North Tahoe-Truckee area resorts are typically competitive, working diligently to differentiate themselves and entice skiers to their properties. But eight resorts have set aside the competition and collaborated to raise funds for the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation through an innovative giving program.
The Tahoe50 giving program, which is administered by TTCF and was launched in 2014, offers an exclusive ski package to 50 donors annually, granting them unrestricted access to Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Northstar, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Sugar Bowl, Royal Gorge, Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Resort and Cross Country Adventure Center. The passes cost $10,000 for one year or $35,000 for four years, and all of the pass proceeds go to TTCF to support its giving efforts.
“We all want to ensure the trees and forest are protected, the community is stable, our residents aren’t hungry and the watershed is healthy. By nature, these are causes that attract the resorts.” Stacy Caldwell, CEO, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
The Tahoe50 pass concept arose from a joint brainstorming session between TTCF leadership and representatives from the local resorts, along with the Vail Resort Management Group, which supports a similar program through The Summit Foundation in Colorado. Both the resorts and TTCF strive to protect the environment and contribute to a thriving community — one that attracts visitors and retains employees. This is done through a variety of efforts, including those that focus on forest management and affordable housing.
“The resorts have been long-time investors who have been embedded in our work from the start,” says TTCF CEO Stacy Caldwell. “We all want to ensure the trees and forest are protected, the community is stable, our residents aren’t hungry and the watershed is healthy. By nature, these are causes that attract the resorts.”
Over the past four years, Tahoe50 has generated $650,000 in direct donations. These gifts are magnified when used as matching donations through Give Back Tahoe, an end-of-year giving program with an online donation portal and awareness campaign, organized through TTCF.
The North Tahoe Family Resource Center has directly benefited from Tahoe50 fundraising. The center offers services to individuals and families to address food insecurity, appropriate and safe housing, and basic mental health services. The nonprofit’s ultimate goal is to help people become self-sufficient and financially literate, and offers varied support to parents.
“Through our relationship with TTCF, we were able to secure a space at the community house, which is a location that houses multiple safety-net organizations. This enables us to interface with the public we serve,” says Amy Kelley, a senior adviser with the center.
The TTCF has also supported the North Tahoe Family Resource Center in capacity-building initiatives. TTCF purchased a donor database and hired a fundraising coach for the organization. “With those fundraising tools and strategies, we were catapulted to fundraise six times more than the previous year,” Kelley says.
As the Tahoe50 program continues to grow, the TTCF will measure total donations infused into the region, the challenge grants awarded through the Give Back Tahoe giving season and the number of capacity-building grants awarded through its accelerator. These metrics allow TTCF to gauge success and growth, ensuring the communities in the region benefit as a result.