Why do we have a West Marin Fund?

The West Marin Fund was created in 2010 to increase charitable giving in West Marin.  Because the Fund focuses on the welfare of coastal West Marin’s communities as a whole, it has a much larger scope than any individual nonprofit.  As such, it is a place for donors who love and want to be part of the fabric of the West Marin community — but may not want to limit their support  to any particular nonprofits — to make their contribution to the life of the area.

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Coastal West Marin is a special place, cherished by all who live or visit here. From the ocean vistas of Muir Beach to the rolling ranchland of Nicasio to the pastoral landscapes of Tomales, its natural beauty is unsurpassed.  Our organic farms and ranches are famous.  Our small towns are picturesque. Visitors from throughout the world come to go hiking, biking birdwatching, whalewatching and any other activity one can do in nature. In many easily-seen ways, coastal West Marin is a paradise.

But there are other realities here that are harder to detect.

Financial Hardships:  While East Marin County communities such as Larkspur, Tiburon and Ross enjoy median income levels of approximately $54,800 to $64,400, the communities of coastal West Marin have a median income of approximately $32,360.  8.5% of the area’s households are under the federal poverty level.

Service Needs:  Because no local government exists in the (unincorporated) towns of West Marin to provide community services, many of these services are provided by the region’s nonprofit organizations, of which there are 60+ in the West Marin Fund’s service area.

Limited Donor Base: Over 1/3 of the approximately 7500 residents of coastal West Marin are part time, with their primary residence – and their primary giving — elsewhere.

What all this means is that the organizations that provide the services that contribute to the high quality of life we enjoy in coastal West Marin have a small and not particularly affluent population base to support their work.  Almost without exception, they struggle to make ends meet. Yet without their work – in healthcare, the arts, the environment – West Marin would be a much less desirable place to live.

Additionally, even though the eleven communities of coastal West Marin* share many of the same issues and concerns, there is no regional government to bring them — or the organizations that serve them — together to discuss their common concerns or to plan for the region’s future.

The West Marin Fund was created to address these overlapping issues.  Our goal is to raise funds to benefit the coastal West Marin communities and to bring those communities together for the common good of the region.

*Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Olema, Point Reyes Station, Inverness, Inverness Park, Marshall, Dillon Beach, Tomales and Nicasio