REGIONAL — A new community foundation has launched with a vision to enhance the quality of life in the Tri-Valley and greater East Bay Area.
Three Valleys Community Foundation (3VCF) aims to broaden philanthropic support by benefitting local nonprofits, along with donors by connecting them with the most immediate and pressing community needs, explained John Sensiba, chair of the 3VCF board of directors.
“Three Valleys will do this via donor advised funds (DAFs), direct gifts and endowment opportunities. We will also work to support local nonprofits via agency funds and grantmaking,” Sensiba continued.
The name of the organization is a nod to the Amador, Livermore and San Ramon valleys, an area that encompasses the communities of Alamo, Danville, Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Sunol.
A volunteer committee of local community and business leaders has been working for more than a year to establish Three Valleys Community Foundation. The organization received expedited approval by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit.
“Over the past year, we’ve sought the advice of more than 50 local, state and national community foundation experts,” said Susan Houghton, 3VCF founder and board member. “We are committed to incorporating their best practices, as well as the accreditation requirements outlined by The Council of Foundations, a leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations.”
In the spirit of collaboration, a number of other local grantmaking and philanthropic organizations will be partnering with Three Valleys Community Foundation during its operational launch phase, including The Community Foundation of San Joaquin, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Community Initiatives, Northern California Grantmakers and the East Bay Community Foundation. Fremont Bank will provide banking services. In addition, a number of Founding Champions, including Alameda County Supervisors David Haubert and Nate Miley and several local corporations, supported the launch of Three Valleys Community Foundation.
“I am honored to support the Three Valleys Community Foundation,” said Haubert, who represents Alameda County Supervisorial District 1. “This foundation is crucial to the Tri-Valley as it strengthens the cities through civic engagement and sustainable philanthropy."
Miley, District 4, also expressed pride in supporting the foundation.
“This foundation will help small grassroots organizations connect with funding and opportunities to better serve some of our most vulnerable residents,” Miley continued.
Other Founding Champions include Bishop Ranch, Wente Family Estates, Sensiba San Filippo, The Livermore Independent and Lynn and Joan Seppala. Hacienda Helping Hands will open a field of interest community fund with 3VCF, and the Pleasanton Weekly 2021 Holiday Fund will be the organization’s first public campaign. This annual community campaign, now in its 20th year, provides grants to local nonprofits — chosen by the Pleasanton Weekly.
Three Valleys Community Foundation is also working closely with the TriValley Nonprofit Alliance and Las Positas College to offer free nonprofit training. Those programs, offered once a month, will launch in December 2021. The Tri-Valley region is rich in innovation, scientific and technical achievements, agriculture, natural beauty, and the arts, and fosters a strong commitment to inclusion and community. Yet, as cited in Innovation Tri-Valley’s 2040 vision report, there is opportunity to improve quality of life in the region even more through private philanthropy.
“The annual (gross domestic product) of our area is more than $42 billion,” said Sensiba. “Yet less than half of a percent comes back to support the more than 350 local nonprofits serving our communities. Three Valleys Community Foundation desires to increase this proportion of local giving to create a region where every single person has the opportunity to live a full and rewarding life.”
The founding board of directors of Three Valleys Community Foundation includes John Sensiba of Sensiba San Filippo (chair); Susan Houghton, founder of Sunflower Hill (secretary/interim treasurer); and board members Kenneth Cooper of Las Positas College, Margaret Liang of APAPA, Tim Sbranti of Innovation Tri-Valley, and Christine Wente of Wente Family Estates. Advisory council members include Catharine Baker, Hoge Fenton; Chris Carter, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center; James Paxson, Hacienda Business Park; Scott Roberts, Mass Mutual; Wendy Fukamaki, PG&E; Joe Cristiano, Bank of San Francisco; John Freeman, California Water Service; and Reena Gupta, Mom Relaunch. Steve McCoy-Thompson serves as the interim executive director.
The operating values of 3VCF are integrity and transparency; equity and inclusiveness; and collaboration and innovation. Local residents, donors and corporations are invited to support Three Valleys Community Foundation as part of the organization’s Founding Champions program.
“There is great strength in our region,” noted Houghton. “We want to build upon the efforts already underway in our three valleys — Amador, Livermore and San Ramon — and we invite all residents to join us in doing that.”