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Update December 2012

The West Marin Fund has been busy this season working on a number of new programs.  These include workshops for West Marin nonprofits, a program for Youth in Philanthropy, a small grants program to support fundraising capacity, and community outreach.


In August the WMF held a workshop and reception at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes on “Information Technology/IT for Non-Profits.”  Local expert John Levy offered an overview presentation that was “a little advanced”, “a little easy” and “just right” for his audience of 45 people from 25 non-profits.  It was a perfect launch for an ongoing series that follows the needs of our colleagues.  We’ll offer more detailed workshops as we identify the need. (see next item).

Thanks to local IT experts who added value in the Question & Answer session: Kris Backenstose, Matt Gallagher & Uli Weeren.

Along with their generous round of thank-you’s, participants said, “…the chance to convene with colleagues was as important as the substance.”  They asked for more of these opportunities.  And so:

December 19th Gathering:  the Fund will offer another nonprofit workshop and confab at the Dance Palace.*  Participants will have the choice of one of 2 workshop options:

Facebook as a Fundraising and Outreach Tool, with Brian van Weele, Director of Philanthropic Planning at the Marin Community Foundation — an enthusiastic new convert to the use of Facebook for non-profits . This answers a question from our earlier workshop: “why Facebook?”.

Role of the Non-Profit Board of Directors. Many non-profits and their board members requested this tutorial for West Marin. Here it is, with former Dance Palace Executive Director, Carol Friedman, leading the workshop and fielding the questions.

The workshops will be followed by a holiday party, the West Marin Fund’s thank you to the nonprofits in our communities.

*Note: We plan to offer skill building workshops for our local nonprofits on a regular basis and will move the location of these sessions throughout West Marin


NEW GRANTS PROGRAM FOR BUILDING FUNDRAISING CAPACITY: The West Marin Fund is pleased to announce its first grants program. Thanks to a generous donor, the Fund will make available small grants ($500- $5000) to build fundraising capacity for coastal West Marin non-profits. Deadline to apply is January 15, 2013.   Click here for details.

WMF’s Board member Gary Ireland is named Volunteer of the Year for West Marin at the Spirit of Marin awards ceremony for 2012.


We’ve been talking with key people in West Marin (Point Reyes Station / Inverness), Tomales and Bolinas-Stinson school districts  about how a youth philanthropy program might work best in their various communities.

The broad outline of the Youth in Philanthropy Program is that participating youth will receive formal teaching about philanthropy through the local schools and/or youth centers, then hear from and about the non-profits in their community, selecting one or more to raise funds for.  The West Marin Fund will then grant matching funds up to $2000 per nonprofit.

This program will also connect students with non-profits for community service and internship possibilities, a win-win scenario.

We’re grateful for the leadership at local schools and youth centers who are helping craft this program.


The West Marin Fund has been reaching into communities through local house parties. Over the past few months we’ve been hosted by the inimitable Rigdon Currie and Trish Johnson in Inverness, by Commonweal founder Michael Lerner for a thoughtful  conversation on Philanthropy in West Marin at Commonweal in Bolinas, and by Burr Heneman and Janet Visick, at a lovely house party for neighbors from Stinson and Bolinas.

At these events we’ve spoken about the role of a Community Foundation in maintaining the general health of a community.  We’ve discussed what we love best about West Marin and the ways people can and should invest in keeping those things stable and thriving.

The discussions focus on the special niche that the West Marin Fund holds — and on the Fund’s potential. We hear repeated agreement on the key activities that we’ve identified as the Fund’s focus:

•   support the non-profits whose services are critical to our unincorporated towns.

•   convene and link non-profits, people, towns, and other philanthropic entities

•  explore large issues beyond the scope of a single non-profit: our aging population, affordable housing, resilient economies, health, education, arts, the environment.

•   encourage philanthropy throughout coastal West Marin and provide an easy way for those who love the area – residents and visitors alike – to contribute to its health and wellbeing.

We know that regular conversations with non-profits, along with these neighborly gatherings, are constructive ways to connect with people and further the discussion about a healthy West Marin.

 If you’re interested in hosting a house party, please let us know: