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Sierra State Parks Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment, Environmental Education

Mission: The Sierra State Parks Foundation (SSPF) believes that the Lake Tahoe and Donner area California State Parks are unique treasures worthy of our support. We fund projects and educational programs that connect people with our rich natural resources and cultural heritage. Because of this work and advocacy our parks will continue to be places of education and inspiration for generations to come. As the official cooperating association of the California State Parks in the Lake Tahoe and Donner region, SSPF provides support to seven California State Parks: Washoe Meadows, Emerald Bay, DL Bliss, Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point, Donner Memorial as well as Tahoe and Kings Beach State Recreational Areas.

Results: SIERRA STATE PARKS FOUNDATION FAQ WHO IS THE SIERRA STATE PARKS FOUNDATION? The Sierra State Parks Foundation is the official cooperating association for seven California State Parks in the Lake Tahoe-Donner region. We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission of providing critically needed financial and professional support for education, interpretation, restoration and preservation consistent with the mission of California State Parks. SSPF provides support to seven California State Parks: Washoe Meadows, Emerald Bay, DL Bliss, Ed Z’Berg Sugar Pine Point, Donner Memorial as well as Tahoe, Kings Beach State Recreation Areas. WHY DO WE EXSIST? The Sierra State Parks Foundation believes that the Lake Tahoe and Donner area California State Parks are unique treasures worthy of our support. We fund projects and educational programs that connect people with our rich natural resources and cultural heritage. Because of this work and advocacy our parks will continue to be places of education and inspiration for generations to come. WHY CAN’T STATE PARKS PAY? California State Parks receive operating funds from three sources: State General Fund annual allocations, the State Parks and Recreation Fund (fee based) and contributions from partners, such as the Sierra State Parks Foundation.  The amount supported by the General Fund has been reduced from 80% (1978) to 17% (2015) while visitation has doubled and park acreage increased.   Fees have become an important source of operating dollars and currently contribute 50% to the amount available to operate our Lake Tahoe-Truckee area parks. It would require another 50% increase to operate the parks at 1978 levels. These revenues, coupled with the contributions of SSPF have enable our local parks to keep our head above the water, but do not come near the actual costs associated with park operations and maintenance directives.   There is no permanent public funding source for our state parks in California. Funding sources fluctuate year to year making long term planning and visioning difficult. We are striving for a day when our parklands are valued and supported with the level of protection, management and restoration they need. WHERE DO WE GET OUR MONEY? The Sierra State Parks Foundation operates four retail stores at our park visitor centers. In addition, fees are collected for tours of Vikingsholm (Emerald Bay State Park) and the Hellman-Ehrman Estate at Sugar Pine Point State Park. These sources of income enable our Foundation to cover our operational costs and return a modest amount back to the State for program needs. This strategy enables our donor contributions to be 100% applied to projects. We depend on th generosity of our members and donors to get our projects complete. Our fundraising efforts are four fold: memberships, events, grants and direct contributions for specific projects. Because of these efforts, SSPF provided $578,226 to State Parks in 2015

Target demographics: We provide unfunded education, interpretation, restoration and preservationsupport to our parks.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 1.5 million visitors to our parks had an enriched expereince because of our work.

Geographic areas served: We provide support to the 7 California State Parks in the Lake Tahoe-Donner region

Programs: Tours and programs to education and commemerate based on the theme of the individual park. All items must be related to the educational and interpretive themes of the park and the state park system. During 2014 this included hosting unique educational events such as "conversations with history" and "twilight wanderings". Creation, planning and sale of interpretive items.

sierra state parks foundation raises money for specific purposes and operational functions in the california state parks system, and then makes grants to fulfill the donor intentions and maintain the accessibility of the parks. During 2014, the foundation funded the electrical system upgrade and a study for the restoration of the plaster porch ceiling of the hellman-ehrman mansion; funded a full time restoration specialist position for vikingsholm and a engineering study for repair needs; commissioned 12 interpretive wayside panels for the rubicon trail; funded educational materials for sugar pine point park staff and several engineering studies and permits for the repair of the boathouse; along with many other projects.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I am impressed with their commitment to help our parks. The staff and volunteers are committed to the cause. I feel confident that my donation will be put to the best use.

