Nonprofit Spotlight: Community foundation helps those who are working to help themselves

A little bit of help, at the right time, can go a long way. After making 9,000 grants totaling more than $120 million, thanks to a generous community, I can unequivocally say that all help is not equal. Much of the Community Foundation's most effective giving comes in the form of scholarships and other support to a highly motivated individual during a critical phase of their life. One way the Community Foundation is working to help those who are working to support themselves is through the formation of a Community Housing Land Trust, and the development of the Village on Sage Street, an affordable transitional housing community that will offer more than 200 people a new living arrangement. By providing housing at just $400 per month, all inclusive of utilities, we will help people of all ages to improve themselves. With a modest rent, they will be able to live independently, to pay down debt, to acquire transportation, and to afford higher education, if that is their goal. Humans need to have a safe, warm home to be able think about and work on the next steps to reach their goals. Slated to open by April, weather permitting, about 200 people have signed up to move into the Village on Sage Street. Their ages vary from 18-70+, and more than 70% of the applicants work for a living. These are people who work at low paying jobs, and who have a regular income, albeit small. Investing in their future by providing low-cost housing will pay huge dividends to them, and our community. We are excited to see how this new housing option benefits people in our community, and where they go, once they accomplish their goals while living at the Village on Sage Street. Will they find a better job with better pay as housing becomes less stressful? Will they be able to purchase reliable transportation, or perhaps take better care of themselves? We don't know the outcomes for the future residents, but we will soon find out. What better investment can we make than helping motivated people to get ahead? Joining the Community Foundation's effort to help people to help themselves are the City of Reno, Volunteers of America, Q & D, Summit Engineering, Helix Electrical, and dozens of donors. Partnering makes the Village on Sage Street a community, built by a community. Whether we are trying to get started in life, trying to restart during midlife, or perhaps have been able to accrue lots of assets, it's good to ask for help when needed. I feel like I'm preaching to the choir when I talk about how hard work pays off, but there is nothing like the feeling of being independent, of providing for yourself, your loved ones, friends, and the community. Another way the Community Foundation helps people to help themselves is by providing the Family Estate Planning Series conducted in a partnership between KNPB over the past decade. The Family Estate Planning Series has also been a community project. Dozens of local professional advisors have volunteered their time to teach, and dozens of local charities have sponsored the cost of marketing and materials for the program. The word is out about this free Series, and I can't recall ever having seen a personal planning program as effective or as highly rated as this one. Whether you have lots of assets or just a few, the legal process when we die is the same. This free (yes, free) class provides a roadmap so you can decide how best to handle your affairs. It will save you money because when you speak with a professional advisor, you will be prepared and efficient. Most importantly, nobody will solicit you, you won't receive any sales pitch, you will receive written materials and samples, and you will learn not just about how to do your planning, but also about how others have planned and learn more about our community. At the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, we relish the opportunity to help people who want to help themselves. Scholarships, the Village on Sage Street, and the Family Estate Planning Series are a few of ways we do that. This work is made possible by generous people in the community who provide us with the honor of helping them with their philanthropy and entrust the Community Foundation to be a steward of their charitable giving, now and forever. This article was written by Chris Askin, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, which sponsored this content.


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