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Three Observations for Three Years

As I prepare to close out my third year at the Sonora Area Foundation, I’ve taken some time to consider the journey thus far. During that period, I’ve written over thirty blog articles for this space about the Foundation, assisting donors, grant making, our community, giving back and making a difference. As I looked back over some of those blogs, I came to appreciate how much has been accomplished, while equally understanding that we have only scratched the surface.

What’s the take away for me? Here are three observations that floated to the top:

* Although the Great Recession technically ended some time ago, our County has continued to be in recovery mode. Progress has been made within our local economy but sometimes the increments of progress can feel quite small. The nonprofit sector has been especially affected, dealing with recessionary impacts while at the same time being asked to shoulder a bigger burden through an increased demand for services.

* Last month, we conducted a meeting with several local organizations who feed the hungry and homeless in Tuolumne County. As we discussed their programs, there was a clear call and need for volunteers. That’s because volunteers are the life blood of a nonprofit – as a Board member, helping to staff an office, or assisting in service delivery, as examples. You can help and it’s only a phone call away.

* This may seem a little too honest, but the underlying factor to it all is money. A nonprofit can have a great program, the best of volunteers and good intentions. Without financial support, whether through grants or donor contributions, a nonprofit can be left sitting in low gear, making little progress. To a certain extent, that’s where the Sonora Area Foundation comes in – making good grants to our local nonprofits, whether on a proactive basis, through our competitive program, or from donor funds held by the Foundation. The goal is not about throwing money at a problem but assisting those programs that help us best meet our mission and commitment to our County.

One more thing – it’s been a very fast three years. I’m not sure whether it’s a function of being busy that makes the time go by quickly or the fact that I’m just getting older. Probably a little bit of both.

What I do know is that the Foundation has some very exciting things on the horizon for which the Board, staff and I are pleased to be a part.

I invite you to continue my journey with me – let’s just make sure to not let it pass too quickly!