Rob W.5

Donor

Rating: 5

The Sierra State Parks Foundation provides much needed support to our local Lake Tahoe region California State Parks. SSPF is passionate about preserving the legacy of these unique treasures that are worthy of this support. SSPF funds projects and educational programs that connect people with our rich cultural heritage and natural resources. Because of the work of SSPF, these local Lake Tahoe area parks will continue to be places of inspiration and education for future generations to come.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Sierra State Parks Foundation is a wonderful place to work! As the Lake Tahoe Visitor Center manager, I see how important it is to have a well-functioning organization that meets the financial goals of the Sierra State parks and gives the visitor a memorable experience.

The staff are hard-working, dedicated people that thoroughly enjoy working in the state parks to meet these goals.




Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is my favorite in the lake Tahoe area and that says a lot! There are many worthy organizations that support Lake Tahoe but this one rises to the top. The California State Parks at Lake Tahoe, and Truckee also, are absolute gems for preserving both natural and human history. Despite being long established, they do not receive the government funding necessary to keep them open, vibrant, and viable. Thank goodness for Sierra State Parks foundation. This long-standing organization steps in to provide the restoration, preservation, and education that is not funded by the state itself. SSPF puts on fun and informative events for all interests. Some of them are just about learning and others are specifically intended to fund raise for a particular restoration project. I’m happy to see my donation dollars go to this organization.

Denise T.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Working for Sierra State Parks Foundation has been a true honor. Knowing the community impact and how transparent and fair this foundation is really makes my work meaningful to me. It is always exciting after a successful and hectic event season to see the tangible funds we raise, and even more exciting to see a project get completed from the funds we raised!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Advocate, educate, restore and preserve, this is the work of the Sierra State Parks Foundation working in concert with the Sierra District of the California State Parks. One never tires of looking at the lake from the porch chairs of the Pine Lodge at Sugar Pine State Park or looking out over Emerald Bay and the Vikingsholm. These are treasures for all to see and visit. The Foundation helps make this possible through its programs, financial support and volunteers.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support the Sierra State Parks Foundation because the funds they raise are given to our local Sierra State Parks. Their efforts help to keep the parks open and running for the benefit of all park visitors, and that includes me and my family! For three generations now, my family has been camping, hiking, recreating and learning at the Sierra State Parks. We share many memories of these amazingly beautiful places, and its a joy to watch the little ones, our future, begin to create their own footsteps at the parks. These parks are irreplaceable treasures that offer countless wonders. If you love the Sierra State Parks as I do, then help to protect them!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Sierra State Park Foundation is a Cooperating Association with CA State Parks. They provide Park Visitors experiences that CA State Parks cannot provide due to lack of funding and staff. Full moon kayaks, snowshoe hikes, campfire programs, tours of historic houses are just a few of the many experiences available. Through fundraising they assist CA State Parks with deferred maintenance projects on culturally significant structures like Vikingsholm in Emerald Bay. They use all donated funds wisely and are able to get a lot accomplished. Their Board, volunteers and paid staff are a pleasure to work with.

Donor

Rating: 5

SSPF has done so much to keep our beloved state parks up and running! I am a particular fan of the two historic mansions at Lake Tahoe: Vikingsholm and the Ehrman Mansion (Pine Lodge). But both of these jewels are so old and have many maintenance issues. SSPF not only offers public tours of these historic homes, but has funded much restoration of them! I'm so thankful, and so proud to be a contributor!

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Foundation helped the new Donner Memorial Visitors Center to get open when the State of California didn't have operating funds. They've helped support the volunteers with training and outfits. In addition they've help support California State Parks around Lake Tahoe in the development of educational programs and needed restoration to the classic structures overlooking Lake Tahoe. They've far exceeded what was expected to support these beautiful state parks.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Sierra State Parks Foundation means what they say and always follows through with their word!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SSPF picks up where the State Parks leave off. They fund docents, gift shop personnel, any many other State Park services and programs the State cannot afford.
Our parks add great quality to our lives, and we owe a debt of gratitude to this terrific and much needed non-profit!

Donor

Rating: 5

SSPF is a wonderful organization that I can trust to put my donor dollars to work. They work tirelessly with State Parks to complete the projects they set out to do.