Sitting down to write this story, I was sidelined by an email from Megan Conn, Program Officer at the Community Foundation of the North State.
Several days before, I was in a virtual meeting with Megan and the CEO of the Community Foundation, Kerry Caranci. We were talking about the work the foundation does in the region, and how important it is to have support from community partners like Pattern Energy.
As Kerry said to me, “Our job at the Community Foundation is to make our community better through philanthropy. The Burney region is lucky because not every region or town has a funding source like the Burney Regional Community Fund, and that makes it special.
“It is also special because we have a community panel that decides how we spend the funds that we raise. We don’t tell each community what we think they need, they tell us what they need. Having a community panel is a very good thing.”
The foundation celebrated 20 years of philanthropy in the fall of 2020. They marked the milestone with a name change to provide inclusivity to the communities they serve: California’s Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama counties.
Formerly the Shasta Region Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of the North State, has distributed more than $34-million dollars to local organizations and projects since its inception in 1999. One of the funds they manage is the Burney Regional Community Fund that was established with a donation from Pattern Energy’s Hatchet Ridge Wind facility in 2009.
As I mentioned when I started this article, I had received an email reply from Megan at the Community Foundation. I was going to write a story about several different ways the Burney Regional Community Fund is supporting the Intermountain Region and had asked Megan a question about donations to the Burney Fire District and Hat Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
Her reply started this way, and right away I got the seriousness:
“Golly, they had a fire in the Burney area yesterday, and I just received photos from it.”
We had a brief exchange over email where Megan let me know that, yes, the fire was put out due to the quick reaction of local firefighters and California Forestry and Fire Protection mobilizing air tankers and fire fighting crews.
According to an article in the Record Searchlight, the call went out about a vegetation fire behind the Pit River Casino at 12:44 pm, and by 3:20 pm, approximately 45 residents had been evacuated from their homes. The fire grew to 20.5 acres in size, but by 5:15 pm, residential evacuations were halted as firefighters had stopped the fire’s advancement and got it under control.
The Power and Importance of Community
Pattern Energy’s wind and solar facilities regularly make donations and sponsorships to community partners in their regions. We work with organizations like the Community Foundation of the North State to help facilitate their philanthropic giving.
As anyone living in the West knows, fires are a massive danger to our way of life, and this was driven home by the recent fire. This year, the Burney Regional Community Fund supported a variety of great organizations, but about 30% of the total funds distributed went to the Burney Fire District and the Hat Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
The Hat Creek Volunteer Fire Department does search and rescue as part of its operations, and the donated funds helped them purchase an all terrain litter wheel and a double rope pulley for rescue operations.
The Burney Fire District’s grant supported the purchase of firefighting PPE (personal protection equipment).
More Good News
Regardless of the city, town, village, or county, it can never be said enough times: Without the bravery of our professional and volunteer firefighters, we’d all be in trouble.
Having said that, other needs of the community don’t stop once the fires do. Grants awarded by the Burney Regional Community Fund in 2021 also supported:
- The Spay & Neuter Intermountain Pets & Pet Placement (SNIPPP) to provide low-cost and/or free spay-neuter vouchers for dogs and cats.
- Mayers Healthcare Foundation to purchase a cross training machine for skilled nursing facility residents.
- Tri County Community Network to support the 2021 KidFit program with supplies, promotional materials, and prizes.
The work of the Community Foundation of the North State is important, and the team loves what they do. As Megan and I ended our conversation she said, “It is fulfilling to work for an organization that does so much for its communities. I grew up in Paradise, California, and these grants really make a difference here.” You can support the foundation’s work in the Intermountain region by contributing to the Burney Regional Community Fund.