Community Impact

2023 Impact Report

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Dear Friends of The Martis Fund,

I am pleased to introduce our Annual Impact Report, a record of The Martis Fund’s progress in our ongoing mission to champion open space conservation, habitat restoration, forest management, and the promotion of workforce housing in our region.

As Program Coordinator of The Martis Fund, it’s my privilege to share the inspiring stories and accomplishments made by our dedicated grantees over the past year. Within these pages, you will uncover the concrete results from our funded initiatives. From the Down Payment Assistance Program, which provides low-interest loans to bolster home ownership among our local workforce, to crucial habitat restoration projects fortifying and repairing our region’s delicate ecosystem, each project featured in this report serves as a testimony to the dedication of the partners and grantees. We are excited to further illustrate the work of our funded partners by including their perspectives as they present their “Point ofView” throughout this report.

Reflecting on eighteen years of grant-making, it’s truly an honor to stand alongside the Martis FundBoard of Directors and acknowledge our profound impact on our community. With more than 100projects funded and an impressive $23,494,140. distributed, our legacy speaks to our commitment to finding innovative solutions to some of our region’s biggest challenges. It is both extraordinary and humbling to be part of such a meaningful endeavor, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to continue making a difference.

As we celebrate our accomplishments, our gaze remains fixed on the future with determination and optimism. With our longstanding partnerships, as well as the emergence of new alliances, The MartisFund is filled with confidence that we will realize our mission, one project at a time. We will continue to embody the qualities of attentive listeners, and eager collaborators, steadfastly supporting our community partners and current and new grantees.

With Gratitude,

Amy Kelley
Program Coordinator

Who We Are

The Martis Fund is a collaborative project created in 2006 by conservationists and landowners committed to the long-term future of Martis Valley. The Martis Fund’s founding members are DMB Highlands, (the developers of Martis Camp), Mountain Area Preservation (MAP), and Sierra Watch.After 17 years, DMB Highlands will transition from their position with The Martis Fund. Beginning 2024 Martis Camp Club, will serve in DMB Highlands’ place as an appointing organization to The Martis Fund.

What We Do

The Martis Fund fulfills its mission primarily through awarding grants to qualifying non-profit organizations in the Martis Valley region and Eastern Placer County. Funding for grant programs comes from private community benefit fees raised in connection with real estate sales at Martis Camp. 2023 marked The Martis Fund’s 17th year as one of the regions most impactful grant makers.

Areas of Focus

The Martis Fund provides funding to nonprofit organizations to support open space conservation; habitat restoration and forest management; and promote opportunities for workforce housing in the Martis Valley region and Eastern Placer County.

2023 Funding Overview

The Martis Fund distributed $3,976,690 to 11 projects in 2023; $914,000 was awarded to four Habitat Restoration and Forest Management projects; $10,4440 was granted to one project through the open space conservation fund; and $3,051,250 was dedicated to six workforce housing initiatives.

Funds Distributed by Funding Area 2023

The Martis Fund funds distribution 2023

Habitat Restoration and Forest Management

Four qualified organizations were awarded a total of $914,000 from The Martis Fund in 2023, to perform habitat and forest restoration work in the Martis Valley Region and Eastern Placer County.

South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) received the largest new grant, for a total of $205,000 for the Van Norden Meadow Restoration Project. This grant award allowed SYRCL to leverage an additional $1,500,000 from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for this project.

The Stephen J. Wampler Foundation received a grant for $150,000 to complete fuels reduction work on their property on Donner Summit, a strategic defense to protect our entire region from wildfire.

The Martis Fund continued its tradition of partnering with Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation to co-fund the Nature Fund. TTCF received a grant from The Martis Fund for $100,000, to fund habitat restoration work in the region. TTCF matched The Martis Fund’s contribution. The Martis Fund collaborated with TTCF and provided evaluation and funding recommendations. The funding from TheMartis Fund supported eight habitat restoration projects.

In addition to these three new grant awards, The Martis Fund distributed $459,000 to Truckee River Watershed Council, representing the second installment in a three year grant, which was awarded in 2022.

Point of View: Clean Up The Lake

The Martis Fund has proven to be one of the leading partnerships for Clean Up The Lake. What began as a first grant through the Nature Fund in 2020, has grown substantially. We consider our relationship with The Martis Fund to be a core reason behind our ability to do what we do today. It takes more than funding and an environmental nonprofit to protect the environment. It also takes hard work, trust and the growth of a relationship like the one we have built with The Martis Fund over the last 4 years.

The Fund’s support has allowed us to grow from being a group of activists with an idea, to becoming a fully functioning and highly active nonprofit. Our initiatives in the Tahoe region have removed over 71,000 pounds of litter from our environment; over 41,000 pounds of which has been removed directly from Lake Tahoe. The Martis Fund was a key supporter of the 72 mile cleanup and has continued its investments through the Donner Lake Monitoring project in 2022 (where we removed over 13,000 pounds of submerged litter from the lake); The Boca and Stampede Pilot projects and multiple grants through The Nature Fund.

It’s safe to say we would not be where we are today without The Martis Fund’s support, and for that we are forever grateful! We look forward to continuing our partnership, in service to protecting our local environment for years to come!

