Relief funds have raised, given more than $1 million to Lake Tahoe communities

LAKE TAHOE — While the coronavirus pandemic crushes Tahoe’s economy, several groups have stepped up to provide financial aid to residents and businesses of South Lake Tahoe and Incline Village.

Food banks around Lake Tahoe have stepped up to make sure the people in the communities are fed but with nonessential businesses closed and most service workers laid off, many people need help paying rent and bills.

Angel At Your Door Community Assistance Program

While federal stimulus money is meant to help people meet those needs, there has been a delay in receiving the money and some businesses were not accepted in the first round of small business loans.

“When we started to realize the size of the need, we knew extraordinary measures needed to be taken,” said Linda Offerdahl, Rotary Club of Tahoe-Incline former president

With the help of a large donation from the Dave and Cheryl Duffield Foundation, the club was able to quickly establish two grants programs, the Geno Angel Family Grants and the Angel Business Grant.

“The Rotary club is comprised of many exceptional people willingly giving of their time and talent,” said the foundation’s executive director Jerleen Bryant. “We appreciate that they have angel mentors able to work directly with applicants to determine need and eligibility.”

In addition their initial donation, the Duffield Foundation announced this week that they’d match up the $175,000 more. So far, the Rotary Club has raised an additional $100,000.

The Geno Angel Family Grant helps families in need, including single parents or homes where both parents were laid off. Those grants range from $500-1,000.

To date, $57,000 has been dispensed through that grant program and have helped 85 individuals and families.

Offerdahl said they’ve received, “an overwhelming response,” from the people they’ve been able to help.

“People have cried when they picked up their check and are grateful that they can pay their bills and that the Incline community cares about them,” Offerdahl said.

The Angel Business Grants are meant to help businesses that may have fallen through the cracks of getting small business assistance loans.

Scott MacDonald and Loren Holt, who oversee the business grant program said the program is meant to be available by any business adversely affected by the pandemic.

“To date, the Rotary Angel Business Grant Program has aided over 71 local Incline Village businesses and provided over $186,000 of business grants,” MacDonald said. “These businesses run the gamut from restaurants, retail shops, hair and nail salons to independent contractors, tour operators, etc.”

Even businesses that were able to stay open aren’t operating at full capacity and are still struggling but nonessential businesses are likely operating at a loss right now.

“Salons are particularly tough because they can’t make up that lost revenue,” Offerdahl said. “People can’t go get two hair cuts when this is over.”

Holt said some businesses who did not receive federal loans during the first round, applied for grant through the business angel grant. However, some of those businesses were given loans during the second round and returned their grants to the rotary club.

It doesn’t just provide financial help, MacDonald and Holt said that mentors and volunteers have been reaching out to landlords to get a temporary rent reduction for tenants.

They’ve also been mentoring businesses on the best way to utilize their grants and helping staff that have been laid off access aid.

MacDonald said they are planning to continue the programs as long as the need persists.

Learn more at

Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation

Not only has the foundation given a quarter of a million to the Rotary’s relief efforts but they’ve helped the community in several other ways.

“Dave & Cheryl Duffield love this community and the people in it,” Bryant said. “The financial support they are giving to so many local organizations is intended to ease the burden this crisis has created for so many of our residents”

DCDF donated $350,000 to the Incline Village Hospital for PPE, CT scanner, ventilators, drive through testing clinic for Incline Village residents, and the telehealth program.

They’ve also given $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club to help with the food distribution program for Incline residents and $20,000 to Sierra Community House for their senior emergency food delivery program.

They haven’t forgotten about the pets. They’ve donated to Maddie’s Pet Project of Nevada’s COVID-19 Emergency Animal Welfare Grant program. They donated free pet food to be distributed at Boys & Girls Club in Incline and Washoe County Animal Services and donated $265,213 in funds to 54 Nevada animal welfare organizations.

