Black Oak Casino Resort, Sonora attorney Jim Gianelli and Sonora technology firm Front Porch are among the Tuolumne County businesses that have chosen to partner with the Sonora Area Foundation for their charitable giving.

“We are very much aware of the great work the Sonora Area Foundation does in Tuolumne County and saw partnering with them as an opportunity to expand the reach of our charitable giving program,” said Ron Patel, CEO of Black Oak Casino Resort in Tuolumne. “Using the resources of the foundation also offers us an opportunity to be aware of all the many relevant needs within our community.”

The new Black Oak Casino Resort Community Fund, which will donate to a variety of causes, joins the casino’s previously established scholarship fund at the foundation.

“We have been impressed with how well the process works,” said the resort’s general manager, Aaron Moss. “They make it very easy for us.”

The new Jim and Barb Gianelli Community Fund will help facilitate charitable giving for their business, the law offices of Giannelli & Polley Inc.

“We have always made charitable donations directly at Gianelli & Polley and it’s worked well. However, partnering with the Sonora Area Foundation has several benefits,” Gianelli said. “Barb and I really like the work they’re doing in Tuolumne County and want to show our support.”

Gianelli is a former member and past president of the foundation’s board of directors. He and his wife also have had a fund at the foundation for family giving since 1999.

Front Porch, a Sonora technology company with clients around the world, has long maintained a scholarship fund at the foundation. It is also a frequent contributor to community projects through its “mini-grant” program for educators and nonprofit agencies. In addition, the Sonora Area Foundation frequently makes suggestions to the company for worthy projects as they arise.

Among the projects Front Porch has helped fund based on the foundation’s recommendations are providing Tuolumne County Search and Rescue with equipment replacement and training and replacing the greenhouse at Sierra Waldorf School in support of its gardening education program.

“They’ve made it possible for us to help meet needs in the community,” said Front Porch CEO Zach Britton. “We’ve enjoyed working with them and they’ve helped us expand our vision.”

Darrell Slocum, the foundation’s executive director, explains the importance of business partnerships. “Extending our services to area businesses makes sense. We often make them aware of unmet needs in the community that they choose to support and, once that decision has been made, we handle all the administrative elements – fund distribution, completion of IRS reporting requirements and acknowledgment.”

Britton said he would “absolutely” recommend other companies utilize the Sonora Area Foundation to coordinate their charitable giving. “They take care of everything, are very easy to work with, don’t charge any fees for their services and we get a tax deduction up front, which helps too.”

Established in 1989 with bequests from the Irving J. Symons Foundation for Tuolumne County and the Symons Family Fund, the Sonora Area Foundation has awarded more than $23.5 million in grants since its inception.

For more information on business partnerships, call (209) 533-2596, or go online www.sonora-area.org.

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