Wow, what a winter we’ve just endured! With record-breaking and, at times, unrelenting snow it’s no wonder this community is taking exceptional delight in our sunny, warm spring days. In the aftermath of what will surely be a decades-long talked about season, it is clear that our community did what it does and stepped up for one another. Whether it was checking on neighbors to assure the most vulnerable had enough food and heat, or shoveling roofs, driveways and fire hydrants, or grabbing sandbags to prepare for an atmospheric river, we showed Mother Nature we are Tahoe Truckee tough!
In the meantime, local youth worked hard to apply for the 100+ scholarships that are available to graduating seniors each year (awards will be announced in the coming weeks), and our Community Collaborative team hosted a three-part race and equity training. Truckee Tahoe Airport District launched its annual Agency Partnership Program, while Cal Fire opened its first round of grant funding for private landowner forestry work. So much good stuff is going on.
This month also marks the wind down of Mountain Housing Council’s six year effort. While there’s still a lot more work to be done, our region has made great progress in untangling this thick, intricate knot, and crafting a road map of solutions that are being utilized in other mountain areas facing similar housing issues.
Like the Mountain Chickadees who are beginning to croon their ‘cheeseburger’ song, and the daffodils stubbornly poking their heads up between a patchwork of snow, we are resilient, we are diligent, and we are pushing ever forward, together.
Building on Collaboration
Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) launched the Mountain Housing Council (MHC) in 2017 based on a collective impact model, coordinating the efforts of 29 partners throughout the region.
Six years later, while the housing crisis still persists, we can look back at a number of successes that allowed us to create innovative tools to confront a problem that once seemed intractable.
According to several of the people who have played key roles in this effort, it was a deep commitment to collaboration that empowered MHC to adopt a winning strategy to tackle the daunting issue.
Alison Schwedner, TTCF’s Community Collaborative Program Director, says this spirit of cooperation spurred innovation.
“We created a unique space for the various jurisdictions and entities who are involved with developing housing solutions for our region,” Schwedner says. “Our partners came together to learn about what each other was doing, and found opportunities to innovate together, and to problem-solve together, in a collaborative forum.”
Kristina Kind, who has served as the Mountain Housing Council Program Coordinator since August 2020, points to a number of substantive programs and policies that have come into being since MHC’s founding.
“The collaborative work really has led to some of the innovative programs that we’re seeing now,” Kind says. “These include the relaxing of restrictions on accessory dwelling units, or ADUs; grant programs that pay homeowners who bring new long-term rentals to market; and resources to attract funding, such as a parcel measure in the Town of Truckee and a Tourism Business Improvement Tax (TBID) in Placer County.”
All of this work was built on a solid foundation of reliable data drawn from a Regional Housing Needs Assessment, jointly commissioned by Nevada County, the Town of Truckee, and Placer County.
“The collaboration of these jurisdictions on a unique study focused exclusively on our Tahoe Truckee region was the first of its kind,” says Stacy Caldwell, TTCF’s CEO. And it produced some alarming results. “As TTCF walked the study to all the different institutions throughout the region, the discovery came with an invitation: let’s do something together!”
Over the years, different teams and working groups came together to accelerate solutions. Alongside a Regional Housing Implementation Plan, significant community efforts advanced, including the Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency, and the Housing Hub…both targeting unique opportunities to address gaps in the system for creating more housing.
TTCF helps graduating high school seniors achieve their dreams through more than 100 scholarships that are available every year!
The scholarship process launched in January (the deadline for application submission was March 31), so it has a busy time with students working on their applications and requesting Letters of Recommendation.
Our Community Impact Team, Dana and Phyllis, visited local high schools to introduce seniors to the process and online application. Students then completed the common application that evaluates their eligibility for all participating scholarships.
We are pleased to share that 170 students submitted more than 4,500 applications for over 120 local scholarships (students may be eligible for multiple scholarships).
Special thanks to all the community members for the flurry of Letters of Recommendation that poured in. Thanks as well to school counselors, teachers, and administrators who monitored student progress and encouraged completion of this demanding task.
