Anne Morris and Paul .jpg

On Sunday, August 25, The Community Foundation for San Benito County held a cocktail reception at the Paicines Ranch for those whose efforts are improving our community.

San Juan resident, Anne Morris, was recognized for her 10 years of dedication and service to the Community Foundation including time on the Foundation’s Grant Committee. She thanked the Foundation for “10 years of fun, 10 years of working with wonderful people and 10 years of learning about the needs of the people of San Benito County.”

Approximately 100 people gathered on a beautiful San Benito evening. Ranch owner Sally Calhoun gave the visitors a tour of the renowned ranch buildings.

Former Silicon Valley Community Foundation President Peter Hero gave a presentation comparing the beginnings of the Community Foundation for San Benito to his beginnings with the Silicon Valley Foundation, stating that it took his foundation 25 years to reach it’s first $1 million dollars in endowment, but now it has $1.2 billion in assets.

He suggested 5 ways community foundations serve the community.
1. Advocate for the Non-Profit Section, keeping money in the community
The foundation can help donors know who is making the most difference, and “Who’s doing what?
2. Connecting donors to the community. Connecting people who care, with causes that matter.
3. Connecting donors to donors. Getting people to work together to donate towards a cause and doing something they couldn’t do alone. Community Foundations can build coalitions of donors.
4. Build Culture of Philanthropy. Giving back to the community.
5. Optimism. He quoted John Gardner, founder of Common Cause, who said, “I think what we have are breathtaking opportunities, disguised as insoluble problems.”

Kerry Tobias and Don Pidd of the San Benito County Historical Society, explained that the assistance provided by the Community Foundation was much more than the money they were granted. They were encouraged to think bigger. They had requested money to rebuild the Dunville dance hall. The building was blown down in a freak windstorm in 2006. They were encouraged to approach their donor base for fundraising and the $10,000 they thought was impossible to raise for their matching grant was raised in three months. They also were encouraged to also apply to the Monterey Peninsula Foundation from just recently awarded them $20,000. The Society now has the funds for the materials to finish rebuilding the historic dance hall.

Bob Martin of CASA spoke about the impact that receiving a grant from the Community Foundation had on his nonprofit organization. He explained that CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. The program provides mentors to children as officers of the Dependency Court. He told the gathering, “There are two courts for children, the Juvenile Court and the Dependency Court. Dependency Court is for children who had to be taken from their families for their own well being.”

He told those gathered that CASA Advocates speak on behalf of the child. The Foundation’s grant enabled CASA of San Benito County to stand on it’s own after being under the umbrella of the Monterey CASA organization. There are currently 29 advocates and 100 children in San Benito County, though there are probably more who are not in the system. CASA’s  goal is to serve all of those children. He was thankful that the Community Foundation for San Benito County was helping them to meet that goal.