region.

That’s a lot of money no matter how much you have. These gifts come from their own pockets ” it’s not a corporate gift, or homeowners dues, or transfer fees. It’s people who care giving back.

I bet you can figure out how they raise it. Yup, they hold a golf tournament. The kicker to this is that, as members of the golf club, Lahontanites play golf free. One day a year, however, they charge themselves to play, hold an auction, and then give away the proceeds. That’s right, they pay for something that’s free to them.

Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation works in the intersection of the haves and the have-nots. Some of those with money to give have tremendous wealth and have the foresight to use it to make significant changes in our community. More of us have a modest ability to give and our ability to make significant changes comes from the collective pooling of our charitable dollars with others to help those in need.

Some things you learn through experience rather than in b-school. Bottled water is a successful venture. So is charity at Lahontan.


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