The not for profit landscape is not unlike the Sierra Nevada; lots of uphill climbing; some great viewpoints but also the constant threat of falling off a cliff. Since the economic crash of 2007 funding for charities has decreased dramatically and competition for what meager grants remain has increased. It is a sad equation that often need goes up as funding goes down.
South Lake Tahoe has over 200 registered not for profits. That is approximately one not for profit for every 220 residents. While many are local chapters of larger organizations, the vast majority serve the local community and provide vital help and support. According to the American Community Survey: 16% of the 96150 population lives below the US poverty level ; 31% of our elderly live alone; 56% of renters spend more than 30% of income on rent; 60% of school children qualify for free or reduced school meals and 6% of our school children are classified as homeless.
This means that for every local grant, every generous donor, every willing volunteer there is a long line of local organizations wanting a piece of the pie and competing with each other for resources. However, in the past couple of years a number of local not for profits have recognized the need for all service organizations to prosper for the good of the community for a whole. Instead of fighting over grants we have sought to form partnerships; or even recognized that certain services are not our primary responsibility and cleared the way for other organizations to take the lead.
This new era of collaboration and support is taking a further step this summer with the formation of ‘Will’s Kids’. Bringing together the Boys and Girls Club of Lake Tahoe, the Family Resource Center, Live Violence Free, Tahoe Youth and Family Services, Valhalla Tahoe and the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival’s D.G. Menchetti Young Shakespeare Program, these six not for profits will jointly host a FREE children’s performance of the Comedy of Errors and an after show fundraiser; the proceeds from which will be split equally amongst the six organizations. Pooling resources, skills and time in this manner not only makes fiscal sense but also enables us to be bigger, better and more professional. We also all have the shared belief that the arts are vital to the development and enrichment of children’s ingenuity and education, and that only by working together can we lift up the future of our community.
The event will take place on August 5th. The FREE performance will be at 3pm in the afternoon, followed by a reception at 5pm. Tickets for the Reception cost $40/person and include food, beverages and the opportunity to meet the performers and Director. There will also be an auction of local children’s’ art. For more information on Will’s Kids or to purchase tickets please visit www.willskidsforthearts.org.
Sponsors for the event include El Dorado Community Foundation, BevMo, Casey’s, Cosco, Don’s Cakes by the Lake, Tahoe Production House, Blue Angel Café and Sonny’s BBQ Shack Bar and Grill.