By Kevin Hartwick

Many people make giving to charity part of their holiday tradition. It is a wonderful way to add meaning to the holidays. This year, some forward thinking residents in our region have planned beyond that one-time gift to giving that will benefit their community for generations. As a board member of the Wild Rivers Community Foundation, I have learned that people have the capacity to make a lasting difference in a cause they support using community foundations as the vehicle. We help you think about giving locally and provide a resource for creating positive community impact but over the long term.

This year, new funds established at the Wild Rivers Community Foundation will be doing just that. Local long time residents Philip and Beth Schafer used their IRA to start a fund at the foundation which will give to their favorite causes in perpetuity. The foundation helped the Schafer's take advantage of a tax law set to expire on December 31, 2007 allowing IRA contributions to charities without tax penalties. Their fund will benefit the Del Norte Scholarship Foundation, Del Norte Library Foundation, Rowdy Creek Fish Hatchery, Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness (DNACA), St. Joseph's Catholic School, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Sutter Coast Hospital's philanthropy fund and Lighthouse Repertory Theatre's building fund, among others.

Foundations also support and encourage the efforts of residents to undertake community projects. This year local veterans have come together to plan, design and build a meaningful and lasting memorial to those from our region who have, do and will serve in all branches the armed forces. The Veteran's Monument Fund was established raise funds to build, and in the future, maintain a monument built locally that will be the focal point of public events and memorial services.

Community foundations are often used provide a vehicle to honor people. For instance Dr. Tom Martinelli's family saw this as a perfect way to honor his sister-in-law, Maureen McHugh Martinelli, who died earlier this year of cancer. The fund they created will support social justice causes and her cherished school in Southern California. Maureen's life will be celebrated through future generations with the annual gifts that this fund will generate in perpetuity. Similarly, the Sweet Old Bill Fund will celebrate the life of beloved community legend Bill Stamps who was heard for 41 years on local radio with the motto andquot;people touching peopleandquot;. The fund will continue the work of Sweet Old Bill to support children, people in need, blight elimination and community development in the Wild Rivers region.

The Wild Rivers Community Foundation is a charitable organization founded to encourage charitable giving to support the region now and forever. With $2.3 million currently invested to serve the community, the foundation made over $81,000 this year in grants and scholarships. Year end is the perfect time of year to give to support the causes you care about and reduce the amount of income tax you pay. Tax deductible donations may be made to any of the existing Wild Rivers Community Foundation funds or you may wish to consider establishing your own fund. For more information or to make a contribution, contact Wild Rivers Community Foundation: in Crescent City, Karen Phillips at 707-218-6262; in Curry County, Gerry Livingston at 541-469-0497 or visit our website at www.wildriverscf@hafounda

Kevin Hartwick is a CPA and Founding Board Member of the Wild Rivers Community Foundation