Finally, they donated a $270,000 grant to #SpayTogether which intends to provide discounted medical supplies and grants to animal shelters to help with the backlog of spay/neuter surgeries once the crisis is over.

Tahoe Family Solutions

Tahoe Family Solutions a family resource center for Incline Village.

In addition to offering counseling and education services, they also had an emergency fund for families in need.

Once the pandemic hit, they shifted their focus from education to growing that, which started with about $12,000 and distributing it.

“Its one to one distribution, all the coming in goes straight out to families in need,” said Tahoe Family Solutions Development Director Amy Guinan.

Since the pandemic hit, they’ve distributed $50,000 and helped over 100 families.

Each family gets up to $750 and it’s paid straight to a vendor such as a landlord, utility companies or food gift cards.

While the family resource center only serves Incline Village, this fund is available to anyone on the North Shore.

To apply, people must have a letter or other proof that they have been laid off or have had their hours cut.

Guinan realizes that even with states beginning to reopen, Tahoe’s summer will be no where near a normal summer.

“We’ll see a very strange summer,” Guinan.

They offered the fund for over a decade and Guinan doesn’t see them stopping the fund anytime soon.

“There has been no conversation of not continuing to do it,” Guinan said.

To apply for financial aid, call their office at 775-413-5145.

COVID-19 Response Fund

For 20 years, the Barton Foundation has raised money for state-of-the-art medical care but once the pandemic hit, they reacted immediately to create the COVID-19 Response Fund.

“The COVID-19 Response Fund will provide flexible and discretionary resources for community members facing challenges and financial hardship from impacts of the coronavirus, such as food delivery; support for front-line healthcare workers and first responders facing financial pressures with childcare; assistance for seniors and other vulnerable home-isolating patient populations; and resources to offer shelter and hygiene products for those in need,” a press release about the fund said.

“Over 90% of the applicants site food insecurity as the reason they are applying to the Response Fund,” said the Barton Foundation’s Executive Director, Chris Kiser.

Through April, the fund has helped nearly 300 community members in need and Kiser said the applications keep rolling in.

Because food insecurity has been such a prevalent issue, the foundation also started hosting a food drive. From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday they are collecting non-perishable food items at 2092 Lake Tahoe Blvd.

“The donated food will be used to replenish the food supply at Christmas Cheer,” Kiser said.

To learn more, visit

Tahoe Magic

Tahoe Magic is working with the El Dorado County Community Foundation to get financial aid to those who need it, especially those who might fall through the cracks because of their legal status.

“We’re working with undocumented families aren’t being financially helped at all,” said Wendy David, Tahoe Magic Co-Founder.

The foundation will vet the authenticity of the families’ needs then Tahoe Magic will give money directly to a vendor to pay for rent, utilities or other crisis needs.

Since March 30, they served 969 individuals and donated over $135,000.

“We have additionally provided $30,000 in Safeway gift cards to referring agencies,” David said.

To learn more, visit

Tahoe Together Community Support Fund

While most of these funds are helping businesses, families and individuals, there are very few funds helping the groups that help those people; the nonprofits.

In response to the COVID-19, the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation created the Tahoe Together Community Support Fund.

“We knew, because Tahoe is such a heavily driven tourist economy, the impact would be far-reaching,” said Claudia Andersen, Parasol’s CEO.

The fund initially raised $50,000 that they distributed to six organizations that are helping with food relief, financial support and hospitals. Since then, the fund has grown and has raised more than $300,000 for nonprofits.

Andersen said that like businesses, nonprofits are uncertain what their future will look like.

“The need is bigger than I think we can imagine at this point,” Andersen said.

They’ve helped senior programs, food relief programs, the Catholic Church to help deliver gift cards and many other groups.

“It’s really a fluid situation to try to meet the needs as they arise,” Andersen said.

To learn more, visit

The community has stepped up to help those in need and this is just a sampling of the work being done at Lake Tahoe.

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