We want to take this opportunity to express appreciation to the Idyllwild Town Crier for its continued support of raising awareness of important events in the community, especially in regards to The Community Foundation’s Youth Grantmakers program (“Local group to take over Youth Grantmakers,” May 21, 2015). We also want to recognize the generous gifts, talents and efforts of the Advisory Committee volunteers of the Idyllwild Community Fund, an endowed fund of TCF.

It is an exciting time of growth, new philanthropic relationships and strategic development for TCF. We are committed to strengthening Inland Southern California through philanthropy and ensuring a shared vision of “a vibrant, generous and just region — with unlimited opportunities” throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties, including the Idyllwild community.

We look for ways to strategically align our mission in order to leverage the best outcomes for our donors, fundholders and community partners. As your recent article on the Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers addressed, our programmatic opportunity for the IYG pilot program has transitioned to the ICF Advisory Committee, one of the very active and progressive endowed funds of TCF.

To provide some more information for your readers: The IYG program was initiated in 2012 as a three-year pilot project utilizing similar curriculum content developed for the high school YG program. The YG model was developed in 2009 by TCF to provide a youth philanthropy program to high school students selected from eight Riverside-area schools. Students stay with the program through their high school years (two to three years) and provide a broad reach into greater western Riverside communities.

Through generous support from funders and donors, this year we have been able to expand the high school program to San Bernardino and Coachella Valley.

The IYG program was a unique model in that we were working with middle-school students from only one school and the target community was smaller and more centralized. During the three-year pilot of the Idyllwild program, TCF staff worked directly with students and facilitated the learning sessions, paid for operational expenses, and monitored and processed the grantmaking portion of the program. The program was graciously supported by the Idyllwild School administration and teachers George Companiott and Donna Mercer. The ICF Advisory Committee also provided volunteers who assisted at the learning sessions and earmarked funds from ICF for grantmaking.

At the end of the three-year pilot, the program was evaluated by TCF, staff from Idyllwild School and the ICF Advisory Committee members. Through this evaluation, TCF decided to not use its staff to directly implement the program. A transition of the program to the ICF committee was logical, since they live and work in the Idyllwild community and have more of a “feet-on-the-ground” relationship to the community. The committee recognized the value of this program and voted to assume responsibility of implementing the IYG  program.

TCF would like to reiterate that we are very excited to partner and work collaboratively with the ICF Advisory Committee during implementation of TCF’s YG curriculum to ensure the Idyllwild Middle School students continue to benefit from the program. Through an agreement between TCF and ICF, TCF will continue to provide curriculum development, oversight of the grantmaking process and $1,000 toward the grantmaking process. Implementing the program will be facilitated by ICF volunteers, with oversight by TCF.

Also, the endowed ICF will continue to provide a portion of its available funds for grants recommended by the YG. As indicated in the article, the ICF committee will be seeking more funds from the community to help supplement the cost of the program: student supplies, teacher advisor stipends and other program expenses.

We are excited to continue our work in the Idyllwild community through our strong relationship and partnership with the members of the ICF Advisory Committee and the Idyllwild nonprofits. More importantly, we are excited that we are all working together to support community youth by providing them with opportunities to gain experiences in the field of philanthropy and youth advocacy, and to be the catalyst for change in their community.

Dr. Jonathan Lorenzo Yorba
President and CEO
The Community Foundation