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Sonora Area Foundation FAQ

So often I am asked those questions regarding the who, what, where, when and why with regards to Sonora Area Foundation. The following represents four questions for which I am most frequently asked:

  • What is a community foundation? Community Foundations are grassroots charities – publicly supported non-profit organizations set up to receive, invest and distribute charitable donations on a local level, in accordance with Internal Revenue Service laws and regulations.
  • Who runs the Sonora Area Foundation? Our Foundation is administered by a nine member volunteer Board of Directors which is comprised of individuals that have been selected for their knowledge of community needs. The day to day operations of Sonora Area Foundation is handled by a staff of three. Lin Freer is the Grants/Program Manager, Cathi Nies is the Finance and Administration Manager and I serve as the Executive Director working for the Board which provides policy direction.
  • What assurances do donors have regarding the accountability of their funds? Annually, the Sonora Area Foundation hires an independent firm to conduct its audit. In addition, the Sonora Area Foundation has a Finance Committee which is made up of Boardmembers, staff and community professionals who meet on a quarterly basis reviewing financial returns with regards to its many investments. In addition, the Finance committee reviews the Sonora Area Foundation operational budget, which is then approved by the full Board. Our Foundation has a very thorough check and balance process in place to ensure maximum over-site of its investments.
  • How much money is available for awarding grants on an annual basis by the Board of Directors? The Sonora Area Foundation Board has allocated $600,000 of discretionary funds for the 2011 calendar year. Grants applications can be found on our web-site ( Every other month the Board awards grants to qualified non-profit and public agencies. Grants are competitive, and are awarded to worthy project that help improve the quality of life for Tuolumne County citizens in the areas of education, human services, recreation, arts and the environment.

Sonora Area Foundation is here to help, by giving our community, individuals, families, businesses and non-profits a way to channel charitable gifts to local needs, now and into the future. Our Foundation is very proud to play such an important role in helping to improve the quality of life and help build the future of our community.