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Nonprofits rely on loyal support in tough times

By: Veronica Blake Placer Community Foundation
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When times get tight and budgets get stretched, everyone starts looking for ways to extend their dollars beyond clipping coupons and brown bagging it for lunch. From the corporate boardroom to the home office, companies and individuals are keeping an eye on how they can make their money go further without severely impacting quality of life. Nonprofit organizations are no different. These organizations support the arts, protect the environment, provide shelter to the homeless, care for unwanted animals, foster and educate our youth and provide services for seniors. All of them need your loyalty now more than ever during these tough times. One of the main charters of a nonprofit is to outline ways to make the greatest impact with every donated dollar so that vital community programs and services can continue, especially in an economic downturn. For a community to continue to thrive and meet the needs of the many, organizations rely on consistent, loyal support, so they in turn can offer that same support to those in our community with the greatest need. In tough economic times, some people question their ability to continue to give, or to even get started. That may require you to take a step back and ask yourself, Why is giving important? Many people wrongly assume that the government will step in and support local and community programs if donor support dries up. Sadly, this is not usually the case. Organizations rely on their loyal donors and supporters for resources to help them meet the needs in the local area. A good example of this collaboration in action is the combined efforts of the Placer Collaborative Network. The Placer Collaborative Network consists of more than 50 regional and county members invested in bettering their communities and actively working on solutions for issues facing children, adults, seniors and families of Placer County. Recognizing the need for affordable transportation to and from medical appointments, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital approached the Placer Collaborative Network for assistance in expanding Health Express. Health Express is a “last resort” transportation service that provides no- to low-cost transportation to residents in Placer County for medical appointments. There are no age or ability restrictions and appointments are made with a simple phone call. Currently, Health Express provides more than 400 rides per month.. “Expanding Health Express allowed us to meet a very vital and growing need for transportation services in Placer County,” said Candace Roeder, executive director of Seniors First.” This idea would not have gotten off the ground without the help of key funding partners: Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Placer Air Quality District and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. This effort really demonstrates collaboration at its very finest. We were all able to use our specific areas of expertise and combine them to improve the health of our community.” Another example of partnership in action is through the community’s support of Placer County’s The Gathering Inn. With aid from local churches, Placer County and the medical community, The Gathering Inn coordinates to provide dinner, overnight accommodations and hospitality for up to 50 homeless people each night during the coldest months of the year, mid-November to mid-March. The site of the hosting church changes from one night to the next with community and church volunteers pitching in to help. Making a difference in the world doesn’t have to happen far from home. From volunteering on a regular basis to pitching in at your favorite annual charity event, helping where you can is always appreciated. The minute you have a desire to help, you are taking the first step towards philanthropy. You can make a positive impact on those who need a helping hand by donating to a local nonprofit organization. For a listing of local nonprofit organizations or to find out how you can partner with a Community Foundation, contact Placer Community Foundation at (530) 885-4920 or visit online at www.placercf.org. Veronica Blake is the CEO of the Placer Community Foundation.