Placer Community Foundation

Our History and Our Community

Our Roots Reach Back Over 70 Years

Maple Street PCF officeOur history reaches back over 70 years to when the Auburn Community Foundation was created in 1948 as a private foundation by the caring, forward-looking Beecher family. But the story of Placer Community Foundation starts in 2005, when a few visionary residents from among our county’s communities did something brilliant for all of us. They imagined something that hadn’t been here before — a public foundation belonging to everyone, where generous people could go to get expert support and hear creative ideas that would help them to amplify and achieve their charitable intentions.

They pictured a prudently managed organization overseen by a diverse board of civic leaders, where donations could be invested together to grow, where anyone could become a donor, and where donors became true philanthropists—able over time to grant out even more than they had put in, and able at any moment to call on a team of professionals with a knowledge of the community’s needs and resources that truly runs deep.

Their idea was, and is, your Placer Community Foundation. The secure, well-managed public resource they envisioned is now a multi-million dollar consortium of funds and, with your help, in a relatively short time the Foundation has grown so it can be deployed to tackle our region’s most urgent challenges and seize promising opportunities to improve lives throughout Placer County and beyond.

Encouraging Philanthropy

janice-webJanice Forbes, a native of Auburn, was the Founding Chairman of the Board of Directors for Placer Community Foundation. The Foundation serves people and nonprofit organizations in communities throughout Placer County. The combined assets of the Foundation and its supporting organization are over $19 million. The Foundation resides in a 150-year-old Victorian building that was originally dedicated in 1855 as Placer County’s first hospital. Click here to learn more about Janice Forbes.

Since 1948, the Foundation has provided over $15.5 million in grants to many different nonprofit organizations throughout the county. View our most recent annual report here: 2020 Annual Report

Building Community

AccreditedCF_SealDonors at PCF have organized their philanthropy to help their fellow community members. Whether it be to provide fresh food and produce to our hungry, teaching our young people to read, providing computers to foster youth, expanding arts programming or protecting animals and our wild and scenic areas, donors at PCF make an impact.

Placer Community Foundation is a public institution that prepares us for the future instead of borrowing against it. We celebrate the foresight of the generous people who came before us, and are all around us, still contributing, still imagining. As a part of PCF, your example inspires every one of us to think about the needs of our neighbors and be good stewards of our community, and for those who will come next.

Historical Highlights

1948 Community Foundation is established through an unrestricted gift by M.S. and Esta Beecher.

1983 Historic Courthouse renovation project funded.

1997 Longtime Placer resident Irene Schnaus leaves our largest unrestricted gift of bequest to date, $2 million.

2004 Placer Collaborative Network becomes a project of the Community Foundation.

2005 Established by the Board of Directors as the Placer Community Foundation, the organization becomes a public charity with new bylaws that expand its philanthropic reach to serve the western slope of Placer County.

2005 The James Irvine Foundation begins grants totaling $1.1 million to the Community Foundation to build the capacity of the organization as a philanthropic leader in the region.

2006 The first scholarship fund is established through a legacy gift by Marian Walsh.  The John G. and Lillian M. Walsh Family Scholarship Fund supports students graduating from Placer High School and Del Oro High School.

2007 Certification for compliance with rigorous National Standards puts us in the front rank of some 700 U.S. community foundations.

2008 Development of the Audience Development Program for the Arts provides marketing grants to local arts organizations aimed to increase public awareness of their programming.

2009 Received the Grantmaker of the Year Award for the region as a result of our strategic technical assistance grantmaking for the nonprofit sector.

2010 Established the Advisor Giving Circle comprised of local estate planning attorneys and CPAs who screen applications and provide funds for grants made to support local Youth Development programs and services.

2011 Natural Wonders Forever Fund—the first Agency Endowment Fund established by the Placer Land Trust.

2012 Nonprofit Board Leadership Summit brings together over 200 local, nonprofit board members to learn best practices on board governance.

2013 Annual Nonprofit Leadership Summit brings Heather McLeod Grant to speak to 250 attendees. PCF grants to the Placer Food Bank for a mobile food pantry.

2014 Placer Food Bank’s mobile food pantry begins making deliveries of fresh produce to locations around Placer County.

2015 25 youth ages 8-12 from Excel Roseville got to be engineers for the day at the Hacker Lab Sierra College in Rocklin.

2016  PCF creates Placer Housing Matters, a project with the goal of educating the public and shining the light on the need for attainable housing for our workforce in Placer County.

2017 Our structured tour series that takes donors to local nonprofits where they can see their operations and learn about their missions first-hand, is founded.

2018 Placer Community Foundation makes $1.48M in grants supporting youth, the arts, animals, community leadership, and health and human service causes.

2020 Placer County contracts with PCF to administer CARES Act funding to local nonprofits addressing the needs of our community during the Covid-19 pandemic. Grants this year total $4.3M.

2021 The River Fire strikes our community. Local donors respond immediately and through grants and partnership with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Foundation and Nevada Fire Relief Fund, fire victims receive assistance.

2022 Mercy North Auburn at Rock Creek, a 79-home affordable family community, opens its doors on the County government campus after years of advocacy by PCF board members, staff, and volunteers.

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