In the Nonprofit Know


Welcome back to Owl Post, where I show you how to become a bona fide Truckee/Tahoe citizen — by keeping up with local goings-on through newsletters — and taking action, big or small.

With the holidays and the more formal giving season behind us, it’s important to remember that our local nonprofits still need our help. Not sure where to start? The Give Back Tahoe website,, which is run by the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, is a great place to read short summaries about what many of our nonprofits do in the community, as well as to see photos, find out about volunteer opportunities, and give to multiple nonprofits at once.

If you really want to learn more about an organization, sign up for its email newsletter and start to get to know it. Find out about what it is doing in the community, its successes, and its needs. Does it value having volunteers at its one big event of the year or does it need someone to show up every week for a few-hours shift?


Your help makes a difference. Whether it’s dropping off a winter jacket your kids grew out of during the holidays coat drive, picking one day a year that you recruit friends or family for to join you in a volunteer effort like Truckee River Day, committing to a weekly volunteer job, or sitting on a board, our nonprofits need you. Vested community members are valuable, whether you have a lot or a little time or money to give.

Given that we live in a small community, one might think the range of needs or opportunities is limited. That is not the case! A little bit of time spent learning about our nonprofits and you will see.

I found it challenging to pick just a few organizations to feature here. My choices reflect my personal interests. In some cases, I admire what the organization does in the community and am just getting to know it. In others, I’ve supported the group for over a decade.

Environment: Mountain Area Preservation

If you’d like to help preserve our region’s incredible landscapes, then Mountain Area Preservation is an organization to consider. To date, it has helped protect 6,000 acres of land. And it’s done it by engaging us to aid in its efforts.

Sign up for its email newsletter and you’ll receive “action alerts” with clear steps on what you can do to help and when you need to do it, whether it’s showing up for a meeting or making a public comment on a document. Don’t have time to read a 500-plus page Environmental Impact Report? Well, MAP has read it for you and summarized key points to consider for your feedback.

Social Support: Sierra Community House

Sierra Community House has a big mission to keep our Truckee/North Tahoe community sheltered, nourished, safe, and protected. If you’re thinking that covers a lot, that’s because it does. The group is doing the work of what used to be four separate nonprofits just a few years ago. Its website features intimate and compelling personal stories of the community members it has been able to help. While its email newsletter will keep you informed about its fundraising events such as the Father-Daughter Dance, Community Yard Sale, and Chocolate and Wine Festival, the most compelling recent edition featured a video showing the impact of the group’s work in the community, narrated by its dedicated staff.

LIBRARY-IN-WAITING: Fundraisers are using this artistic rendering to show what the new Truckee library could be. Courtesy image

Education: Friends of the Truckee Library

Gone are the days when libraries were just places for books and story time. Today’s libraries not only build communities, but also serve as their heart. They are safe, accessible, equitable, and inclusive places where people can meet, use technology, and find resources. Yet, in Truckee we don’t have one big enough to accomplish those things in the way our town deserves. This is where Friends of the Truckee Library comes in — its LibraryUP campaign is focused on making the dream of a new, bigger, modern library for Truckee come true.

In its newsletter, available in English and Spanish, you’ll really get to know the organization and the people who run it, plus the community members who support its mission. The newsletter has all the usual event and fundraising information you’d expect it to, but what makes it stand out is how it conveys a sense of the passion in our community for making this happen.

The Arts: Truckee Roundhouse

This is our region’s makerspace. While it’s a great place to use tools, technology, and machines that are too big and expensive for the average person to have in their garage, it’s much more than that: create and collaborate; learn a new craft; make some repairs instead of buying new; meet your fellow community members.

Sign up for its newsletter to find classes in wood, metal, ceramics, technology, and textiles shops. And, make sure to attend the yearly Makershow to see our local artists’ work on display or in action.

Business: Tahoe Silicon Mountain

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the nonprofit I helped co-found 12-plus years ago, Tahoe Silicon Mountain, which is all about cultivating curiosity, innovation, and entrepreneurship through community events such as the Tahoe Pitch Showcase, a Shark Tank-style event put on in partnership with the Sierra Business Council. In the most recent event, we had three pitches from high school students who were encouraged to actively participate in our events at no cost alongside business owners and professionals.

Sign up for the newsletter to know where and when to show up, and look for me volunteering at pretty much every in-person event.


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