Started as the Tri-Valley Community Fund 29 years ago, it became a full-fledged foundation in 2001. That allowed it to move from a Community Chest-type organization that collected funds to a foundation that not only helps organizations financially but also sponsors and operates its own programs. These include implementing the Alameda County Mental Health Service Act program in the Tri-Valley, which is a minority-focused Mental Health Prevention & Early Intervention program, to working with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to conduct the Entrepreneurship Academy.
The foundation's president, David Rice, met with lab representatives Tuesday to plan the launch of the academy, which will recruit talented science and engineering as well as business students to become leaders in these fields in the future. In fact, that is how Rice and his team of foundation associates spend much of their time, meeting with community leaders, local companies, stakeholders and government officials to identify and fund projects and initiatives to develop roadmaps of priorities to meet the needs of the Tri-Valley.
Although the Tri-Valley Community Foundation is growing, it's still small by comparison to those in other areas. The Silicon Valley Community Foundation has $1.5 billion in assets; the East Bay Community Foundation has assets totaling about $200 million. The fund, and then the foundation here, was an outgrowth of the East Bay, which community leaders felt was not serving the Tri-Valley. Of course, 29 years ago when the Tri-Valley Fund was launched, the population centers for the East Bay organization were Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward and surrounding cities. The Tri-Valley was a long way to the east.
Donations to the Tri-Valley Foundation come from individuals, organizations and corporations, including a single donation not long ago of $1 million. The organization also works with the Pleasanton Weekly to support our annual campaign. Rice's group is matching the first $50,000 in donations with the 2011 Holiday Fund setting a record of $150,000, the donations to be doled out to nine beneficiaries next month.
Rice's group also helped launch Hacienda Helping Hands, which has become a vital part of the vision and commitment of companies located in the Hacienda Business Park and their employees. Hacienda is now conducting its fourth annual community giving initiative.
To keep corporate leaders aware of the needs in communities where their businesses are located, the foundation hosted its second annual Pillars of the Tri-Valley last June. The event was packed with Tri-Valley executives who learned of ways they and their corporate associates could help nonprofits that matched their passion. Rice said they learned about dozens of local nonprofits and their role in the community in a job-fair setting, and discovered the business value of having key personnel serve in leadership positions of local nonprofits. Nonprofits also benefited from the event as the foundation's team assisted them in maximizing their public effectiveness.
Then a highlight of the foundation's annual efforts, which helped lead to a record year in public contributions, came last December when about 200 community leaders joined with the heads of major charities, such as Open Heart Kitchen, in a sort of a show-and-tell program that Safeway Corp. sponsored to talk about the needs of 2012. With the enthusiasm shown at the event, Rice is looking for another record-setting year for the Tri-Valley Community Foundation.