I just spent the past year preparing for an event that only lasted three hours, but whose impact will be felt for generations to come. As a board member and chair of The Community Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Gala, I worked with a small group of dedicated volunteers and creative and hardworking staff members to not only celebrate the work of the foundation, but to honor models of philanthropy in our region and raise funds for our Youth Grantmakers program, a program that teaches philanthropy to high school students. Our theme was: Celebrating Philanthropy Then, Now, and for the Future.
Then…The Community Foundation serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties was started by philanthropists Charles and Clara Brouse as a scholarship distribution committee in Riverside in 1941. Now with over $94 million under investment and stewarding over 380 charitable funds, it has grown to be the oldest and largest community foundation in the region.
Now…Honoring the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN) and the philanthropic tribes of Inland Southern California was an easy choice. The tribes of TASIN have donated millions in recent years to create opportunities for community-based organizations helping the less fortunate and those in need, positively impacting the cities and counties of Inland Southern California. They uphold the traditions of giving and community service and they continually share their good fortune with the local communities through a spirit of philanthropy that runs deep in the roots of their collective cultures.
For The Future…The celebration raised awareness and funds for Youth Grantmakers, a program that was created to empower youth to address issues important to them by participating in grant making. Through this program young people become active agents of change, preparing them for responsive community leadership and philanthropic service. Since its inception, 150 Youth Grantmakers have awarded over $200,000 to nearly 100 non-profits that serve young people. In 2012 the Youth Grantmakers program expanded into the Coachella Valley, the City of San Bernardino, and the High Desert. At Saturday evening’s gala I was honored to announce that the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians has opened a Native Youth Grantmakers Fund with a founding gift of $25,000. In total the gala raised over $115,000 for all Youth Grantmakers programs.
Our vision at The Community Foundation is a “vibrant, generous, and just region with unlimited opportunities.” As a concerned community member and resident of this region, I know there is much work to do to fully achieve that vision, but with organizations like The Community Foundation working to build a culture of philanthropy in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, we are helping create a thriving community for future generations. The organization is “Here For Good.”
The Community Foundation gala at the Riverside Convention Center on October 15, 2016. Photo by Rodrigo Pena Photography.