The Sierra Fund plays a vital role in bringing new resources to the Sierra through advocacy and capacity building rooted in the tenets of environmental justice. The Sierra Nevada is key to the resilience of California, providing ecosystems services necessary to the vitality of the entire state. Yet, the vast region lacks representation in the Capital compared to other regions and it is blighted by the devastating impacts of the Gold Rush. The on-going socio-economic hardship faced by Sierra Nevada communities, more than half of which live below the state limits for poverty, makes economic growth and revitalization projects difficult for rural leaders to attract and carry out.
The Sierra Fund played a seminal role in the legislation that formed the Sierra Nevada Conservancy which distributes State funds dedicated to the region through competitive grant programs. The ability to apply for, administer and implement projects using these funds requires seasoned organizational capacity. and The Sierra Fund is dedicated to helping underestimated communities, First Nation-led tribal organizations and local governmental entities gain acumen order to promote the equitable distribution of limited State resources.
The Sierra Fund has also been a long-standing fixture in the development of the Cosumnes, American Bear Yuba (CABY) Integrated Water Management Planning (IRWMP) Group. The CABY IRWMP acts as the regional vehicle through which the Department of Water Resources allocates funds for water infrastructure, water quality and ecosystem services projects. The Sierra Fund works tirelessly to increase the participation of underestimated, underrepresented, and underserved communities and Tribal entities so that they too can receive state funds for projects. The Sierra Fund has built a reputation of excellence in the State Capital and continues to improve the development and implementation of legislation impacting the Sierra Nevada. It plays a leadership role in the annual Sierra Day in the Capital and continuously track developing legislation that affects the Sierra.
The Sierra Fund’s Vision for Building Capacity in the Sierra Nevada
The Sierra Nevada 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 lasting and sustainable organizations. These groups need new resources to grow, including financial and technical capacity and a strategic approach to fundraising.
“We envision governmental agencies, community organizations, and business leaders in the Sierra Nevada with the resources they need to take action to protect and restore ecosystem and community resilience in the region.” Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin, CEO
The goal of The Sierra Fund’s Capacity Building program is to ensure that the Sierra Nevada has a resounding voice in the State Capital and is able to direct resources to increase community and ecosystem resiliency to the region. The Sierra needs strong, local organizations with the capacity to apply for, administer and implement lasting beneficial projects in the headwaters. The Sierra Fund is committed to supporting the incubation of these organizations. Our place-based approach builds the capacity of the region to recover from the impacts of the Gold Rush as well as to withstand a future of climate change.