In October 2009, as El Dorado County became aware of their growing homeless population and started the task of providing assistance to them, the El Dorado Community Foundation was there. Through the generosity of the Lee Bennett Family of El Dorado Hills and Tom and Judith Dillon of Placerville, the Fund for the Homeless was created at the El Dorado Community Foundation.
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Simultaneously, the foundation began convening organizations who were struggling with procedures, policies and emotions to find some direction if not answers.
“The key to meeting any challenge in a community, is convening like-minded people who can clarify the need and then work collaboratively toward solution,” said Bill Roby, executive director of the foundation.
The foundation board of directors, grants committee and staff have spent many hours with these like-minded people and to date, have made effective, knowledgeable grants totaling over $150,000 to nonprofit entities for services and programs for our local homeless families and individuals. These grants have provided:
• Start up and support funds for the Community Resource Center
• Emergency Housing vouchers for hotel accommodations through United Outreach
• Counseling and re-entry services at United Outreach’s Grace Place location
• Housing for single mothers at Hope House
• Funds for necessities for school children through the Placerville Unified School District
• Housing for women and children escaping domestic abuse through Tahoe’s Live Violence Free organization
• Operating costs assistance for Tree House Ministries
• Patient support for the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)
• Funding for Tahoe Magic – a nonprofit providing warm clothing for school children in the Tahoe basin
Several new grants that warrant highlighting are:
• $1,000 grants to each of the five churches providing winter shelter, compassion and friendship through the Nomadic Shelter program without any compensation.
• $10,000 to assist Tahoe Youth and Family Services provide a safe, warm place for the influx of homeless young adults without family support or employment.
• $19,600 to cover the costs of contracting a grant writer, without whom El Dorado County would not have the ability to apply for much-needed Federal HUD money.
The mission of the El Dorado Community Foundation is “to strengthen our community now and for future generations,” so their work does not end here. Currently, the foundation is working closely with f Placerville Mayor Wendy Mattson and Green Valley Church to further fine tune the programs and services available in El Dorado County for our homeless population.