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Style Magazine

Placer Community Foundation

Aug 01, 2014 03:06PM ● By Style

Alan Osterstock, Betty Hagerman, Martha Gannon and Karen Coates – Photography by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

As America worked to rebuild following the Great Depression, so, too, did the Beecher family. In 1948, they purchased a parcel of land in Auburn that they recognized as having great potential for future development. Their vision for a private foundation that would serve the people of their community was decidedly ahead of its time, but the Beechers were undeterred by detractors. Following a series of setbacks, they eventually opened the Auburn Community Foundation. Nearly 60 years later, its board of directors gathered to restructure what is now known as Placer Community Foundation (PCF)—a non-profit community corporation—in an effort to support its mission of growing local giving.

“PCF is a resource for donors who are seeking to achieve their philanthropic goals,” explains its CEO, Veronica Blake. “We work closely with our donors to fund projects that better our community, such as providing a laptop to every foster youth in the county and supporting the purchase of a refrigerated mobile food pantry that can deliver fresh produce to locations around Placer [County].”
Throughout its history, PCF has monitored community needs in the arenas of arts and education, the environment, and health and human services. Armed with that knowledge, its expert team advises both individuals and businesses about their numerous giving options, including the creation of scholarships, supporting organizations, tribute gifts and operating endowment funds, which serve to directly support PCF’s work in years to come. PCF staff then invests contributions, in order to reap maximal rewards for the community at large.

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Back Row: Rose Ruiz, Julie Tharalson, Darlene Spurgeon, Alan Osterstock, Eduardo Barranco and Jamee Horning Bottom Row: Eileen Speaker, Anna Rosabaum and Pamela Lee Galloway

“Our Community Needs Fund is a permanent, unrestricted fund created to improve the lives of all our residents,” Blake adds. “Its flexibility allows us to respond to priorities as they arise in our community.” Among the many initiatives that fall under the umbrella of the Community Needs Fund is one specifically dedicated to supporting other local nonprofits through technical-assistance grants, hands-on workshops, and the highly successful Nonprofit Board Leadership Summit. With more than $11 million in total assets, and nearly $5 million in cumulative grants to date, it’s no surprise that other organizations wish to learn from PCF’s sterling example.

“It is our goal,” shares longtime PCF Board Member Ruth Burgess, “that we will have many people increase their giving in their lifetimes so they can feel the satisfaction of knowing that they are [not only] contributing to places in which they live, but will also make gifts through their estate plans, to ensure future generations enjoy the same quality of life that they worked to establish.” For those interested in supporting the venerable foundation’s work, Blake suggests including PCF in an estate plan or joining the Giving Circle, a program that aims to establish a grant for local youth.
“I feel fortunate to be doing a meaningful job that I love,” she says. “I’m proud to come to work every day because [we do] so much to affect our community positively.”

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