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Autumn 2016 Update

With summer over and schools back in session, West Marin begins its season of great weather and wide-open spaces – with big crowds only on the weekends.

For a full update on recent grants and stories, download and read the PDF version: Autumn 2016 Update.

Here’s a quick overview:

The West Marin Fund held a range of community meetings throughout the summer, where local nonprofit executive directors, community residents and local leaders identified the following trends:

  • Strain on Services: One growing conversation in our communities is how to manage the influx of visitors given our limited parking, toilets, trash receptacles and security services. Visitors are the life-blood of most local economies out here, but services to accommodate them are often stretched.
  • Fraying Neighborhoods: Another conversation centers on the impact of full time residents giving way to part-time homeowners and vacation rentals. While rental income allows many people to keep their long-held homes in West Marin, it leaves gaps in communities and in schools that we haven’t witnessed or experienced before.
    Winter is a good time for our village associations and community groups to gather and discuss common approaches to these challenges. The West Marin Fund looks forward to supporting these conversations as they develop.


Fall Confab: 83 local nonprofit staff, board members and volunteers attended this free skill-building workshop, a new record!

CONFAB: Tuesday September 13, we convened our 10th ConFab, this one on Fundraising and Legacy Giving Programs, offered by the inimitable and popular expert Kim Klein. Her style is informative and entertaining – and a roomful of local leaders went away better fundraisers because of it. Kim’s book Fundraising for Social Change, now in its 7th edition, is the bible for many in this field.

Our ConFabs convey best practices in nonprofit management to staff and board members of West Marin organizations. “Lifting all boats” with a single tutorial is a high-impact service we provide – and the wine and cheese reception afterwards creates strong relationships and a shared delight in our work together.

BUILDING NONPROFITS CAPABILITIES: This ConFab and others respond to the critical need to upgrade fundraising capacities of nonprofits.  It’s hard work, and not always comfortable for board members or staff to ask for money.  But supporting The Good Efforts can be a pleasure and a reward for donors (witness how happy it makes our Giving Through Youth students!)
BoStinKidsGiving Through Youth: Bolinas – Stinson 4th Grade class, Summer 2016.

This is why the WMF has focused many of its grants on helping our local nonprofits improve their fundraising effectiveness:

  • Friends of Sam’s House: $1500 grant allowed them to organize their first fundraising event which raised $10,000, gained them 40 new donors and resulted in service to up to 24 new clients
  • CLAM, the community land trust in Point Reyes Station, used a grant of $5000 to pay for an audit so CLAM can be eligible for significant federal funding – which we hope will allow CLAM to shepherd the release of 36 affordable homes at the Coast Guard station into community hands.

Helping our nonprofits fund their work – with small grants, with training, and with access to new funding opportunities, is key to our mission.

Second homeowners in West Marin are increasingly finding that donating to the West Marin Fund is an effective way to support the health and wellbeing of all our coastal West Marin communities.  We hope “giving back” in two communities feels twice as rewarding.

“We give back to the community in the East Bay, but West Marin is also a big part of our lives, and the needs here are large yet often hidden. Giving to the West Marin Fund is our high-leverage and low-overhead strategy for helping to make change out here.” – Maureen Kennedy, Inverness