The El Dorado Community Foundation breaks new ground by picking up the pieces of the fallout of federal and state funding through grants to fund critical senior services in El Dorado County. A total of $43,00 to fill the gap in funding left behind in the wake of state and federal budget cuts is being granted in the interest of protecting older adults.
A grant in the amount of $32,000 has been approved for the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office through the El Dorado Community Foundation’s Older Adult Services Fund. The grant was accepted by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors at their Nov.1 meeting.
This grant is designated for the purpose of subsidizing the costs associated with employing an investigator whose job will be to assist the District Attorney’s Office in their pursuit of bringing to justice those who would abuse, neglect and/or exploit older adults. The job of the investigator is critical to the prosecution of abuse cases; it is this person who wears the “badge” and does all of the labor intensive legwork to obtain the necessary evidence, without which prosecution cannot happen.
Lois Patrick, board member and Grants Committee member at the El Dorado Community Foundation, said the need for this service was brought to the Grants Committee by Bill Roby, executive director of the foundation. It was clear to the committee, as Roby cited case scenarios that were brought to the county but never prosecuted due to lack of funding, that the county was leaving some of its most vulnerable citizens open to attack with no recourse.
“Our one concern was to ensure that if we approved this grant, it would be used only for the purpose it was intended — to fund an investigator who was dedicated to this task,” Patrick said.
Roby reports that a memorandum of understanding has been signed by the District Attorney’s Office that addresses this concern and sets the guidelines of the foundation’s funding purpose.
Historically, the funding for the investigator has come from vehicle license fee monies divided amongst numerous California agencies. One of those agencies is California Emergency Management Agency, which then administered some of its funding to the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office for use in the Elder Abuse Assistance Program. Over the last year, this funding stream has become stressed and has put the investigator position in jeopardy.
The second grant from the El Dorado Community Foundation is really two-fold. The Women’s Fund El Dorado, a fund under the umbrella of the foundation, received a grant request from El Dorado County’s Senior Peer Counseling Services in the spring grant cycle. Donor members voted to fund $2,000 to this program. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that $2,000 was not enough to allow the program to continue. It was then that the Grants Committee stepped in and made the decision to make up the deficit of $9,000 with an additional grant from the Older Adult Services Fund.
“It is imperative that we be aware of these changes and take action,” Roby said.
Nationwide, it is being recognized that philanthropy can play an important part in providing community services. David Zelinsky, active member of the Elder Abuse Prevention Council, explained, “All of the players need to be aware of the blessings these grants provide and know their limitations. We need to find some way to keep these services sustainable.”
The premises upon which the El Dorado Community Foundation was founded is that a little bit from a lot of people can make a very big difference and, if that money is put into high yield investment pools available to community foundations with the majority left in endowments to build and grow, our grant potential will grow exponentially.
“It’s a power-packed win-win scenario” said Roby, “and it’s working very well.”
With 2010 grants totaling nearly $650,000, the impact is clear. In this community of generous, caring, community-minded people, the foundation members feel strongly that positive change can happen.
Gifts of any amount any time can be made to the Older Adult Services Fund at the El Dorado Community Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization of the Internal Revenue Service.
For more information contact the foundation at (530) 622-5621 or visit eldoradocf.org.