Talk of the Town: Season of giving
Oct 25, 2013

By Scott Camp

This article was originally published in the November 2013 issue of the BakersfieldLife magazine. Click here to read the original article on page 64.

It’s no secret that Bakersfield is a community of much generosity and altruism. Our town has continued to expand and improve thanks to the philanthropy of many of our citizens.

And for the past 15 years, much of that giving has been facilitated by the local nonprofit, the Kern Community Foundation. Whether it’s local healthcare, art or education in need of help, the foundation aims to assist local businesses and individuals with donations of their choice.

Two upcoming events aim to continue this tradition and make it even easier to lend a helping hand.

'A better place'

Since 1999, the Kern Community Foundation has advised more than 100 funds, some allocating as much as $16 million worth of assets to those in need. 

Donors have the choice of choosing among a donor advised, field of interest, designated, unrestricted or scholarship funds. These funds have helped organizations purchase everything from basic supplies to completely new infrastructure.


Some of the organization’s most notable funds include the Aera Energy Fund, Lightspeed Systems Foundation, Jack and Mary Lou Thomson Endowment Fund, and many others.


Jeff Pickering, president and CEO of the foundation, said the organization’s mission is simple.


“We are in business to serve as a resource to help local donors and corporations plan and carry out their charitable giving,” he said, “and to generate capital that provides philanthropic solutions to help make Kern County a better place to live, to work and to visit.”


That mission continues to be fulfilled. Last year, for example, Marvin and Nadene Steinart donated a piece of commercial real estate that generated more than $1 million for the foundation, Pickering said.


“In recent years, the foundation has become known as the most knowledgeable philanthropic resource in Kern County,” Pickering said. “This is due, in part, to its efforts to bring 21st century philanthropic tools to the local marketplace. The foundation’s nonprofit search is an online database that helps donors find, learn about and give directly to more than 100 local charities. Data and information from this resource helps donors to get better results from their charitable giving.”

Giving Guide

On Sunday, Nov. 24, the weekend before Thanksgiving, the foundation will be distributing the Giving Guide, the first-ever local resource to help donors find, learn about and give to effective charitable organizations in Kern County.

The publication, distributed via The Bakersfield Californian, will reach 30,000 households. It will feature information on charities listed on the foundation’s nonprofit search site, inspirational stories of local donors, and more opportunities to give through establishment of a fund at the foundation.

But first, a “premiere event” to launch the publication will be held Nov. 20 at Metro Galleries. More information: kernfoundation.org

Day of Giving

No doubt, the holidays bring about the season of giving. And on Dec. 3, the Kern Community Foundation will be encouraging all to take part in the annual “Giving Day,” started by Bakersfield Mayor Harvey Hall and the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

The day will serve as the foundation’s way to encourage donors to consider the opportunity to give to local charities this year, Pickering said.

“There is seldom a better or more rewarding investment than a gift to an effective charity serving the community,” he said.

One easy way to give back, for example, is to purchase a “giving card” for friends, colleagues or family. Much like a retail gift card, a giving card can be redeemed to benefit any public charity in the United States.

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