The Best Christmas Present Ever
For weeks, I’ve talked about how important it is to give back to our community, and I’ve shared information about wonderful organizations like the Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort, the Ukiah Food Bank, and Plowshares.
This week, I’d like to talk about another great way to support our community: donating to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County. You can give any amount, big or small, and when your donations are combined with others, they can make a huge impact now and for years to come.
The Foundation offers many ways for people to give. I like the field-of-interest funds because they cover a huge variety of important issues that really help our community thrive. Anyone can donate to the funds, and then deserving individuals receive grants—either directly, or through the organizations that work with those in need. The funds cover everything from the arts to health care to the environment, helping young and old, and supporting the poor as well as entrepreneurs hoping to be part of a growing local economy. There are several funds in each category, so visit http://www.communityfound.org/stories-of-our-funds/field-of-interest-funds for more information. I thought I’d highlight just a few here.
Did you ever watch The Muppet Show? Well, the Jerry Juhl Fund for the Arts was founded in memory of local writer Jerry Juhl, the head writer for The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, and many other projects. Jerry and Susan Juhl have supported local artists in many ways, and this fund continues that work through scholarships for high school students in Mendocino, Fort Bragg and Point Arena who are pursuing careers in the performing arts and design (sound, lighting, set and costume).
If you’re an animal lover, you know the importance of spaying/neutering of cats and dogs. The Animal Welfare Fund for Inland Mendocino County assists with the costs of this critical service in Ukiah Valley, Anderson Valley, Round Valley and Willits.
Sometimes the best way to combat addiction is to stop it before it starts. The late Pat Denny had a passion for helping kids stay away from drugs, so her family started the Pat Denny Endowment Fund to assist school and community projects that support youth in making healthy choices by mitigating risks related to substance abuse and building “protective” assets.
In small communities, it can be tough to start and maintain a business. The John and Sandra Mayfield Family Economic Development Fund supports business and community development, education, and entrepreneurship to increase local prosperity.
Being diagnosed with cancer isn’t only terrifying, it can be expensive. The Foster Fund assists low-income and non-insured cancer patients cover costs associated with cancer treatment, including medications, tests, and transportation.
Do you love to spend time in nature? The Fund for Trails and Open Space supports the acquisition, preservation, and restoration of parks, trails and open space areas that are free and open to the public for low-impact recreational uses.
When I learned about all these funds, the one that stood out to me was the Angel Fund. It was created to assist people who have short-term needs that aren’t met by other public or private programs. It helps people who are working hard to improve their lives when the deck has been stacked against them, “a hand up rather than a handout.”
Community Foundation CEO Megan Barber Allende shared some great stories with me about the help this fund has provided. It helped a pregnant, homeless young woman pay for her driver’s permit so she could get a job to support herself and her child. It provided the $35 per week needed to help a woman with throat cancer pay for nutritional supplements. It helped a dying man notarize his Advance Directives and establish a durable power of attorney so his end-of-life wishes could be honored.
Helping others in our community helps all of us. It really is the best Christmas present ever.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.