The Kenwood Press
: 02/01/2012

Five years of giving

A Challenge to our village by the Oakmont Community Foundation

Yvonne Frauenfelder

Most of us have made a New Year’s resolution centering around the thought of making a difference in other people’s lives. Bob Giddings, president of the Oakmont Community Foundation, Pat Amedeo, Pat Clothier, Bill Anderson and Susan Millar, directors of the Oakmont Community Foundation, have turned their respective resolve into action by contributing $2,500 to the charitable organization’s General Fund. Their hope is that our residents will rise to the challenge by matching and, hopefully, exceeding this amount.

Several years ago, the Long Range Planning Commission recognized the desire by many individuals to make tax deductible donations in order to enrich and enhance the educational possibilities that Oakmont offers to its inhabitants. However, there was no vehicle accommodating these wishes. Hence the Oakmont Community Foundation’s gestation.

Tax accountants and attorneys offered their services pro bono, and in 2007, after a lengthy and involved process with the IRS, a 501(c)(3) entity was incorporated with the state of California.

While the above tax status allows charitable giving of any sort, the initiators of the Foundation elected to direct their grants uniquely at educational efforts and equipment. What exact activities or supplies do, indeed, qualify under its term “education”?

Among a dozen recipients of grants, the computer clubs serve as a primary example. If new laptops, screens or keyboards are needed, the associations find a willing and generous partner in the Foundation. And just recently, the library was in need of more shelves, which was an ideal opportunity to help. “Nothing says education like a library,” intoned Bob Giddings, the charity’s enthusiastic president.

A grateful beneficiary of the Foundation is the Oakmont Concert Series, one of the most beloved organizations in our village. Of similar significance is the Sunday Symposium that features prominent speakers on varied themes such as anthropology, world history and 2012 election preview.

The list of grants ranges from the Art Association to Current Events; Great Decision Series and, naturally, the courses of the Osher program of Life Long Learning. Not dry material, mind you, but Yiddish Musical Theater, the Roots of Broadway and the raucous and fascinating 16th Century Stuart Dynasty, among many other interesting subjects. To ensure that everybody who wishes to attend these classes has the opportunity to do so, the Foundation willingly underwrites scholarships.

Oakmont is an adult community singular in its scenic setting, its communal life, and above all, the people who live here. They come from all phases of life and from all over the country, but they have one thing in common: a zest for life. There are some 125-plus clubs and organizations among a population of 4,500. Our neighbors are busy from dawn until dusk, engaged in every imaginable activity from sports to amusements to education.

It is in this latter realm that the Oakmont Community Foundations has found its calling. Personal improvement does not stop at retirement; on the contrary, it is precisely at this moment when time is more abundant and energy is renewed that we seek to explore new horizons. But the opportunities offered do come at a price. Our dues do not cover all the amenities we are wishing for. Subsidies are needed and the Foundation’s objective is to assist financially. However, it cannot fulfill its role without us playing a sizeable part by donating monies generously in support of our music, our lessons and our lectures.

Funds can be designated for a specific activity, allocated to the General Fund, or you can make a bequest of your estate or some portion of it to a Legacy Fund, vested with the Oakmont Community Foundation. And let us remember that it is fully tax deductible!

At this very moment, a grant challenge lies on the table. The OCF directors have gifted $2,500, and it is now incumbent upon those of us who are in the position to meet this benevolent gesture. Every dollar counts; $5, $10, $20, $100, the amount is less important than the act of giving, whatever your means. Since its very inception in 2007, the impressive sum of $45,000 has been awarded to various clubs and organizations, without diminution for expenses, which are borne exclusively by the directors.

The Oakmont Community Foundation is making a compelling difference in the life of our community. Therefore, let us all commit to making 2012 the very best fundraising year. Please donate readily and generously toward its myriad charitable grants and awards for educational pursuits and experiences here in our lovely village of Oakmont.

For information please contact any of the Foundations’ directors, or its president, Bob Giddings, at 539-6158.