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Taking A Look Back

Over the past 4½ years that I have contributed to this blog, every so often I take a look back at previous grants awarded by the Sonora Area Foundation to see how the grant funds have been expended.

You may recall that last year, in celebration of our 25th anniversary, we held a grant awards event at the Sonora Opera Hall we called 25 for 25. That event awarded 25 grants of $10,000 each to 25 non-profit organizations in the community with emphasis on services for kids.

For some of the grant recipients, the $10,000 grant was significant enough that it may take two or three years for the funds to be expended. For others, the grant funds came just at the right time for equipment purchases, program materials and scholarships, or for general use just to keep the doors open.

For example, Kiwanis of Sonora used the entire grant to support its August event, Childspree. Each year the event, held in conjunction with Wal Mart, provides for deserving kids in our community a back to school shopping spree for clothes and school supplies.

Or, there was the Senior/Youth Partnership, who expended about half of their grant funds in support of their project, the Sonora School of Sewing. The school, located on N. Washington Street, benefitted from new computers and the provision of scholarships for students.

There was Sonora Water Polo who purchased goals, caps, and bins for balls; Tuolumne County Aquatics who purchased sweatshirts for a swim meet; High Country Sports Arena’s purchase of new in-line skates; or Woods Creek Little League who purchased equipment, created an online website for registration, and paid for field maintenance.

One of our favorites was the Special Olympics of Tuolumne County who purchased uniforms, provided transportation, meals and equipment from the grant. Foundation Board members Tracy Russell and Bob Ozbirn, along with their spouses, were honored to attend the annual dinner for Special Olympics and to meet our local athletes.

And let’s not forget about Big Dreams Accessible Playground, who added their grant to their fund raising efforts to construct a fully accessible playground in Tuolumne City.

The idea of taking a look back is that it can be instructive for how we look forward to the future. The above organizations just scratch the surface of the number of similar organizations that provide not just for our kids, but for our broader community as well. As we move into the future, they will continue to need not just our financial help but your help as well.

If you think you would like to help and need some ideas where to start, give me a call at 533-2596 or e-mail me at