Philanthropy can have a profound impact on Truckee-Tahoe |

Philanthropy can have a profound impact on Truckee-Tahoe

Lisa Dobey/CEO of Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation

Bill Gates is following in my footsteps. I read he’s made a commitment to spending his working days engaged in philanthropy.

I always thought I had wandered off the beaten career path. How else can you explain a profession where you get up every morning and ask yourself “Who am I going to talk with today about making our community better?”

Now I find I’m simply trendy.

When you dwell in the world of charitable giving, you spend most days hearing the dreams and passions of people out to change the world. Altruistic people abound in Truckee-Tahoe.

Speaking of altruistic, scientists researched monkeys and 18-month-old children and determined both are biologically predisposed to be helpful and caring. You can read it for yourself in the March 3 edition of Science Magazine.

In some way, it makes sense. We know that the human race continues to change and adapt. The purpose of philanthropy is to be a change agent. As my friend Emmett Carson from the Minneapolis Foundation says, “I’ve never seen a foundation mission statement in which the founder says ‘use my wealth to keep the status quo.'”

Perhaps Bill Gates believes his success at Microsoft will be less important than his contributions to world health. Ultimately, dedicating ourselves to what we are most passionate about will allow us the freedom to be fulfilled by investing in humanity. As we received from those who came before us, we benefit those who will come after us.

Now I’ve really wandered off the beaten path and off the topic.

No one reading this column has the giving capacity of Bill Gates, but each of us has an idea on how to change the world. That’s where community foundations come to life.

At Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation, each individual, family, or organization we work with has unique charitable interests and unique financial circumstances. We help donors make the best of both, so donors receive the greatest return on their community investment.

Half of our donors are part-time residents and half are full time. Both groups are passionately committed to making positive changes in our region ” better health outcomes for children, a variety of housing options to allow people of all incomes to reside in the community, protection of our wildlife, literacy for everyone, or the integration of arts into the fabric of the region.

Our community is still small enough where people with vision, passion and a philanthropic spirit can truly make a difference.

Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation plays a leadership role by identifying critical issues, focusing the necessary resources and bringing key people and organizations together to address community problems. Your philanthropy can have a profound impact on this region in which we live, work, and play.

We may not have the resources of Bill Gates, but collectively we can wander off the beaten path, follow our passions, and invest the dollars into creative ideas that make a difference in our part of the world.

Lisa Dobey is CEO of Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation. Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation connects people and opportunities, generating resources to build a more caring, creative, and effective community. Lisa can be reached at 587-1776 or

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