Nevada County relief fund announces $210K in first round grants

Our Sierra FoodWineArt magazine was glad to make a donation to this program:

The Nevada County Relief Fund has announced the first round of grant awards, totaling $210,000 boosting eight “safety-net” nonprofits in western Nevada County, who are providing a life line to our neighbors most in need, and twenty-eight small businesses from throughout the county  heavily impacted by COVID-19. 

The Relief Fund received 175 applications from small businesses for its micro-grants up to $5,000 each, and nearly two dozen applications for the “safety-net” grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 each. The combined requests totaled over $1,175,000, nearly six times more than what the Relief Fund’s Community Advisory Council had available to award. Additional grant cycles will occur every time the Relief Fund raises another $100,000.

“The extreme need for these funds reinforces our commitment to helping our neighbors.  This first round of grants is just the beginning–we plan to award more grants as additional funds are raised in order to bolster our nonprofits and businesses; but to do that, we need your help,” stated the Relief Fund’s Community Advisory Council co-chairs, Leo Granucci and Sherry Bartolucci.

Small businesses that are here to stay

“This is a great day. It feels like I won the lottery!” exclaimed Drew Taylor, owner/proprietor of Dark Horse Coffee Roasters in Truckee. “The community of Truckee is quite special and it’s why my wife and I went into business. We wanted to create community, not just sell coffee.”

Drew and his wife have been serving up freshly roasted coffee beans and piping hot beverages fueling the caffeine needs of locals and visitors alike for over six years. “When the pandemic hit in mid-March, we abruptly closed our bustling cafe and continued meager operations for only wholesale orders and bagged coffee delivery and shipment. Income nearly halted overnight and we had to lay off all our employees,” Drew reported.

Now that they have been awarded a Nevada County Relief Fund micro-grant, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters can safely reopen, hire back their employees and get their small business back on track. 

Leea Davis, owner and curator for over 20 years of downtown Nevada City’s Earth Store, which sells practical gifts for nature enthusiasts, had similar feelings to share when she learned about her grant award. “I am so grateful to the community for contributing to this fund.  My business relies on foot traffic and I was really down to the bare bones with rent coming due again soon. Having this grant feels fantastic – I am on cloud nine right now.” Leea will be able to open her doors to her customers safely, restock inventory, and bring back her employees thanks to the Nevada County Relief Fund.  

Keeping vital youth scholarships and cultural heritage alive

Since the onset of COVID-19, numerous community events have evaporated and one that has been around for 63 years now has the potential to keep giving back to the community.  The Penn Valley Rodeo Community Association, unsure if they will be able to host the rodeo at all this year, was still reeling from last year’s rodeo getting rained out leaving them without the seed money needed to sustain the organization and put on the next rodeo. With grant funding awarded by the Nevada County Relief Fund, the Penn Valley Rodeo will be able to continue their support for the local community.

Teresa Dietrich, sponsorship chair and board member, shared, “Our organization supports keeping our great western heritage alive in our area and we provide for a number of scholarships for youth and also seed the scholarship fund for the Penn Valley Fire Protection District’s EMT scholarship. We have been making some really hard decisions and this grant has a huge impact on how we can pay for our obligations to the community.  It feels like a 1200 lb. horse just got off my foot – it feels fantastic!”

“Safety-net” nonprofits stay focused on critical needs for County’s most vulnerable residents

Feeding hungry families, older adults and other vulnerable residents was the key theme in applications from the Food Bank of Nevada County, the Interfaith Food Ministry of Nevada County, and FREED Center for Independent Living, who all received the maximum grant award of $20,000 each from the Relief Fund.

The Food Bank reported that demand for its services has soared from 300-400 individuals each month to between 1,700 and 2,400 each week since the beginning of the pandemic. Similarly, calls to FREED from people with disabilities and secondary health conditions requesting groceries have more than doubled since the onset of COVID-19.

Quoted recently in The Union, Naomi Cabral, Executive Director of the Interfaith Food Ministry said, “We’re fortunate to live in such a great and generous place. We’re not going to let anyone go hungry here — we’re not that kind of community.”

The Relief Fund received twenty-one applications totaling over $300,000 from nonprofits focused on the rapid deployment of safety-net services to vulnerable populations including seniors, people who are homeless, people with disabilities, youth who are at-risk, families or individuals struggling to find access to food, shelter, childcare, and other critical needs. 

About the Nevada County Relief Fund

The Nevada County Relief Fund was created through a partnership between the County of Nevada, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (SNMH Foundation, the Fund’s fiscal sponsor), Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), the Sierra Business Council (SBC), Center for Nonprofit Leadership (CNL), and the Economic Resource Council (ERC). In conjunction with TTCF’s Emergency Response Fund, the purpose of this effort is to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis by directing vital resources to our most vulnerable neighbors, and support our small, rural businesses.

The Fund was established in April with a $100,000 “challenge grant” from the Nevada County Board of Supervisors. Since then, it has gained traction as a reliable way to give back to our unique small businesses and nonprofits that have been stretched to meet extreme community needs. 

Please consider making a tax-deductible gift today that goes directly to assist Nevada County’s invaluable nonprofits and small businesses. For more information and to make a gift, please visit,


$100,000 to “Safety-net” nonprofits:

Interfaith Food Ministry of Nevada County, $20,000

FREED Center for Independent Living, $20,000

Food Bank of Nevada County, $20,000

Gold Country Community Services, $10,200

The Booth Family Center, $8,150

Sierra Roots, $6,650

Community Beyond Violence, $7,500

Child Advocates, $7,500

$100,000 to Small Businesses:

Ironworks Gym, Grass Valley, $2,500

Juliette Morris Williams – Jewelry, Mixed-media, Nevada City, $2,400

The Washington Hotel, Washington, $5,000

The Nest Family Resource, Grass Valley, $2,500

The Nevada Theater, Nevada City, $5,000

Coupe Sixty-One Hair Studio, Truckee, $2,500

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, Truckee, $5,000

Grass Valley Crossfit, Grass Valley, $2,500

Simply You Salon and Spa, Penn Valley, $2,500

InnerRhythms, Inc., Truckee, $2,500

Brad Henry Pottery, Truckee, $2,500

Jack + Emmy, Truckee, $2,500

Outside Inn, Nevada City, $5,000

Word After Word Books, Truckee, $2,500

Anew Day, Nevada City, $2,500

North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center, San Juan Ridge, $5,000

Art Works Gallery, Grass Valley, $5,000

Calla Lily Crepes, Nevada City, $3,600

Alpenflow Studios, Truckee, $2,500

Truckee Roundhouse Community Makerspace, Truckee, $2,500

Penn Valley Community Rodeo Association, Penn Valley, $5,000

The Earth Store, Nevada City, $5,000

Off Broadway, Nevada City, $5,000

Crumbunny Coffee Roasters, Nevada City, $4,000

Painted Pink, Grass Valley, $2,500

The Station – A Truckee Eatery, Truckee, $5,000

Lola and Jack, Grass Valley, $5000

Aikido’Ka, Grass Valley, $2500

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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