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For Good. For Ever.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with some local residents and we discussed the purpose of a community foundation and the existence of the Sonora Area Foundation. As we were talking, one of the participants, who had been looking over my business card, asked about the Foundation’s slogan – “For good. For ever.” He then posed a question for me to respond to – “Explain how the Foundation is “For good” and “For ever?”

I noted that there are over 700 community foundations across the country – big (such as the Tulsa Community Foundation, the largest in the United States), small (numerous start-ups each year), and everything in between. There are common threads that run throughout community foundations. In our case they are the threads that are the basis of our mission in Tuolumne County – assisting donors, timely grantmaking and providing leadership on community issues.

The Sonora Area Foundation is “For good” because we seek to improve the strength of our families and communities. By assisting donors with their charitable interests, we can help direct their giving where needs may be present. Our grantmaking is significant for a small population in a rural county – over $17 million since our inception in 1990 meeting a wide range of social, educational, environmental and cultural needs. Finally, leadership on issues, such as publication of last year’s Community Indicators Project update, helps to continue necessary discussions about how best to serve our area.

So, how are we “For ever?” I have occasionally written about our founder, Irving J. Symons, and the legacy that he created with the Foundation. He provided the financial means for administrative costs to be paid for (thus, we do not charge any fees against the donor funds that we hold) and for a grant making program to always be in place to address local grant requests.

We are also “For ever” because of you – the greater community – who has embraced the idea of supporting a community foundation so that it exists “For good.” You have created or given to donor funds that support various designated activities, fields-of-interest, specific agencies and student scholarships. And you are there when the call goes out for a fundraising campaign.

The notion of being “For good. For ever” is something that we take very seriously at the Sonora Area Foundation. There is a special responsibility about being entrusted to advance the “For good” goals of a Board of Directors who first met 23 years ago this month and to fulfill the interests of our founder who wanted the best for his home town “For ever.”