Never doubt the power of a dream. Nearly eight years ago, Colleen McKeown founded the Common Good Community Foundation to support worthwhile programs, projects, scholarships and organizations that enrich the Plumas County region and today, the foundation is a trusted nonprofit, public benefit corporation that invests more than 95 percent of all donations back into the community.
“I, along with the other board members, have truly been amazed at how many people and organizations are working to benefit Plumas County and its residents,” McKeown said. “It says a lot about the communities and people in Plumas County.”
$135,000 in grants since 2012
Organized to support activities in areas related, but not limited to, the arts, education and public lectures, senior services, health care and animal welfare, Common Good merged with the Plumas Community Foundation in 2013. They kept the name Common Good Community Foundation.
To date, the foundation’s board has awarded $135,000 in grants and scholarships within the county. Well over 50 organizations and programs have received funding for efforts that meet the mission to enrich life in this region.
The only exception, McKeown noted, was a $1,500 donation to the neighboring North Valley Community Foundation’s Camp Fire Relief Fund. After that tragic 2018 disaster in Butte County, one can assume the grant was an award the entire community could feel good about.
A very recent donation that will benefit young musicians also went to the Quincy Junior-Senior High School Honor Band for $1,500 to support the students’ expenses of traveling to competitions. Student Tristan McMichael, a junior, wrote to the foundation for assistance and McKeown said the board was impressed with his initiative.
Another example of a special grant supported by the Common Good was the March 2019 community showing of the film “RBG” about the life and career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second female Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. That event was held in collaboration with Plumas Arts to honor Women’s History Month. Special guest Wendy (Webster) Williams, Ginsburg’s autobiographer, spoke to the packed audience. Williams grew up in Quincy and is a Quincy High graduate.
Board of directors
McKeown serves as founder and president for the nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and operates in a very lean fashion with volunteer board members Secretary Carol Snow, Treasurer Jeanne Fagliano and board member Susan Christensen.
The foundation’s website is an excellent resource, both for applicants and donors, and explains that administrative expenses are “kept to an absolute minimum. We are able to accomplish this because we are a volunteer organization and as such, we do not incur employee-related expenses. We also do not incur typical monthly expenses, such as office rent and utilities. We are therefore able to maximize the impact of all donations for the benefit of the community.”
Designating where funds go
The Common Good’s board works closely with donors to provide support where it is most needed and accepts applications twice yearly, in May and November.
“The donors can designate how their contributions are spent or they can be unrestricted, in which case the board of directors decides on where grants monies are awarded,” McKeown explained.
Only nonprofit organizations may apply and people from all walks of life, from every part of the county and representing a wide range of needs, come to the foundation with their own dreams and goals.
Leading the Common Good Community Foundation and working closely with so many people in our communities continues to be a rewarding endeavor in its own right for McKeown and her volunteers. With each grant cycle they complete, the foundation lives up to its own goals.
“Our mission is to encourage and develop local philanthropy and serve as a conduit through which charitable funds can be distributed to meet the needs of the Plumas County community,” reads their mission statement. “In doing so, we want to build a legacy of support to ensure that worthwhile and valuable programs and projects continue to enrich our community for generations to come.”
Common Good Community Foundation at a glance
The Common Good Community Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation. All donations are tax deductible.
Only nonprofit organizations may apply for funding and a valid Federal Tax ID number is required.
Funding requests for 2020 will be accepted in May and November.
For more information:
The Common Good
364 Johnsville Road
Blairsden, CA 96103
Some recipients of Common Good Community Foundation Funding since 2012 have included:
1Life Fully Lived
Camp Fire – Roundhouse Council
Chester Community Chorus
Community Assistance Network
dramaworks/Magic Beanstalk Players Program
Feather River Trout Unlimited
Friends of Plumas Wilderness
Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce Barn Quilt Tour
Indian Valley Recreation & Parks District
Lost Sierra Tourist Center
Mohawk Community Resource Center
Peninsula Fire Sirens
Plumas County Museum
Plumas Eureka State Park Association
Plumas Grief Support
Plumas Rural Services Girl’s Rite Program
Portola Kids Inc.
Quincy Coop Preschool
Quincy Heartsafe Community Quircus
Sierra Nevada Journeys
Scholarship funds, local art galleries and others