One of North Valley Community Foundation’s founding principles is the concept that human beings are inherently good, and that we can take care of one another and this planet. Our world shifted and changed the past year in ways that were once unfathomable, but we have seen this principle remain as relevant and true as ever.
When the familiar items and routines that we most relied on in our daily lives were stripped away and we were left in our most basic, elemental form, we remembered we can lean on, and into, each other. And we did.
Not only did the disaster relief and recovery work and partnerships NVCF participates in continue to grow and expand, but the work done by the nearly 500 charitable funds that are part of NVCF continued and expanded as well. Those charitable funds adapted in incredible ways to continue to do the good work they were created to do. Not only that, but nearly two dozen new funds were established and began their missions with NVCF in the last year.
This fiscal year, these nearly 500 funds have put nearly $7 million out into various communities to do good work. More than ever, tending to each other and the needs of our communities was accomplished by diverse groups of individuals, families, service clubs, businesses and agencies. Students were awarded scholarships, animals were sheltered and fed, social inequities were brought to the forefront and the arts and education causes were celebrated and advanced.
While so many things changed, we all found comfort and strength in realizing that some things remain the same, particularly the desire of humans to look outside of themselves and address a cause or issue.
Our funds are the core of NVCF and every single fund we hold represents countless hours of hard work and deep caring to make the world a better place. We are proud to walk alongside the helpers and servers and we are honored to be able to facilitate their work.
Common Humanity Fund
The Jim Jessee Common Humanity Fund was created in late 2020 to support the pursuit of common humanity, including affordable housing, lifelong learning, spiritual exploration and dogs. The fund was established by Jessee’s family in honor of his legacy as a Chico native and a local historian who wore many hats during his eventful life.
Jessee had many passionate pursuits, traveled broadly, and worked to learn about and value his fellow humans throughout his life, but as part of a four-generation Chico family, he always returned to Butte County. His family tells his life story beautifully in the Celebration of Life that is included on NVCF.org.
Jessee was a former director of Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) at Chico State College in the early 1970s and a founding member of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP). He worked in several capacities at Chico State over the years before retiring as the director of academic facilities, publications and databases in 2008. Through the Jim Jessee Common Humanity Fund, his local legacy of pursuing and promoting common humanity lives on in Chico.
Memorial Hope Fund
The Chico community was devastated to learn of the passing of Diane Ruby in May 2020. Diane was the co-founder of Sheraton Real Estate Management, a longtime member of the NVCF board of directors and was known in the community for her overwhelming kindness and generosity.
To honor her incredible legacy, her husband Larry founded the Diane Ruby Memorial Hope Fund at NVCF to provide financial support to those in financial need following the death of a loved one. This fund was established to allow those experiencing a loss to grieve and honor their loved one by helping to cover the various costs that families suffering a tragedy incur.
BETHEL AME CHURCH RESTORATION FUND
After the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota and other violence against Black Americans, a group of citizens in Chico opened the Bethel AME Church Restoration Project Fund at NVCF as a gesture of love and support for Chico’s historically Black church.
In less than a year, the fund raised more than $100,000 and the community pitched in to help restore Chico’s oldest church. With the significant help of building industry professionals donating their time and materials, and volunteer groups working hard on weekends, the building was fully restored and painted, and a new roof and flooring were installed.
Reverend Loretta Dickerson Smith singing at the celebratory gathering for the completed Bethel AME Church.
RED BLUFF ALUMS FOR JUSTICE SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Red Bluff Alums for Justice Scholarship Fund may be one of new funds this fiscal year at NVCF, but there is nothing new about its goal of humanizing the issue of racial inequality.
The advisors of this fund, alumni of Red Bluff schools, hold close the knowledge that while injustices most certainly endure in small towns as much as in the big cities, the existing qualities of a close-knit, rural community may be just the vessel in which meaningful policy change can proceed. The resources shared through their active social media encourages just that.
The fund offers scholarships to high school seniors in the Red Bluff Joint Union High School District who have been traditionally underrepresented in their community and hold marginalized identities or who are engaging in social justice work in their community.
CHICO ARTS AND CULTURE FOUNDATION
The Chico Arts and Culture Foundation is celebrating its 10th year with North Valley Community Foundation. Since 2011, this fund has raised money to augment and support the Chico city government’s various art programs.
Founding members see Chico as a place where the arts are a valued component of everyday life, a significant force in a thriving economy, and a place for Chicoans to express their creative impulses and experience beauty. Walking tours of Downtown Public Art are hosted regularly, and the fund facilitates virtual storytelling events including a frequent Friday Art Feature where various pieces of public art are highlighted.
While progress on some projects was halted during this past year, the Chico Arts and Culture Foundation board continued to meet monthly, recognizing and readying itself for the upcoming opportunity to once again celebrate the timeless, essentiality of art in all of its forms.
For a list of our funds, click here.