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ATCAA Food Bank Donation

ATCAA Segerstrom Grant

A Segerstrom Fund Matching Grant has resulted in $20,000 of donations to the ATCAA Food Bank.

“Giving Tuesday,” the day that for many marks the start of the holiday giving season, brought a memorable gift to Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency’s (ATCAA) Food Bank: a $20,000 check from Sonora Area Foundation.

Sonora Area Foundation (SAF) representatives on November 27 presented a check to ATCAA executive director Raj Rambob, food bank director Deni Avery and board chair Lloyd Schneider at the nonprofit’s Jamestown Food Bank.

The donation was spurred by a $10,000 matching gift offered by Kate and Charles Segerstrom from their SAF fund in memory of Kate’s late mother, Marlee Powell, and her long-time support of ATCAA. Powell passed away on January 24, 2018 at the age of 85.

Powell, a Sonora resident since the early 1990s, was very active in local government. She served on a committee that created Sonora’s Hillside Preservation Ordinance, joined the Sonora Planning Commission, was elected to the city council and served a term as Sonora’s mayor (2002-2004). Her work for the city came to a close in 2005 when she resigned from the Sonora City Council, citing the desire to devote more time to “political and social issues as well as spend time with friends,” according to

The breadth of Powell’s local involvement and volunteerism demonstrated the depth of her community-mindedness. Some of the organizations she supported included the Motherlode Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, the Sierra Business Council and ATCAA.

ATCAA, through its offices in Jackson and Sonora, promotes community resiliency and self-sufficiency through more than a dozen programs and services, including its Tuolumne County food bank. The food bank offers emergency food assistance as well as food programs that target children and seniors.

These programs were at risk this spring when the nonprofit experienced a funding shortfall due to loss of a federal Community Services Block Grant. SAF’s Board of Directors in May stepped in with a $50,000 donation to help keep the food bank open.

The foundation’s November grant comes as the food bank is in the midst of its annual holiday food basket program. ATCAA distributes holiday dinner foods to those in need before both Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, monetary and food donations enabled the nonprofit to distribute Thanksgiving baskets to more than 2,000 families.

In addition to donations, the food bank relies on volunteers such as Powell, a “kind-hearted, generous” woman, according to ATCAA Food Bank employee Joi Reeves.

“Marlee and her smile are missed here at the food bank. She would pop in on us just to lend a helping hand or words of encouragement,” notes Reeves. “Marlee will always have a special place in our hearts. Our community has certainly lost one of the ‘greats.’ ”

The Segerstroms sought to honor Powell’s generous service by offering a matching grant through the Charles and Kate Segerstrom Family Fund. The $10,000 goal was met by contributions from the following SAF funds: AVA Fund (Dr. Ariana DeMers), Black Oak Casino Resort Community Fund, Boyd Family Fund (former SAF board member Celeste Boyd and husband Bill), Comazzi Family Fund, Dierker & Ferro Fund, Donald A. & Elisabeth Weber Fund, Helm Family Fund and Vanier Family Fund.

While the holidays and year’s end often inspire philanthropic pursuits, Sonora Area Foundation stands ready year ’round to partner with individuals, organizations and agencies to help them achieve their charitable goals through the establishment and management of donor funds.

ATCAA Segerstrom Grant II
ATCAA Segerstrom Grant II