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Nonprofits have taken hit during downturn

By: Veronica Blake, CEO, Placer Community Foundation
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The current economic downturn is having a major impact on every aspect of our community. Placer County’s nonprofit sector has been especially affected and weighs particularly heavy on our minds at the Placer Community Foundation. This sector has a strong influence on our community’s quality of life. The services it provides are invaluable to all of us. Services like caring for seniors, the homeless, abused and neglected children and animals, protecting the environment and preserving open space, educating our young people and creating a sense of community with arts and culture. All are essential to our community’s fabric and must be sustained. Earlier this year, we partnered with the Nonprofit Resource Center and community foundations in the Sacramento Region to survey the sector and find out how the current economy has affected nonprofits and what changes they were contemplating this year. The results have prompted our board to host a series of Town Hall Meetings to discuss “Navigating through Challenging Times.” The meetings are free to participants and are sponsored by the Placer Community Foundation along with other community-minded partners including: the Teichert Foundation, Placer County Health & Human Services, Propp, Christensen & Caniglia CPAs and the city of Roseville. The purpose of the Town Hall Meetings are for participants to receive tangible, hands-on, solution-oriented tools that they can take back to their organization to help them effectively carry out their missions during these difficult times. Building stronger nonprofits in Placer County is at the core of our Community Foundation’s grant making programs. We have carefully invested in the growth and development of more than 30 community-based organizations. Through our grant programs we provide support to raise awareness and address causes affecting the arts, environment, animals, health and human services, children and youth, education and community development. Since 2006 the Placer Community Foundation has made grants through its two distinct programs: the Technical Assistance Program, and the Arts Initiative. Two recent reports summarizing these programs highlight how the Community Foundation has utilized modest-sized grants to garner big results within the community. To download copies of these reports visit our Web site at www.placercf.org. With three years of experience managing this type of grant making, we’ve learned that our investments in these two programs are indeed merited. Overall, respondents have stated that the Technical Assistance Program is a unique resource that strengthens their organization. Additionally they acknowledged that the funding has been critical to their organization’s success. The results of our Arts Initiative, which began with funding from the James Irvine Foundation, so far demonstrate that the arts play a critical role as a community builder and greatly benefit the social and economic development of a region. Therefore, we remain committed to sustaining and growing nonprofit arts organizations, while increasing the visibility of their programs to our local communities. Providing grants to nonprofit organizations that have measurable and desirable outcomes are the type of activities our donors and grantee partners expect to see when working with us. At Placer Community Foundation, we feel privileged that our funded partners are willing to work alongside us to carry out this work. For specifics on the upcoming Town Hall Meetings or to learn how you can help the nonprofit sector in Placer County, visit our web site or call me at (530) 885-4920. Town hall meeting What: “Navigating Through Challenging Times” meeting will focus on fundraising When: Noon to 2 p.m. Friday, April 17 Where: Maidu Community Center Meeting Room 1, 1550 Maidu Drive, Roseville Cost: Free Register: Sign up at the Web site, www.placercf.org