Debra Martin (left), Maria Lehman (center) and Janice Murasko, accompanied by Baxter and Lucy, present the case for ARF. Photos by Marshall Smith
The Idyllwild Community Fund (ICF) held its annual gala at the Rainbow Inn on Thursday, Sept. 22 and the watchword, as awards were given to community organizations, was “cooperation.”

Speakers during the evening noted that grant recipients often share resources with other Hill organizations in a spirit of cooperation that “pays those gifts forward” to benefit the wider community.

This year’s ICF recipients are: Animal Rescue Friends (ARF) of Idyllwild ($1,000), Friends of the San Jacinto Mountain County Parks ($500), Isis Theatre Company ($640), the Idyllwild School smARTS Program $2,500), Idyllwild HELP Center ($3,582), Mountain Disaster Preparedness (MDP)($1,400), Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council ($500) and the Idyllwild Garden Club ($500).

Diane Cardinalli (right) and Laurie Maxwell (center right) talk with Diane Suechika at the Idyllwild Community Fund awards dinner.

Representatives from three grant recipient organizations spoke on Thursday — ARF, Isis Theatre Company and Mountain Disaster Preparedness. Isis President Suzanne Avalon observed the frequent cooperation among grant recipients, noting that sound and lighting equipment purchased with grant funds for her organization is available for other organizations to use. MDP President Veronica Alt also spoke about cooperation among grant recipient groups, noting that ARF is putting together a program to address the need to shelter pets after a disaster. Traditionally, Red Cross shelters do not accommodate pets and post-disaster trauma often involves worry about pets. Another example of cooperation among grant recipient groups is the Museum Garden Project, a partnership between the Idyllwild Garden Club and the Idyllwild Area Historical Society.

Idyllwild Community Fund board members Diann Coate and Bronwyn Jones.
Advisory Board Co-Chair Bronwyn Jones, in appealing for board volunteers, said, “What I want everybody to know is that the [ICF] board is not forever. If you would like to join the board, come and speak to one of us.” Check the ICF website for more information at [email protected].

Begun in 1996 with an initial $10,000 gift from an anonymous donor, the ICF has dispensed $146,332 to 19 Hill organizations. The nonprofit Community Foundation, which holds ICF funds, has over $56 million in assets, manages 250 funds, and has been in existence since 1941.


  1. Thanks, Marshall, for a great article. The emphasis on cooperation within our village community is so appropriate and a heartwarming experience to witness. We appreciate your support and the attention that the Town Crier has paid to our activities and mission.