Why a Foundation? Because stuff happens.
In the early morning hours of November 8, 2018, the first plume of the deadliest wildfire in California history was seen over the west shores of Lake Almanor. Over the next 48 hours and the weeks that followed 100’s of people fleeing the fire sought refuge here. The people of the Lake Almanor Basin swiftly stepped up to assist with a community run evacuation center and a system for vetting need and distributing funds.
Ultimately the community raised over $35,000, with the help of the North Valley Community Foundation. 85% of these funds were spent in the first 2 weeks on food, gas, shelter and clothing for the evacuees. The entire community scrambled to put resources, systems and people in place to fill the need. We were caught flat-footed at the onset and the individual toll on volunteers was heavy. But we were grateful to have been able to serve.
The next disaster came less than 1 ½ years later. COVID-19. The Mountain Volunteer Project (MVP), a fledgling idea born of the Community Consortium (see below) was taking root with discussions on how to serve the needs of the non-profit service sector for administrative services and volunteer recruitment and placement. Suddenly, and without resources, funds, and only a handful of volunteers, leaders of the MVP went to work. They quickly put into place: a needs assessment, a 24-hour help line, and a shopping service for those most vulnerable in the community.
Stuff happens. It was evident that our community needed to put the resources and systems in place for the next unexpected event.A Community Consortium
In November, 2019 over 65 leaders of both private and public sectors of the Lake Almanor Basin came together to discuss and identify community needs, communicate their own and look for avenues for collaboration.
The list of needs and challenges was long with many common themes between sectors. Though some challenges were obviously outside of our control, it was decided to continue to get together to address those challenges that we could positively affect. The Almanor Basin Community Consortium was born that day with the hope of addressing some of the basic challenges to our community’s economic, social and environmental health.
Then, COVID-19 hit and though the consortium was put on hold, the need to create the resources and systems for taking action remained high. Below is a brief summary of the challenges outlined at the November 2019 consortium:
Poor and unskilled employment pool
Seasonality of demand for businesses
Cost of Insurance and government regulations
Availability and cost of housing for employees
Chester beautification and clean up
Limited cultural opportunities for youth and families
Declining and aging population
Increasing number of children in schools with social-emotional issues
Disconnect between areas and socio-economic populations
Limited community engagement
Threats to lakes and streams Taking Action
In October of 2020 a small group gathered to discuss the feasibility of creating a foundation to provide the resources for the community to address these challenges as they occur and lay plans for the future. This group became the Steering Committee for the foundation. Once thoughts were gathered and needs and feasibility were confirmed, the Steering Committee laid out a vision and mission, adopted bylaws and filed Articles of Incorporation for The Almanor Foundation in December 2020.
In March of 2021, the North Valley Community Foundation of Butte County, accepted The Almanor Foundation as a Fund within their organization to allow us to receive donations and contributions while awaiting the approval of our 501c3 charitable status.