The Story of Rosamond
‘Liberty and Justice for all!”
There is a name carved upon the tree in the painting of Fair Rosamond. At one time Justice used to be a Fair Lady. The Rosicrucians tried to gift humanity with the next Enlightenment, but, this gift was intercepted by ‘The Imposters’.
“The same record that shows the denization of Peter Rosemond also contains the denization of John Baptist Rosemond (Jean Baptiste de Rosemond) who went through the denization process on the same day as Peter Rosemond. The fact that they bore the same surname and their denizations were apparently processed together would indicate a familial tie between these two men. Some of the current researchers of the Rosamond family history consider Jean Baptiste de Rosemond as the most likely prospect to be Sergeant Rosemond.”
My name is Jean-Baptiste de Rosemond de Beauvallon. I am a walk-on. I am the ancestor of John Gregory Presco, who was born October 8, 1946 during an amazing star-shower. His mother, Rosemary Rosamond, believed it was the Day of Atonement, and thus, named me after John the Baptist. The stars opened a closed door.
This morning, they came to me, and took me atop the ‘The Mountain of the Sleeping Maiden’ where we beheld a gathering of the Brother and Sistehood who now see themselves as ‘The Children of Beryl Buck’ who did not born a child, and thus, left millions to ‘The People of Marin’. We are the New Enlightenment!
They say one’s probate is a lawsuit brought against yourself. The law firm of Robert Brevoort Buck – was supposed to be on Christine’s side, too!
May there be JUSTICE FOR ALL!
As a Frenchman I fought a famous duel over a game of cards. But, I was insulted in the presence of a very beautiful woman. Let it be said;
“What Lola wants, Lola gets!”
The man I bested, and shot between the eyes, like myself, was a ‘Lover of the Free Press’. Women love words. They are seduced with words. They expect brave men to whisper words in their ear when you make love to them. We came close to breaking the banque at the Trois Freres plying Lansqurenet. But, she, was a notorious heart-breaker. If she were alive today, in some shape, some astral form, she would dance the Bolero on the grave of the man I put to rest.
Now come the mountain of legal papers! Alexandre Dumas made an excellent witness against me. However, he wavered from the truth – for Lola! We all wanted Lola Montez – ‘The pretender’ ‘The Rebel without a Cause. They put me in a foul prison, in isolation, so that I would never win her hand. But, I had her. I took her, in a passionate fit. It is my child she carries in her womb, the pitiful womb of a very famous widow. All dressed in black, alas she owns the credentials she longed for. Pretenders are never punished, while men who seek the truth, are tortured every minute of the day. I was the living proof of this, until my dying day. The truth shared the cell next to mine. Then, I was set free.
I was now the epitome of obscurity. The youth I ran with were either killed in foreign wars, or died of a mysterious disease. Most drank themselves to death because they let their sights be lowered, their one chance delegated to winning an an old score, an argument sustained by scoundrels and wiccans who were, and still are, expert liars and witnesses to almost everything that went on in a cruel world, that they kept cruel for great and petty monetary reasons. This is why we gents of means and leisure love to play the horses, the roulette table, any game of chance, lest we are forced to face the truth – the dull ungifted ones control everything. In their fixed game, all the cards are marked. We were her fools.
She was ‘The Scarlet Lady’ that got all the attention. Everything is Temptation! Even going to war. But, there is no greater allure than the limelight, and the front page. We journalists had created a monster! She was the reverse side of ‘The Rose of the World’. Her beauty had captured us. She was the creditor of our free wills. Behind the curtain, she owned us.
He was a bad shot. He fired too soon. I knew he had no intention of killing me. He was not the man for the job. So, after I expertly dispatched him, the crowd that gathered, whispered;
The sun is setting as I make more words again. I am pleased to see that fate is on my side, and, perhaps I own a maginficent destiny. For I am in the middle of the greatest legal battle over a Legacy – of all time – that was waged in the probate of Christine Rosamond Benton/Presco. In her corner, was Heisinger, Morris………….and Buck. This is, the War of the Roses…………..all over again!
Dance! Lola! Dance!
He was ‘The Press’ and I was ‘The Globe’ . We dueled to see whose pages she would bless. It became a matter of money. We lost our way, and Lola fled to America with the Forty-Eighters.
I salute all Patritots who lay their life down for ‘The Free Press’ for Washingtom and Lafayette. My Rosamond ancestors, were patriots, here, and in France.
