From the director: The story behind Annie B’s

Credit two donors with a good idea and big hearts

Alexa Valavanis is CEO and executive director of the North Valley Community Foundation.
Showcase event tonight, Sept. 16, at Thursday Night Market in downtown Chico. Annie B’s Drive ends Sept. 30

This time of year at the North Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) is wild! Thousands of donations are coming through our doors for the 169 local nonprofits participating in the fourth annual Annie B’s Community Drive.

And tonight (Sept. 16) the NVCF team will join many of those nonprofits in a big showcase event at the Thursday Night Market in downtown Chico. We urge everyone to stop by.

Even amid this difficult economic climate, local donors are finding a way to give. They know that between Aug. 1 and Sept. 30 any gift they make to their chosen charities will receive an additional contribution from the community foundation.

Annie B’s is a grant program entirely made possible because of the generous hearts of two local residents. Nearly five years ago this charitable duo walked into my office with an idea and the resources to make it happen.

“We have an idea for you, Lex. There is a community foundation in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that has developed a grant program we think would be a perfect fit for our communities.”

That’s how it all started …

Three Annie B’s Community Drives later, $3.1 million has been raised and distributed to more than 400 local charities. Although the numbers make Annie B’s so noteworthy, the byproducts of the grant program are what have been most gratifying to the anonymous donors and the NVCF team.

Simply put, for eight weeks a year the Annie B’s Community Drive creates a unified front for the nonprofits to raise awareness and dollars for their causes. It is a way for new and seasoned donors alike to learn about the pressing needs facing our public sector. The drive also provides an easy and effective way to make a difference. You give a little, we give a little too.

It is not often enough that I get to publicly thank the duo behind Annie B’s. I know them well enough to know they would want the nonprofits to receive everyone’s time and attention. But, just this once, I thought you could join me in expressing how grateful we are.

Charitable Duo,

From everyone directly involved and the hundreds of causes strengthened by Annie B’s, we say: Thank you. May your generosity and humility inspire each of us to do what we can, with what we have.