Donors, board members and grantees mix it up Oct. 13 at Bread for the Journey’s signature annual event. Photo by Meg Upton

Bread for the Journey celebrates what small grants can do

From bicycle helmets for kids at the go-cart races during Greenville’s Kids Fest to helping Plumas County local efforts to assist Camp Fire evacuees, the nonprofit organization Bread for the Journey seeks to make small grants have lasting impacts for local community projects.

On Oct. 13, a small group of Bread for the Journey board members, donors and grantees mingled for a few hours at the Quincy Collective to talk about how things are going on their projects and to express gratitude all the way around.

The board listed the accomplishments for the 2018 year of giving.

Because of Bread for the Journey’s efforts, two homeless Indian Valley youth were granted initial college housing fees where their college grant funding had fallen short. Sierra Institute’s GHS Sustainability Institute received funding for lunches. Quincy Beautify Main Street Project received help with flower baskets. The intern for the Quincy Certified Farmers Market received support.

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Local school children were able to watch a puppet show on anti-bullying. Tristan McMichael was about to have musical instruments repaired for band students. Jen Terhune was able to bring ukuleles to the elementary school classrooms. Friends of Plumas Wilderness was able to complete the “Visions of the Lost Sierra” film, which played at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in 2019. Carol and Dana Smith were able to cover insurance costs so they could bring baking classes to the community. Rural to Rural was able to bring students and their projects for economic renewal from Plumas County to Kanugu, Uganda.

If there’s a common thread among all the grantees it’s that these projects were all volunteer or near to volunteer projects that just needed a little bit of funding to come to fruition.

“Our mission is to find people of strength and vision who are excited about improving our community and help them make it happen,” says their mission statement.

Bread for the Journey is unique among grant-making organizations as the concentration isn’t on paperwork, but on people. Potential grantees come before the board and talk.

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“If someone has an idea to improve our community, we invite them to sit with us and tell us their idea. If we feel they’re ready, we offer a small grant to help them get started. It’s that simple. No applications, no big reports,” said founder Katie Bagby.

Potential grantees write a letter to Bread for the Journey explaining what they want to do for the community and then are invited to present before the board.

The organization stresses too that all in the community are welcomed and needed — whether it be time, money or skills, networking relationships, or be the person with the great creative idea.

The soiree Oct. 13 gave donors to the organization and directors a chance to hear from grantees about how their projects went or are going. It also gave them the opportunity to say thank you.

Bread for the Journey was a national organization that started over a kitchen table in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 30-plus years ago. That first meeting inspired over 20 chapters around the country, with each chapter of the organization raising money locally to fund projects in its community.

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In 2010, Bread for the Journey Feather River formed in Plumas County. As each of the local chapters became stronger and focused locally, the national organization disbanded.

The Feather River local received its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status in 2017.

Bread for the Journey, Feather River’s contact for more information is [email protected] Donations can be sent to BFJ, Feather River, PO Box 3075.