In my previous career as a Community Development Director, I always liked the word “leverage” because I feel that it accurately describes how a community operates. The aspect of taking a limited resource – whether its cash, people or materials – and effectively utilizing that resource so that other resources can be introduced to successfully implement a project can be very satisfying. In an era of limits, being able to leverage resources can be critical to the success or failure of many a venture.
This is especially true in the non-profit world. Many non-profits have experienced reductions or elimination of traditional resources, leaving them to scramble to respond to needs. Fund raising has become more creative; no stone has been unturned by providers in seeking out donations of food and clothing; volunteer support has never been more important.
As a grant maker, the Sonora Area Foundation regularly sees examples where leverage has a lot to do with the project or program being presented to us for funding. This month, the Foundation was a minor funder for a project that was already successful by the time it came to us. The simple ways that the project leveraged resources to make it a success says a lot about our community.
The Sierra Quilt Guild of Tuolumne County is a non-profit organization with a 20+ year history in our community. Recently, Guild members Nancy and Larry Bertuccelli of Bearly Quilting took the lead on a call to make comfort quilts for the survivors of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Contributions of time and materials came in from individuals and businesses, and the dedicated volunteers went to work. In the end, over 400 quilts were assembled and shipped to Connecticut, for which the Foundation made a small grant to help pay for the shipping. To learn more, take a look at www.bearlyquilting.net.
It was leverage that helped to bring the people and materials together locally to make a difference across a continent. The same type of difference is being made every day in Tuolumne County by dedicated people and organizations using all of the leverage that they can muster to implement worthy projects and programs.
You can help! Each of us has an opportunity to use our personal leverage right now. If your passion is feeding those in need, eliminating homelessness, protecting the environment, supporting the arts or any other cause, you can choose to help halfway around the world or just down the street.
Give me a call at 533-2596 or stop by the office and see me. Let’s discuss how leveraging your resources can make a difference in our community.