Sierra Commons seeks donations for upcoming auction |

Sierra Commons seeks donations for upcoming auction

Tom Durkin
Special to The Union
Randi Pratini, owner of Fresh Starts Organic Farm, was one of the early donors to the Sierra Commons online auction. The winning bidder will get a box of seedlings of "whatever the winner wishes to choose. I always have starts of perennial herbs and flowers (as well as) annual veggie, herbs and flowers that are appropriate to the season."


Who: Sierra Commons

What: Online fundraising auction


When: 12 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 9 through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 16

More info: or 530-265-8443

“Sierra Commons will stage its first-ever fundraising auction Aug. 9 through Aug. 16,” Executive Director Robert X Trent has announced.

“Proceeds from the auction will go toward Sierra Commons’ continuing efforts to build a strong and resilient local economy,” he said.

Over the last 11 years, Sierra Commons has helped launch more than 100 local businesses through its signature Business Ignitor training program.

Additionally, as the oldest coworking space in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, the nonprofit agency rents shared office space to entrepreneurs and remote workers at 792 Searls Ave. in Nevada City.

“We’re wide open to considering any donation – especially those that showcase offerings from our local small businesses.”— Robert X TrentSierra Commons executive director

Workstations are rented by the day or the month.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Sierra Commons made two proactive pivots:

In partnership with Rebound Nevada County, Sierra Commons presented free, one-week E-Commerce Business Ignitor Courses to assist local brick-and-mortar enterprises make the transition to online selling.

The Searls Avenue facility was redesigned to comply with medical guidelines for safe social distancing and HEPA-filtered air circulation.

Anticipating planned – and unplanned – power outages in the coming months, “we are ramping up to serve our business community during emergencies,” Trent said.

This includes a backup generator and redundant, wireless internet to provide a “safe place for local businesses, nonprofits and media to land when they need to maintain uninterrupted operations,” he added.

Even if all the desks in the building are occupied, Trent said Sierra Commons will rent space outside the building during emergencies – weather permitting.

The E-Commerce Ignitor pandemic response, office remodeling and emergency preparations all come at a cost. This is why Sierra Commons is having an online auction of donated items to fund its mission-critical operations, Trent explained.

“We’re making it easy. Just fill out our online form and tell us what you’re donating. We’ll notify you as to who the winning bidder is when the auction is over,” Trent reported.

“There’s no limit on how many items you can donate or how many items we can accept,” he said. “Our virtual showroom is expandable.”

Although he is happy to accept donations from whomever and wherever they come, Trent said he would be particularly pleased to receive donations from “the SC family,” especially graduates of Business Ignitor Courses.

Quality goods, professional services and valuable gifts are all suitable for the auction. Trent said.

Among items donated so far are a high-tech Arc’teryx backpack, organic plant starts and museum-quality photographic prints.

“Why not donate?” said Randi Pratini, owner of Fresh Starts Organic Farm. An early donor to the auction, she said Sierra Commons supports the small business community and the small business community should support Sierra Commons.

“Surprise us. We’re wide open to considering any donation – especially those that showcase offerings from our local small businesses,” Trent concluded.

Go to to contribute to the auction. Donations may be tax-deductible.

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