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Donor Funds Helping Our Community

If you’ve been a reader of this blog, you may remember that I’ve noted that we hold approximately 180 donor funds at the Sonora Area Foundation.  Donor funds have flourished as an efficient, cost-effective tool for smart charitable giving in Tuolumne County, addressing a wide range of charitable needs.

Donor funds are an easy way to invest in our community.  For example, we hold agency designated funds that serve the specific interests of ATCAA, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of Tuolumne County Library, WATCH, Sierra Repertory Theatre and Support Sonora School, just to name a few.

We have field of interest funds that benefit education (Elinor F. Brown Fund or the J. R. Christensen Family Fund, as examples), medical/wellness (Mother Lode Wellness Fund), or eye care needs (Tuolumne County Eye Care Fund) as examples.

Approximately 40 funds are known as designated funds, which support specific purposes. Examples include covering the expenses for the non-medical care of ill children (Wings Fund); support for science, technology, engineering and math education (Tuolumne County STEM Fund); back to school shopping spree for children in need (Kiwanis Childspree); or providing success for youth at risk (Lucille Arnold Fund).

The Foundation’s fastest growing group of donor funds is scholarship funds.  These funds help to address the needs of our graduating high school seniors and students at Columbia College.  Often created in memory of a family member or friend, scholarship funds help to carry on a legacy of doing good works in the community by assisting the generations that will follow.

Finally, there are the donor advised funds, established by individuals, families or businesses seeking to make lasting commitments to the community, as well as those with the financial resources looking for an alternative to a private foundation.  Donor advised funds serve to promote thoughtful charitable giving, increasing the bottom-line impact of those charitable dollars in the community.

Your tax deductible contributions to donor funds help the Foundation in its mission to strengthen our community.  In 2013, donor funds accounted for over $800,000 in grantmaking by the Foundation, benefitting students, organizations and activities like those identified above.

A complete list of donor funds held by the Foundation can be found on our website at  Or, keep an eye out for our spring newsletter that will be available at the end of May.  The newsletter will include a complete list of donor funds, along with a couple of stories about donors and funds helping to meet local charitable needs.