ELKO — To invest in the future of Elko County, Barrick Gold Corp. committed to donating $100,000 to the Community Foundation of Elko County fund at the nonprofit’s second annual meeting Jan. 4 at the Western Folklife Center.
“It’s a real honor for Barrick to take the lead on this,” said Katie Neddenriep, Barrick’s corporate social responsibility manager, who serves as chair of the fund advisory committee. “This is our investment in the future of Elko.”
The mining company has already paid one installment of $25,000 and plans to donate the rest over the next year. Barrick is also contributing $16,000 to the organization’s operating fund over four years.
“We’re proud to be the initial corporate sponsor,” said Rebecca Darling, Barrick director of corporate responsibility. “We would challenge — in a friendly, loving way — for other businesses to join us.”
The Community Foundation of Elko County formed in December 2015 with the mission of strengthening Elko County “through philanthropy and leadership” and “connecting people who care with causes that matter.”
As a rural affiliate of a larger group, the Community Foundation of Elko County is administered by the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. A local board helps oversee a permanent endowment fund, supported by individual, legacy, estate and business donations. Interest generated from the fund is granted to Elko County organizations.
“I like to call it a retirement plan for our community,” Neddenriep said.
The total local endowment announced Jan. 4 was $48,913, up from about $16,000 the previous year.
From the available resources, the organization gave two $500 grants to area groups selected from a pool of 12 applicants.
“We just wanted to award all of them, but we had to make choices,” said Ben Reed, Elko police chief who serves on the fund advisory committee. He explained that even though the donations might have been small this first year, “every one of those dollars counts.”
Recipients of the first grants were the North East Nevada NAMI, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Local Animal Shelter Support Organization.
NAMI representative Flora Boyer said the grant was meaningful to the organization “because mental illness hits one in five Americans at one time in their life. We are grateful and thank you so much.”
LASSO president Curtis Calder, also the Elko city manager, said the donation was combined with other funding to help provide lower-cost spay and neuter operations.
“These are organizations that strengthen the fabric of our community,” said Elko City Councilman Reece Keener. “This fund provides a mechanism for sustainability.”
For more information, visit nevadafund.org or call Neddenriep at 775-340-4654.