Auburn, Calif. – I’d like to tell you about John. He needed help. Back surgery caused by his construction job left him on limited disability and, with “10 inches of steel and 8 bolts going through his spine,” he had little to no prospects for work. To survive and pay rent, all of the family’s available assets were expended until eventually they “lost it all.” They came to the Gathering Inn, a local nonprofit that provides shelter and resources to help people transition out of homelessness. But the organization itself was struggling to meet increasing demand.
As many as 517 homeless people access the Gathering Inn seeking shelter on a given night. Even more alarming, up to 15% of these are children. More people with varying needs means greater operational costs. The organization’s Staff and Board came to Placer Community Foundation for financial assistance. After thoughtful discussion and review, we approached our donors and pooled their gifts to provide for a $35,000 matching grant to support their operations. While certainly not a permanent fix, this grant goes a long way in helping people like John get a fresh start. Today he is attending Sierra College with the goal of becoming a probation officer.
“We came to the Gathering Inn because it was one of the few shelters that would take in the whole family,” says John. “My situation has given me so much compassion. I want to be a probation officer to work with high level security children. I want to work with the children that other people say there is no hope for.”
This story – alongside the countless others like it – demonstrates the tremendous impact and unique importance of community foundations in this country. From November 12 to 18, we celebrate Community Foundation Week, our chance to share and reflect on these stories. Though you may not yet know your local community foundation, you’ve likely felt its impact.
That’s because Placer Community Foundation and more than 780 other community foundations across the country help to bring donors and residents together. The community foundation unites their efforts behind the efforts that will help the places we call home continue to flourish and grow.
As a trusted leader, Placer Community Foundation focuses on issues that affect everyone. We partner with county agencies, nonprofit organizations, and local businesses to advocate for affordable and workforce housing, the revitalization of local economies in our downtown districts, and to promote healthy communities with access to transportation, open space and a myriad of vital programs that support the well-being of all our residents.
As we enter the giving season, America’s generosity surges. Millions of people from every background will be looking to give back to the communities that have supported them. They’ll also look to ensure that their heartfelt giving – however they choose to give – will have the most impact. That’s why so many of them will choose to give to a community foundation.
Giving to Placer Community Foundation is an investment in the future of your community. The funds will go to work immediately supporting vital services, but they will also provide sustained support for years to come. We like to say that community foundations are “here for good.” At Placer Community Foundation we don’t think about the next election or business cycle, we think about the next generation and the next after that.
That can seem a daunting task, but it’s one that we all share. During Community Foundation Week, I hope you’ll join us in recognizing our collective impact and the difference we can make together.