Workforce Housing

The Martis Fund supported four new workforce housing projects through traditional grant making in 2023. Sierra Community House was awarded a grant for $356, 250 to provide rental assistance and case management to the community members they serve; North Tahoe Truckee Homeless Services was awarded two grants totaling $100,000. These grants support weather triggered emergency shelter and support services to unhoused community members in our region. Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation received a grant for $135,000 for the Accessory Dwelling Unit and Fee Back-fill pilot program. Community Resource Inc., completed Frishman Hollow II and received $1,000,000 for this key workforce hosing project. In addition to these grants, The Martis Fund provided an additional $1,460,000 to the Down Payment Assistance Program (DPAP). The DPAP is funded from the workforce housing fund.

Point of View: Frishman Hollow II and Pacific Crest Commons

Frishman Hollow II, workforce housing project utilized gap financing of $1 million from the Martis Fund. This critical financing allowed for the completion of the $30 million project that created 68 homes in the desirable Frishman Hollow community on the north-side of Truckee. Frishman Hollow II provides high quality, sustainable studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments to households earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income for Nevada County. The site has great access to schools, transit, community amenities as well as recreational opportunities.

Pacific West Communities, Inc. is currently leveraging the Martis Fund’s funding to create 55 apartments serving households at or below 80% AMI at the Pacific Crest Commons site in Truckee on Hwy 89. Although, tax credit equity is yet to be secured, the Martis Fund’s support has already leveraged nearly $12 million in public financing sources and, eventually, the $35 million dollar total project will be providing housing to Truckee’s workforce. The state’s building on the site has been demolished and the developer intends to apply to the State of California to secure the balance of funds needed.

Down Payment Assistance Program

The Down Payment Assistance program had its most successful year in 2023, providing 24 unique Down Payment Assistance Program loans. A total of $2,325,000 was loaned to eligible borrowers. This is a new record for the Martis Fund’s already successful program! The Martis Fund committed $1,460,000 in new funding to the Down Payment Assistance Program in 2023. These funds are from the Workforce Housing fund. Out of the 24 loans made in 2023, 12 of them were provided to borrowers purchasing properties in Hopkins Village. The Martis Fund thanks Sierra Business Council who serves as the administrator of this program.

Point of View: DPAP Borrowers

When my wife and I learned that our rental was going on the market, our options seemed limited. As two people who grew up in North Lake Tahoe, we were grappling with the notion of moving to Reno. In fact, I began looking for jobs out of the area during to the limited housing availability in North Lake. But eventually we became aware of a house that would be going on the market and was relatively affordable. As we began exploring that as an option, we learned about DPAP. We applied and were accepted into the program. DPAP (and a generous gift from a family friend) helped us purchase the home and remain in our community. We would not have been able to stay in North Lake had it not been for DPAP.

– Paul

I have lived in the Tahoe area for almost 20 years. Since I have been here, I never thought it would be possible to own a home and spend my life here. After being asked by my landlord if I was interested in owning the property I was renting from him, I told him it would be impossible for me to afford. I reached out to a local mortgage lender that informed me about the possibilities of receiving help through the Martis Fund Down Payment Assistance Program. Without this program I never would have had an opportunity to own property in this area, and now I own my first home in this beautiful area. Currently I work teaching workout classes in the morning, office managing for a local electrical contractor, and serving tables at a steakhouse. It is programs like this that make it possible for us to help our community grow, with vacation rentals knocking at every door it takes away from us having full time residents. I couldn’t be more grateful for the amazing opportunity I was given! Thank you to the Martis Fund Down Payment Assistance Program and everyone who helped make this happen.

– Nicki

Open Space

The Martis Fund provided $10,440 in open space grant funding to Tahoe Expedition Academy (TEA) in 2023 to create a pollinator garden at their Martis Valley campus. TEA is a first time grant recipient of a The Martis Fund grant.

Point of View: TEA Students Working to Improve our Local Environment for Pollinators

The Tahoe Expedition Academy (TEA) was founded on the idea that young people can do important work in the real world right now. This tenet is playing out in real time thanks to a class of third graders. During a semester-long course, the students learned about native pollinators and the challenges they face in this ever- evolving climate. When they discovered how dire the situation was, they decided to take action.

“In our studies we identified a decline in local pollinators,” said third-grade teacher Colleen Carr. “The kids recognized this as an important environmental issue that we should tackle. So, they presented to the Truckee Chamber of Commerce and proposed Truckee work to become a certified Bee Friendly City. The chamber agreed.”

TEA students worked with local experts from the Village Nursery in Truckee and other gardens in the area. TEA also applied for a grant from the Martis Fund to facilitate this project, and it came through! With this local support, TEA was able to get started on this project last fall by prepping the ground for spring planting of a 1/4 acre pollinator garden, outfitted with a variety of hundreds of native plant species. This garden will be located on the Martis Valley Campus and hopefully serve as a model for how young people and local organizations can work together to protect and enhance our environment.

With Appreciation

 

The Martis Fund would like to thank the homeowners at Martis Camp who make the work of the Martis Fund possible; and the founding organizations, DMB Highlands, Mountain Area Preservation Council and Sierra Watch for their leadership, collaboration and support over the past 17 years.

 

Board of Directors

Mark Johnson, Board President
Alexis Ollar, Vice President
Dan Haas, Secretary Treasurer
Thomas Murphy, Past President
Terry Connelly, Director
Matt O’Grady, Director

Amy Kelley, Program Coordinator
Sally Lyon, Accountant
Tim Cleary, Accountant
Richard Taylor, Legal Counsel