Now it’s time for the application review and decision making. April to early May will be very busy with more than 150 volunteers serving on over 20 independent committees, spending countless hours reading through their assigned applications and meeting to make final award decisions.
College selection day is May 1 and many scholarship recipients will be notified before this date. This will allow families to understand the community financial support they will receive and make an informed decision on school choice.
This wonderful community initiative is focused entirely on supporting Tahoe Truckee youth, and made possible by the care and generosity of the donors who create these scholarships—from service clubs working hard to raise award money, to special districts, to local businesses giving back, to families and friends memorializing a loved one, to kind-hearted individual donors.
Click here to learn how to start a new scholarship and change young lives forever.
Be a Hero to Tahoe Truckee High Schoolers and Donate to the Community Scholarship Fund today!
These scholarships help young people achieve their dreams of higher education, and some students may not be able to attend college otherwise. Decisions are being made now!
Family Strengthening / Social Services
Race and Equity
At the beginning of this year, the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (CCTT) partnered with Franklin Hysten of Blaze Consulting to offer a three-part training series focused on racial equity. In the first two workshops, partners gained insight into what it will mean to be an ally to others in the work of antiracism, including how to create more safe spaces for diverse opinions and voices during meetings.
Next steps include planning and raising funds for a fall cohort of On the Verge training for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) professionals, as well as exploring the development of a professional network for BIPOC.
CCTT is on an active journey to ensure that operations, governance and programming of the Collaborative and partner agencies are driven by equity and dismantling structural racism. We are committed to bringing training, resources, and tools to partners at our monthly Resource Sharing Meetings.
Our (anonymous) training participants shared the following feedback:
I am so grateful for Franklin’s expertise and facilitation. The breakout rooms were great, and I am fully supportive of providing more professional spaces for BIPOC leaders in our community!
This training was very informative and helped me to put into perspective what is the meaning of race equity.
I’ve been to a lot of DEI trainings. This one was powerful with the bilingual facilitation and racial affinity group breakout rooms. I appreciated that after the breakout, BIPOC voices were centered.
211 & COAD
One of the main benefits of having a COAD in our community is to be a liaison between emergency services and our strong nonprofit, faith-based and business sector. When we communicate and collaborate effectively during all phases of a disaster, we can increase resiliency in our communities.
Anne Rarick COAD Manager, Connecting Point 211
As we moved through one of the snowiest winters in recorded history, local public and nonprofit partners were continuously called upon to ensure roads were safe, local businesses remained open, and our most vulnerable community members were sheltered and fed. The recently established COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster), under the umbrella of Connecting Point 211:
- Coordinated a sandbag assistance program
- Supported avalanche survivors’ navigation of Red Cross programs
- Stayed in close communication with the county Office of Emergency Services to ensure community access to timely and accurate information
Residents prepare for potential atmospheric-river flooding. Photo credit: Amy Lyons
By dialing “211,” community members were able to access life saving resources. The COAD is a shining example of a public-private partnership, and is supported by the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Nevada and Placer counties, the Town of Truckee and Connecting Point 211.
Forest Futures provides TTCF with the opportunity to learn more about the intersection of climate action and the other areas that we focus on in our region. For example, how our forest health, wildfire prevention, workforce housing, and mental health are all intertwined.
We know the effects of climate change disproportionately affect underserved communities who are least able to prepare for the impacts, such as the ways wildfires are exacerbating the housing crisis. When our region has climate impacts related to fire, smoke and excessive snow, our workforce faces financial challenges that create stress for community members.
This is where TTCF’s comprehensive community approach and relationships are most powerful. By navigating to our trusted nonprofit network, we can target our funding efforts in a way that can best serve the Tahoe Truckee community.
The Truckee North Tahoe Forest Management Program (TNTFMP) is a CAL FIRE funded grant program of TTCF that targets private landowners who need financial support for forestry work. The first application cycle launched on March 9 and remained open through April 14. A community workshop was hosted to educate attendees about the the application process. TTCF staff, board, and TNTFMP Steering Committee members have contributed to launching this pilot program and look forward to making first-round grant awards in the coming quarter.
