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Historic Roots

Sonora Area Foundation: Never Forget Your Historic Roots!

What a privilege it is to be able to work for a Community Foundation that has such an extensive history in serving the needs of our community.

One must ask the question how a vision becomes a reality. As the late Paul Harvey would say, “every person has a story.” Our story begins with a vision that the late Irving J. Symons and his late sister Elaine Symons Baker had in establishing a legacy for charitable giving in Tuolumne County. Their vision, coupled with Dr. Dean Cunningham’s (at the time Columbia College President) knowledge and expertise of establishing a community foundation was seen as providential. In 1990, Sonora Area Foundation came to fruition. Creative vision, knowledge, hard work and the Symons charitable funds were the key ingredients in establishing the foundation. With the firm foundation laid it has enabled Sonora Area Foundation to become the successful philanthropic organization it is today. Often we do not appreciate nor fully understand during the planning and development phase of birthing an organization as to what the major outcomes will be. It is during those months and even years of the pain-staking work in forming an organization that determines whether the organization will be successful or not. Without question, the hard work, vision and knowledge has paid a great dividend for our community.

Now, even more exciting is what Sonora Area Foundation will be tomorrow and for years to come. As many of you know, especially in the non-profit world, in order to sustain an organization, funding is the key ingredient. Thanks to Irving and his sister Elaine and the guidance of the Board of Directors and staff through the years, the financial sustainability of the Sonora Area Foundation has been firmly secured as a result of very prudent and careful financial planning.

A real advantage that I have had is being able to watch the growth of the Sonora Area Foundation. My observations over the years have seen a very dedicated staff and Board of Directors establish an incredible track-record for charitable giving which has positively impacted so many different segments of our community. In my former occupation as City Administrator for the City of Sonora for almost 21 years, I saw Sonora Area Foundation as very special entity serving the needs of Tuolumne County. Now that I am serving as its Executive Director, I am even more impressed with the innumerable ways that Sonora Area Foundation and its Donors continue to give back to our community through charitable giving.

I am sure that Irving and his sister Elaine would be moved beyond words to see their legacy, vision and philanthropic efforts continue too produce so much fruit from their many years of labor. Let us never forget the historical roots that were so deeply planted which have now grown such a successful community foundation.