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Local nonprofits feeling the effect of canceled, postponed fundraising events due to COVID-19

Dan Gerpheide and his daughter Abbey take part in the 2019 Red Carpet Ball held by Community Beyond Violence at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial Building. This year's event has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual fundraiser usually draws 550-600 people and raises approximately $30,000 for Community Beyond Violence.
Elias Funez/efunez@theunion.com

As of May 20

Number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada County: 41

Number tested: 2,189

Number in western county: 12

Number in eastern county: 29

Number of active cases: zero

Number of recoveries: 40

Number of deaths: 1

Learn more at http://www.theunion.com/coronavirus

Community Beyond Violence’s mission is to offer resources for building healthy relationships and work with community partners to provide services for healing the effects of interpersonal violence.

Hospitality House offers shelter, sustenance, medical care, advocacy, opportunity, dignity and hope as it assists homeless people in Nevada County in transitioning from homelessness to housing.

At Sierra Services for the Blind, its efforts are to assist visually impaired individuals with transportation, counseling and programs designed to develop independence.

Organizations like the ones mentioned above are part of a vast network of local nonprofits, some big and some small, which offer critical services to those in need in Nevada County.

To achieve their missions, nonprofits receive and develop funding through various sources. In addition to federal and state grants, some also receive individual and corporate donations and put on fundraisers to ensure they can make ends meet and provide their services.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic several nonprofits have had to shelve major fundraisers and are feeling the effect of that financial loss.

Community Beyond Violence’s biggest fundraiser, a daddy-daughter dance called the Red Carpet Ball, has been canceled. Executive Director Stephanie Fischer said the event, which was set for March 21, usually draws 550-600 people and raises approximately $30,000.

“The fundraising efforts that we do throughout the year allow us to make ends meet and allows us to do the things we want to do in the community that the grants don’t provide for, like community outreach and education, awareness campaigns and things like that,” said Fischer. “We don’t do a ton of fundraising every year, but we really depend on that money, especially the daddy-daughter dance.”

Fischer added that the cancellation is not only a loss of funds, but a loss of a fun and positive experience for so many.

“It provides an opportunity for young girls in the community to be able to have a positive experience with the positive role models in their lives,” she said.


Hospitality House’s Empty Bowl fundraiser, which was originally set for March 14 but has been postponed, is one of two major fundraisers for the local community shelter and homeless advocacy center.

“Last year we raised about $35,000,” Hospitality House Development Director Ashley Quadros said of the Empty Bowl fundraiser. “The event not being able to go in its traditional fashion has been a major hit to our organization.”

Quadros said Hospitality House is hoping to hold the event at an outdoor location sometime in June with an adjusted format in which food service will be eliminated and ticket holders can arrive at a specified time and hand-select an artisan bowl to keep.

“I’d say with these changes, they really reinforce the overall point of the event. Before, you would stand in solidarity, enjoy a bowl of soup and appreciate what a bowl of soup means when you’re hungry and homeless,” said Quadros. “Right now the bowl is empty and when this event takes place the bowl will stay empty. So, when you really think about that and somebody who is struggling with homelessness, having an empty bowl and that bowl not being filled — that’s what this event symbolizes. It’s a chance to feed somebody, a chance to give comfort, a chance to help someone back into housing.”

For smaller nonprofits like Sierra Services for the Blind, the postponement of its Gold Country Golf Classic fundraiser is a major blow, said Executive Director Richard Crandall.

The annual tournament, originally scheduled for May 1, is the second largest fundraiser for Sierra Services for the Blind and brings in anywhere between $4,000-5,000.

“It pretty much all goes into the program, which includes counseling, transportation and the rest of the stuff we do for primarily seniors who are legally blind,” said Crandall. “The second part of it is we lose a tremendous amount of publicity that goes with it. It lets people know we’re out here. … We always wind up getting several new clients calling us and saying they didn’t even know we were around. The advertising aspect of it, which brings in the clients, is really going to be missed.”

As for how much of an impact that loss of funds and exposure will have, Crandall said, “We’re about to find out.”

Crandall added that he still holds out hope the Gold Country Golf Classic can still happen later this year.

“Once you cancel something like a golf tournament, it’s very difficult to get it going again,” he said. “We’re approaching it like we’re holding off and we’ll come back to it, but that will be hard to do.”


Fischer said Community Beyond Violence in Grass Valley has been able to secure some funding to pay staffers hazard pay and continue its mission through the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, which received some additional funding from the Office of Emergency Services.

“We revamped our outreach approach so that we could reach more survivors,” said Fischer. “We implemented a text line and a web chat service so that we had the ability to reach as many people as possible, and let them know we are still open and were still available.”

Community Beyond Violence’s crisis number is 530-272-3467.

More than $4 million was also allotted to domestic violence centers through the CARES ACT, but Fischer said she doesn’t expect to see funds from that coffer until next year.

Even with those funds, any additional help is welcomed, said Fischer.

If interested in donating to Community Beyond Violence, donations can be made on its website http://www.cbv.org or by texting “Community 2020” to 44321. Fischer said material donations such as paper towels, toilet paper, masks and disinfectant are also welcomed.

To donate to Hospitality House visit http://www.hhshelter.org. Donations are being matched up to $25,000 by an anonymous donor through May 31.

“It’s an incredible act of kindness and goodwill and it means a lot to us,” Quadros said. “Even if it’s just one dollar. One dollar becomes two and $2 means two people get to eat that day.”

To contribute to Sierra Services for the Blind, visit http://www.sierraservices.org.

For a list of more than 60 non-profits in the area and links to their respective websites, visit http://www.cnlsierra.org.


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To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

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