July offered up excellent opportunities to know our grantees and advisors. I traveled throughout the communities of West Marin to keep a finger on the pulse of their needs and I came up informed and delighted.
I met with Advisory Council member Jane Realon, Principal of Tomales Elementary and Bodega Bay Schools, for an update on issues of Tomales and Dillon Beach. She’s accumulated a lot of wisdom in her many years there. When I asked about the achievement gap in the schools, Jane said “if you want to address the achievement gap, you have to address the poverty gap”: affordable housing, living wage jobs, family issues AND preschool focus, access to technology, mentoring programs that include the transit needs of kids to stay after school. The works. It was a good reminder that the West Marin Fund’s focus must be holistic.
Coastal Health Alliance (Stinson, Bolinas and Point Reyes Station) asked us to help address the common challenge of successfully including Latino board members. We hosted a small meeting with Latino leadership and identified some key issues and concerns, like timing of meetings, better board management to use each member’s specific skills well, better use of committee structures, focus on community outreach, and translation. West Marin Fund agreed to shepherd a program that links Latino leadership and the non-profits that serve them, starting with cultural competency activities for all. Stay tuned for details as this program begins.
A full day among Bolinas grantees in late July was a complete success. Catherine met with staff at the Bolinas Children’s Center, Bolinas Community Center, The Bolinas Museum, Friends of Sam’s House, the Hearsay News, and the Bolinas Community Land Trust followed by genuine English teatime in the garden at Sam’s House. I was joined by local Advisory Council member Burr Heneman. Our grantees said this was the first time they’d ever convened as a group, and decided to create a stronger voice for the community with more regular meetings.
August includes several house parties to introduce the West Marin Fund to potential donors and community leaders — another chance to hear about concerns among them. Our summer focus has been on second-home owners who come for refuge to our communities but who may lack insight into the services that our non-profits provide that make these communities the beautiful retreat that they are.
The latest about the Fund and our West Marin non-profits can be found on our Facebook page!:https://www.facebook.com/WestMarinFund