With so many important and worthy causes all over the world, how does one choose which ones to benefit? How do you and when you do start? The answer is: Start where you live and do it on May 6.
Tuesday, May 6, is National Day of Giving and the El Dorado Community Foundation has organized “Give Where You Live,” a day of local giving, with more 40 non-profit agencies from El Dorado Hills to South Lake Tahoe participating.
“We had the opportunity to join in a regional effort for Day of Giving, but, in talking to our community partners and staff, there was a strong desire to tell the story of our own community and not be dependent on a regional effort to do it for us,” said EDCF Executive Director William Roby.
You can donate to your favorite organization any day, but on May 6, EDCF makes the giving easier by putting more than 40 local non-profits all in one place on their Website at edcf.org. To support the community efforts, the El Dorado County Office of Education, free of charge, built Web pages for each of the non-profit organizations.
“Our intent for ‘Give Where You Live’ is to increase the awareness of non-profits in our area and the services they provide and introduce them to new donors,” said Roby.” What we’ve learned through this process is the diversity of need in the community and how phenomenally well we work together in the fabric of community.”
“We are really excited about ‘Give Where You Live’ ” said Shannon Bezak of Hope House, a transitional living program. “This will raise awareness and open people up to the idea of giving with many different ways to give and organizations to give to. We are thrilled to be working with EDCF on this.”
“Day of Giving is a new concept and we’re glad EDCF is taking the lead role in it,”said John Adams, director of CASA El Dorado. “We were able to procure a commitment from the Wells Fargo Foundation for a match of $10,000, so we’re hoping to reach $10,000 in donations. When people donate to us, they aren’t donating to CASA — they’re donating to the community.”
“Give Where You Live” is an extension of what EDCF does year around. Established in 1990, EDCF is a public charity dedicated to making philanthropic giving as effective as possible to improve the quality of life in El Dorado County. “We have a community that is rich in giving,” said Roby, “Giving is in our nature as humans, but often we don’t know who or what to give to. We (EDCF) provide a platform for people to discover their passion.”
Another aspect of community giving is pooling resources. “As an individual, you may not feel empowered enough to make a change in the community, but if you combine your $25 gift with 100 other $25 gifts, you can make an impact. Never think your gift doesn’t count,” said Roby. “It does.”
EDCF pools funding and invests and administers funds. Each year they grant hundreds of thousands of dollars to support humanitarian, educational and cultural organizations in El Dorado County. Last year, EDCF gave out $868,450 in grants and this year, for the first time, they will grant out $1 million.
“When I became director in 2008, we had $6.2 million in assets; now we have $13.4 million,” said Roby.” That’s phenomenal growth for any foundation, especially with the economy as it has been. We administer over 200 funds now and to pull that from a county with only about 180,000 souls. We are doing work that is the envy of much larger foundations. We’re helping to direct people to where they can assist someone else.
“We all reach a time in our lives where we have perspective and we want to feel our footprints won’t just be washed away and lost,” said Roby. “We’re providing a platform to make a footprint that will last for generations to come.”
To participate in “Give Where You Live,” visit eldoradocf.org on May 6 and click on “Give Where You Live.” Find the organization you wish to support with your charitable donation and follow the directions to give your gift.
Alternatively, people may drop off donations for their favorite charity at the foundation office at 312 Main St. in Placerville, at any El Dorado Savings Bank , at Madroña Winery or text 55000 with MORE in the message body.
“We’ll take cash, stocks, credit cards, land, buildings, cars — anything you want to give as a gift, we will find a home for,” promised Roby. “This is our first attempt at doing ‘Give Where You Live’ and it’s both exciting and nerve-wracking. We look forward to doing this every year and getting better and better at it.”
Participating local non-profit organizations in “Give Where You Live” include: Ag in the Classroom; All About Equine; Assistance League; Barton Foundation; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe; Boys and Girls Club Western Slope; Bread & Broth; CALSTAR; Cantare Chorale; CASA El Dorado; Case Made Garden Foundation; EDC Fire Safe Council; El Dorado Arts Council; EDH Vets Memorial Park; Friends of El Dorado Trails; Friends of Seniors; Friends of the Veterans Monument in Placerville; Hands 4 Hope; Hangtown Haven; Hope House; League to Save Lake Tahoe; Live Violence Free; Marshall Foundation; MORE; NAMI EDC; New Morning; Partners in Care; PAWED; Placerville Art on Parade; Placerville Downtown Association Flower Basket Program; Progress House; Rubicon Trail Foundation; Schnell School Garden of Learning; Sierra Community Access Television; Sierra Law Enforcement Chaplaincy; Snowline Hospice; Sugar Pine Foundation; Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp; Tahoe Arts Project; Tahoe Youth & Family Services; the Center; the Hub Connection Inc.; United Outreach; Women’s Fund El Dorado/Lighthouse.