In My Opinion: Jim Krause

"Nothing is permanent except change." That idea, expressed by Heraclitus in 513 B.C., fits the Tri-Valley today, as we see around us many signs of a bright tomorrow. At this particular moment in our history, we have a unique opportunity to alter our view of the world and to radically improve the quality of life in our community.

Many in our midst see growth as so many numbers to be analyzed. More people, more jobs, a larger tax base. I view the growth in terms of our human potential. Our new citizens will bring new ideas, they will be influenced by other cultures which we can learn from, and they will bring their talents to be shared with us.

We all should be excited by the fact that we will have the ability to strengthen the educational, recreational, cultural and human care services which so many of us are actively serving as volunteers.

What are the most important needs of our area? Education is at the top of almost everybody's list. Through an organized funding effort we can provide those programs necessary to make our educational system truly first rate.

Human care services for the elderly and the disabled. Excellent services are provided in parts of our valley. We need to eliminate the service gaps and standardize delivery systems.

There is broad support for cultural arts and recreation programs, yet we lack a center for the arts and there is little coordination of cultural programs from city to city. A needs assessment and master plan in concert with the city recreation departments and the cultural arts agencies would greatly reduce the inefficiency caused by duplication of services and stretch the value of the charitable dollar. How can we best coordinate these efforts?

Most major metropolitan areas in this country have a community foundation which serves as a central funding source for charitable organizations. Why not the Tri-Valley? We have the energy, the enthusiasm, the commitment to volunteer service and the economic resources.

A group of valley residents has taken steps toward providing funds for educational, recreational, cultural, and human care services by establishing a local foundation - the Tri-Valley Community Fund. The goal is to raise monies to be used only in the Tri-Valley - monies to support those local programs which provide service to the community at large.

Within the next 5 to 10 years, we have the opportunity to build a strong funding base here. Endowment is the key ingredient to our eventual success. Estimates suggest that about $4 million is raised annually in this valley for charitable causes. If we continue to fund our agencies at the current $4 million level and raised an additional $1 million per year for endowment, at the end of 5 years our endowment base of $5 million would be generating $500,000 annually in interest income, which would be used to fund service agencies. Think of it, every year we would have $500,000 to give away and would never have to campaign for those funds again.

People in the Tri-Valley are known for their generosity. They don't say ''no'' very often; instead they give a little bit towards a lot of things.

I believe we can continue this tradition of public support and build upon it as new businesses and corporations add their resources and enthusiasm to our community. Indeed, we can look to our new neighbors in business for leadership in the area of responsible (and responsive) support for community endeavors. Already the Chambers of Commerce in California are implementing a statewide program establishing "2% clubs", which encourage businesses and individuals to contribute 2% of their profits to worthwhile community projects.

The Tri-Valley Community Fund can play a vital role in the future we will share. Community foundations are unique entities. They play a role other agencies cannot. Community foundations can stand aside from politics and look at issues in a fairly objective way, asking, "What needs to be done? What special qualities exist here which should be accented in the future?"

"What do we want for our children? What services do we want for our elderly citizens? What would it take to make this the best possible place for us to live and raise families?"

By addressing such questions, a community foundation can develop regional leadership, enhancing the separate cities which are flourishing in the Tri-Valley area. Needs assessment and long-range planning must look beyond city limits if we are to enjoy the highest quality of life.

In addition to establishing a regional viewpoint, a community foundation can (of course) attract large sums of money. Those experienced fundraisers in our community can assure you that "money is magnetic" - a foundation can become the focal point for gifts of increasing size. Today's small donor may become tomorrow's major donor to a community fund, or among those who establish endowments as a form of ongoing support to the dreams of the people who live here.

"Nothing is permanent except change" - but we can work together to be sure that the changes ahead are beneficial to the quality of life which has made so many of us choose this area as our permanent home. I believe that the Tri-Valley Community Fund offers an exciting way to help guarantee a bright future.

Won’t you join us?

To see a reproduction of the original article and edition of Pleasanton Pathways, visit: March 19, 1984 Pathways.

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