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The Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation envisions a region known for engaged community. As Tahoe's largest community foundation, we are committed to improving the quality of life throughout the Lake Tahoe basin and empowering donors in meeting their charitable passions.
Promoting collaboration has been one of the keys to success for the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation, a catalyst for change in Incline Village and the Lake Tahoe Basin. Established in 1996 by Carla Hanson and Warren Trepp, this Incline Village community foundation is essentially an umbrella organization -- hence the name, Parasol -- with a mission to be a unique foundation that serves the Lake Tahoe community by promoting non-profit collaboration and philanthropy.
The Foundation is housed in the $6.6 million Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit Center. In this beautifully planned, purpose-built building, non-profit organizations come together for the common good -- sharing office and meeting space, services, resources and ideas. Land for the building site was granted to the Foundation through a long-term lease by the Incline Village General Improvement District (IVGID) for a nominal dollar per year fee. The rent may seem low for such a valuable piece of land in this community, but IVGID had the foresight and vision to understand the importance of the Foundation's mission -- promoting philanthropy and non-profit agency collaboration for community wellness. The Foundation must demonstrate on an annual basis to IVGID the positive impact of its endeavors.
Through its donor funds and grant opportunities, as well as the operation of the building, many educational, environmental, cultural and social service needs of the community are being met. In 2006, the Foundation directed more than $2.1 million toward community non-profits. In addition, $1,000,000 in-kind donations and support grants were provided to the non-profits of the Parasol Tahoe Community Collaboration.
"The Parasol Tahoe Community Collaboration members are the Feet on the Street," says Bill Horn, IVGID general manager. "This Collaboration has facilitated the creation of a great many successful initiatives and events throughout its four teams." The Collaboration, working through four subcommittees or teams (Arts and Culture, Social Services, Environment and Education and Youth Development) make a difference in the quality of life throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin. Eight local non-profits have administrative offices in the Donald W. Reynolds Center. These resident agencies -- along with over 40 other community, nonresident organizations -- make up the Foundation's action component.
Last year, the Arts and Culture team created the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival's new Midsummer Nights performance series. With performances by Nevada Opera, Sierra Nevada Ballet, TOCCATA and Chautauqua, the Midsummer Nights series "was a flagship for what collaboration can accomplish," says Catherine Atack, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival's executive director.
In 2006, using a $7,500 grant from the Foundation, a new, efficient and effective way of creating social change for good was implemented by four of the Collaboration's social service team agencies. Project MANA, Tahoe Women's Services, Sierra Recovery Center and the Children's Cabinet at Incline Village encouraged families and individuals who received their services to register for guidance from a family advocate. A family advocate guides applicants through the various programs and services that are used to develop positive change. Ultimately, the families are empowered to improve their own lives and to give back to the community through volunteer opportunities.
The Collaboration's Environmental Team is a leader in community environmental awareness. A welcome packet helps new community members navigate the complexities of best management practices (BMPs) in landscaping as well as other issues dealing with residing in an environment much like a National Park. Through a foundation grant, the welcome packet will soon be available online.
The Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation is a social enterprise catalyst. In partnerships with many donors, new and innovative collaborative programs continue to be developed and implemented making the dream of a better community for all a reality.
Excerpted, in part, from "Tahoe Dream Factory" by Elisabeth Korb, Festivals of Tahoe 2006.
- Linden McCoy
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