Anderson Leaves Quite a Legacy With Community Foundation

Giving. It’s a concept that often seems so foreign amid a culture focused (obsessed?) on gaining and protecting wealth.

Kathy Ann Anderson has witnessed a different view in far Northern California, however. As CEO of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation since it began in 1999, Anderson has seen the beauty and positive results that have grown out of individuals, groups and organizations giving back to their communities.

A steady hand at the helm of the organization (and a founding member), Anderson is retiring at the end of April to spend more time with her family, including her husband Dennis.

The non-profit foundation, often confused with Shasta Regional Medical Center (of which it is not related), is actively searching for a replacement for Anderson. Board member Mary Rickert says it’s a very tall task.

“Kathy wants what’s best for the community and she always has the best of intentions for the greater good,” Rickert said. “You don’t find too many people that are that sincere. We’ve just been blessed to have her in this position for more than 10 years.”

During Anderson’s tenure, the foundation’s assets have risen to $10 million for the 101 community funds that it manages. Individuals, groups and organizations work with the foundation to fund community projects that they’re passionate about.

The Northern California Veterans Endowment Fund was created through the foundation to fund the Veteran’s Cemetery near Igo. The Cascade Theatre Endowment Fund is managed through the foundation. The Burney Regional Community Fund, established with a gift of $500,000 from wind farm company Pattern Energy Group LP, was created to address needs within the Burney area.

A number of scholarship, animal welfare and arts endowments are managed through the foundation. (For a full list, click here.)

The Shasta Regional Community Foundation evolved out of the former Grant and Resources Center in Redding. The McConnell Foundation provided the initial funding with the idea that the Foundation would serve needs in the communities in Shasta and Siskiyou counties. The foundation’s 13-member board is made up of residents of both counties.

The foundation has allocated more than $8.4 million worth of grants and scholarships to college-bound students, artists and nonprofit organizations.

“It’s not just about one person being able to give, it’s been about the whole community pitching in,” says Anderson. “Our job has been to work with donors to ensure that their money is being well spent by non-profits for community benefit. It’s also a way to capture money and keep it local.

“We get to meet some incredible people. For many of them, they feel the community has been good to them and they want to give back in a more formal way, and perhaps create a legacy.”

The story of the Northern California Veterans Endowment was one of the most memorable of Anderson’s tenure, she said. The foundation worked with the group as it raised $275,000 in nine months, including small donations of $5, $10 and $20, and one older gentleman who came in with a tackle box full of money.

“It was wonderful to be a part of that process,” Anderson said. “The veterans were working for 16 years to get that (cemetery) here. It was one of the most wonderful, heartwarming experiences I’ve had. That kind of collective philanthropy is very powerful.”

Anderson has also been excited by The Women’s Fund, a fund created in 2009 that aims to improve the lives of women and families in the greater Redding area. The fund’s first grant was allocated to a program to help teach young women how to manage their money.

In addition to working with local donors, Anderson said the foundation has played a key role in establishing important relationships with other foundations across the state. In 2005, the group worked with the James Irvine Foundation to distribute $150,000 towards arts programs in the area. The Shasta Regional Community Foundation has raised $103,000 toward a new goal of $150,000, which will kick in a new, matching grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

“The relationships we’ve built with groups in the Bay Area and Los Angeles are important because they don’t understand our community,” Anderson said. “With government funding cutbacks, those relationships are even more important.”

In retirement, Anderson said, she plans on doing some traveling with Dennis. The two have done some world travel, but have never seen places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.

She’ll help with the transition to a new director before she goes.

“She’s leaving the foundation in excellent condition,” says board member Rickert. “The board and the people who work for her adore her. I’m sure she will stay involved and very interested. Someone will assume her position, but she can never be replaced.”

Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight’s D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Jim Dyar

is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at jimd.anewscafe@gmail.com

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