REACHing Out: Seeking Community Support

The generosity of San Benito County residents sets a positive trajectory into the future!

This article was contributed by Valerie Egland with R.E.A.C.H.

R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation is but one of the over 150 nonprofit organizations in San Benito County. What it tells you is that hundreds of people in our county community have seen a need and made the effort to fill it, did the work, and made the county a better place to live. Over 30 of these are working with Community Foundation for San Benito County to fundraise May 15, online at San Benito Gives.

Developing a ‘nonprofit’ requires applying for 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation status through the California Secretary of State. The state requires the nonprofit to perform as a business with all the piles of paperwork, rules, and regulations that go with it. There is nothing simple about organizing a ‘nonprofit’ to do good in the community, much less keep it going!

R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation was wisely conceived by the SBC Parks and Recreation Commissioners as they created the Master Parks Plan for the county in 2012. Creating a nonprofit that could not only raise funds, but be a receiver of endowments for the public parks and facilities became a goal. By 2014, Paul Rovella and a small group of parks supporters had formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation.

In the last four years, the R.E.A.C.H. board has partnered with other organizations to get a sense of where the basic park needs are, beyond the larger needs of raising funds for a Regional Park and a modified River Parkway. Community parks, paths, trail adventures and projects, support to the wellness sector, and advocacy for future needs are the R.E.A.C.H. focus.

The mission of R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation is to support outdoor adventure and health, raise funds and advocate for more and improved, sustainable parks and recreation facilities, bike ways and trails, programs, and services, insuring healthy living for all in our San Benito County community.

Toward this mission the Board considered that people need something to be able to find parks near them conveniently, like a ‘keeper-card’ to easily get a feel for where the parks are. Convenience creates incentive to get out in the open to explore, adventure, refresh and play. This project required hours and hours of planning, designing, justification, accounting, grant pursuits, USPS nonprofit status requirements, funding, and delivery. It was a long road with a very happy ending as 23,000 cards were sent to households in San Benito County!

Nonprofits do the hard work of getting grants to pay for providing extra services to the community where our governments cannot. Huge work and commitment is required to justify, document, and verify community needs. Service to the community is the nonprofits baseline agenda.

Giving to your local nonprofits makes your dollars go as far as possible in the community, efficiently and verifiably, supporting what you believe in.

May 15, take advantage of the fact that the Monterey Peninsula Foundation has given matching granting opportunities with the Community Foundation for San Benito County. On the website, you can choose what you support, know that it is secure, and feel the sense of belonging that comes from giving to your community out of the goodness of your heart. Your donation small or large will be so appreciated in the community, no matter where you live in it.

Valerie Egland

R.E.A.C.H. San Benito Parks Foundation Board of Directors and Facebook page: REACH San Benito Parks Foundation

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