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Spring Update 2014

Spring has been particularly active at the West Marin Fund.

Our Round Three grants are made!  The round was to address “what you need most to do your work” and that spurred many of our non-profits to think about the gaps that a small grant would serve. We received over 40 proposals for our pool of $50,000, with requests totaling over $150,000.  The West Marin Fund board of directors sought additional funds to supplement this tranche — as so many of the proposed projects were well written and worthy of support.  Grant announcements went out on April 15 — 34 grants totaling $66,200. Thanks to our generous donors who make possible these worthy and well-vetted activities:  everything from new software and new computers, to after school programs for youth, scholarships for camp, Latino engagement efforts and a sterilizing dishwasher at a preschool.  We believe in the power of a small grant well-placed, and we believe this round met many many necessary invisible needs. To scroll down our list of grantees, click here.

ConFab #5 was held April 3 at the Dance Palace, with over 50 people in attendance. Our presenters gave concise and informed presentations on Evaluations:  your programs, your staff — and how to report your findings to others.  Heather Johnson, Evaluations Officer at the Marin Community Foundation; Wendy Todd, consultant and former Program Director for Health and Aging at Marin Community Foundation; and Kay McMahon, a West Marin consultant on HR issues and professional coaching each did a great job at outlining basic needs:  capture good data, get clarity about the audience you’re serving, and create clear expectations and communication with staff at all levels.  Each speaker had hand-outs and web resources for further learning.

We surveyed the crowd for issues they’d prioritize for upcoming ConFabs.  While the list was long, it included seminars on Grant-seeking, Volunteers, more Board Management, Succession Planning, a deeper dive into Evaluations, and a look at local demographics.

This latter was also a request for better data on West Marin demographics in general. The Fund will seek opportunities to find and compile information specific to our region, with help from the Marin Community Foundation’s rich directory of resources.

A big YES answered the questions — would you use a circuit rider on information technology?  on grant writing?  The West Marin Fund will explore this as a service to local non-profits.

Latino Leadership stays on our radar screen with plans for a leadership seminar in late summer — in cooperation with West Marin Community Services and the West Marin Collaborative.

Our Advisory Council will meet in late May, our semi-annual gathering to hear from 14 wonderful people embedded in West Marin communities who scout out issues of concern for us.  This is a key event for the West Marin Fund, both heartwarming and educational.

We expect a summer filled with West Marin Fund informational House Parties and plans for another ConFab at the end of the season. Stay tuned.