The Sierra Fund was founded to increase and organize investment in the Sierra Nevada region. The Sierra Nevada region is served by a small but growing network of community and environmental groups working to protect and restore the region. Many have vision and passion but lack the administrative experience to build a lasting and sustainable organization. These groups need more resources to grow their financial and technical capacity and their strategic approach to program development and fundraising. It is easy to document that most of the large public and private foundations in California are located in either the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles, and that none make their home in the headwater region. This results in a disconnect between these foundations that invest in an idealized Sierra Nevada as a pristine vacation destination with abundant resources and the reality of a region still devastated by the extractive ethics of the 19th century Gold Rush. Building a strong philanthropic and administrative presence in the region, led by people who live and work here, brings critical capacity to the Sierra, to the benefit of the entire state.
The Sierra Fund is a leading voice in articulating the connections between the resiliency of Sierra Nevada ecosystems and communities and the long-term sustainability of California’s natural resources. We know what is needed to address environmental challenges facing the region. Our task now is to improve our own capacity, and the region’s capacity, to attract and deploy the mechanisms needed to implement these solutions.