Regional Median Home Price
Locals Found Housing via Lease to Locals and Placemate
In February and March, the Mountain Housing Council (MHC) Speaker Series focused on the housing continuum, which is another way of looking at the Achievable Local Housing bridge that has been guiding our work for the past six years.
Our regional housing data assessments show that we don’t have enough of the different types of housing we need: low-income, employee, and workforce housing. This multi-part series takes a closer look at the housing types we need across the continuum—from emergency shelter on one end of the spectrum to home ownership on the other.
The housing assessments show that the majority of our community members can’t afford the median home price of $1.3M, as well as rising rental prices, which are now at about $1,000-$1,200 per bedroom, per month.
This squeeze on home accessibility, coupled with the impacts on our aging housing (unaffordability of storm-induced home repairs and a gross shortage of labor) exemplify the unique challenges our region continues to face.
To improve the conditions necessary to build housing, we know we need a blend of policy, programs, and capital.
In February and March the MHC Policy Working Group met with California State Assembly Housing Committee members to advocate for more opportunities to reduce barriers and bring funding for achievable local housing to the region. You can read more about the Council’s advocacy priorities here.
2023 TTAD Agency Partnership Program
Photo credit: Tom Lippert
2022 Award Recipients
Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) is excited to again work with the Truckee Tahoe Airport District (TTAD) on their 2023 Agency Partnership Program.
The Agency Partnership Program proudly supports larger, regional projects and programs—with awards of $5,000 or more—that align with TTAD’s public purpose and their mission to provide safe, high-quality services and facilities, reduce impact on airport neighbors and the environment, and invest in opportunities that increase community safety and provide sustained benefit to the entire Truckee Tahoe region. In 2022, 10 local agencies and qualifying nonprofits received awards totaling $416,397.
“The Truckee Tahoe Airport District is looking at their mission more broadly than just runways,” said Robb Etnyre, TTAD General Manager. “TTAD enjoys the benefit of tax dollars so we’re pleased to pass those on in appropriate ways after funding the airport. The elected Board of Directors has shaped this policy with great care and benefit to our community.”
The application period opened on March 29 and will close on July 31, 2023. In September the TTAD Board of Directors will make its funding decisions and notify award recipients on September 28, 2023. TTCF is managing the application and administrative process for this program.
Click here to learn more about the TTAD Agency Partnership Program, including the 10 organizations who received awards in 2022.
Congratulations TTCF Chief Operating Officer, Sache Cantu
TTCF is pleased to announce the promotion of Sache Cantu from Director of Impact Investing and Special Projects to Chief Operating Officer!
Sache started with TTCF in 2020 as a volunteer for Mountain Housing Council. The Grass Valley native and seasoned professional with two-plus decades of experience facilitating cross-sector partnerships and programs for social impact had just moved back to California and was looking for ways to be more involved with the community—which naturally led her to TTCF.
Prior to joining TTCF, Sache served as VP, Community Giving Manager for the US arm of BBVA, where she led charitable contributions programs and initiatives. Connecting resources to community-based opportunities has been central to her work as a grantmaker and in the nonprofit sector where she has addressed issues ranging from economic development to education.
Sache holds a BA from UT Austin and an MPA from George Washington University with a concentration in Budgeting and Public Finance; she is the first member of her family to attend college and also earn a secondary degree. She adores her cat, ‘Big Jules’; is a 4X auntie; and enjoys trail running or exploring the local park system.
For us to be effective in the community, as collaborative partners and as grantmakers, we need systems and processes that reflect our business model and our values. I’m excited that taking on the COO role will include the responsibility to ensure that our operations achieve both. When I think about TTCF and the future, I cannot help but also look to our past. The commitment to continuously learn and the willingness to remain flexible in search of new solutions is the hallmark of TTCF. It is what drew me to the team and I look forward to seeing more of it in the days to come.
Sache Cantu TTCF Chief Operating Officer