Simple concept packs a very powerful punch (opinion) |

Simple concept packs a very powerful punch (opinion)

Pam Hagen
Tribune Guest Column

In the fall of 2014, a small, mixed group of women met in a living room in the South Shore Lake Tahoe area. They were introduced to the concept of “collective giving” from Bill Roby, executive director of the El Dorado Community Foundation, and Kathy Haven, a Tahoe resident and known “mover and shaker.” They thought it might work. And so that small initial group formed the founding cabinet and began their journey.

Today, a pool of about 200 women on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe have banded together to form the Tahoe Women’s Community Fund at El Dorado Community Foundation (TWCF). The concept of collective giving is simple — small gifts added together for the purpose of giving larger, more impactful gifts. To create the TWCF, each donor committed to a yearly gift that fit their giving capability. That commitment allowed them to establish an endowed fund that will generate dividends for granting into perpetuity. In addition, it gave them $22,000 to grant back to nonprofit programs and services in the Lake Tahoe Basin in this first year. Requests for grant proposals went out in April. The founding cabinet met to vet eligible organizations’ applications and then offered those contenders up to all donors for the opportunity to cast their vote to determine the final recipients.

In June, a generous, excited group of 180 women (and men) gathered at the Tahoe Beach Retreat & Lodge to network and to hear from their very first grantees.

Haven currently serves as the TWCF co-chair with Wendy David, and she spoke these words to the attendees: “I am truly amazed and truly proud to be part of something so grand, so wonderful and so strong in its first year. When Bill Roby approached us to start this ‘women’s fund,’ we had no idea the meaning it would give us, as individuals and as a community. I didn’t truly believe that such a simple concept could make such a big difference, but you all have shown me the true power of ‘collective giving’ and I now do believe.”

Representatives from the following organizations came to join the celebration, accept their respective grants and gratefully acknowledge the generosity of this group of donors.

For the Focus Grant in the area of Children and Youth: Bread & Broth 4 Kids, weekend food program;

For the Impact Grant in the area of Poverty and Housing: Tahoe Coalition for the Homeless, The Warm Room;

For the Impact Grant in the area of Mental Health & Wellness: Tahoe Turning Point, Co-occurring Disorder Treatment;

And for the Impact Grant in the area of Education & Literacy: LTUSD (Bijou Community School, Sierra House Elementary and Tahoe Valley Elementary), Reading resources and books.

There is no doubt that “giving is good for the soul,” and that goodness grows exponentially when it is combined to make a bigger difference. Having now experienced that fact first hand, the Tahoe Women’s Community Fund cabinet and membership is looking forward to growing and giving for many years to come.

The Tahoe Women’s Community Fund will kick off its second grant giving cycle on Oct. 12 with a Membership Celebration at Harveys Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino from 6-9 p.m. Tickets will be available for purchase up until Oct. 7 for $25 for any community member interested in attending and learning more about the TWCF at fall-membership-dinner-tickets-27320937660. This dinner will celebrate the 169 members of this past giving cycle, and push forth for renewing membership and increasing our membership so that we have more funds to give as a collective group this coming year.

We look forward to providing community organizations and programs even more than the inaugural $22,000 this coming year.

The El Dorado Community Foundation is a recognized 501(c)(3) in the state of California and all gifts to them or to any of their nearly 200 funds is a tax deductible donation. To learn more about the work of The Foundation, you are invited to visit their website at: . To learn more specifically about the Tahoe Women’s Community Fund, you are welcome to visit their website at: , or contact Kathy Haven at

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