Justice for all! Beware of false frogs. Why has no one compared Darth Vader to the Phantom of the Opera? That Pierrot’s ghost writer could produce no worthy villain, other than the world famous artist ‘Rosamond’ herself, is the greatest literary travesty of all time, that renders Tom Snyder a Yellow Journalist of the ‘Dark Kind’.
Jean-Baptiste de Rosemond de Beauvallon
President and True Owner of Royal Rosamond Press
Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, Countess of Landsfeld (17 February 1821 – 17 January 1861), better known by the stage name Lola Montez, was an Irish dancer and actress who became famous as a “Spanish dancer”, courtesan, and mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who made her Countess of Landsfeld. She used her influence to institute liberal reforms. At the start of the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, she was forced to flee. She proceeded to the United States via Switzerland, France and London, returning to her work as an entertainer and lecturer.
The 7 mars 1845 7 March 1845 , Beauvallon se querella avec le journaliste Alexandre Dujarrier , gérant du journal La Presse , concurrent du Globe , durant un souper offert par l’actrice Anaïs Liévenne , maîtresse du fils de Victor Hugo , aux Frères Provençaux , à Paris . , Beauvallon quarreled with the journalist Alexandre Dujarrier , manager of the newspaper La Presse , competitor of the Globe , during a dinner offered by the actress Anaïs Liévenne , mistress of the son of Victor Hugo , to the Provençal Brothers in Paris . L’objet de la querelle était une dette de jeu de 84 louis que Dujarrier avait contractée auprès de Beauvallon. The object of the quarrel was a gambling debt of 84 louis which Dujarrier had contracted with Beauvallon. Quoique la somme fût réglée le soir même, Beauvallon lui envoya ses témoins le lendemain, leur différend ayant aussi pour source les faveurs de l’actrice madame Albert. Although the sum was settled the same evening, Beauvallon sent him his witnesses the next day, their dispute also having as their source the favors of the actress Madame Albert. Alexandre Dumas fils , qui connaissait la force de Beauvallon à l’ épée , conseillait néanmoins à Dujarrier d’éviter le pistolet, supposant que M. de Beauvallon, en vrai gentilhomme, remarquant l’ignorance de son adversaire en fait d’ escrime , ne prolongerait point le duel ou le rendrait tout au moins sans conséquences funestes. Alexandre Dumas fils , who knew Beauvallon ‘s strength in the sword , nevertheless advised Dujarrier to avoid the pistol, assuming that M. de Beauvallon, a true gentleman, noticing his adversary’ s ignorance of fencing ,
Le nom Rosemond beauvallon figure dans l’ascendance des personnalités suivantes : The name Rosemond beauvallon is related to the following personalities:
“Pierrot later bought the business from the estate, royalties
from which go to Rosamond’s daughters, Drew now 11, and Shannon, 28.
Pierrot has a determined vision of where she wants the business to
go. A poster of Rosamond’s creation “Dunkin the Frog” will be
distributed to children in hospitals. T-shirts and tote bags will
also be produced featuring the whimsical character, Pierrot says. All
manner of upscale merchandising is contemplated using the images from
Rosamond’s paintings…bed linins, throw pillows and other elegant
This frog is the creation of Sandra Faulkner, but, they are putting Rosamond’s name on it as the creator. I saw Dunkin on Faulkner’s webpage in 1997 and wrote a letter to the executor, Sydney Morris, telling him I doubt my sister painted a frog, and, gave Faulkner an interview, and if she did, those intervierws belong to my nieces. I also informed him Christine filed a lawsuit to keep her artwork off tote bags.
Here is Morris; “By September 2000, however, plans were underway for a biography of Decedent, which Petitioner hoped might create interest in her work. The book was published in 2002. Although the book did not spur the hoped-for interest in Decedent’s life and work, efforts continued to market the concept of a screenplay based upon Decedent’s life.
Buck, Beryl (Elizabeth) H. (Hamilton)
(1896–1975) philanthropist; born in Minnesota; and Leonard W. (1891–1953) pathologist; born in Vacaville, Calif. Beryl met Leonard at Roosevelt Hospital in Oakland where she was training to be a nurse and he a doctor. They married a year later (1914). Leonard’s father died in 1916, and his mother in 1920, leaving the Buck’s millionaires with a fortune from oil. They built an estate in Ross (Marin County) (1931), and Leonard, a pathologist, taught at the University of California: San Francisco (1928–51). Leonard died suddenly, leaving all his estate to Beryl. She, in turn, formed the Leonard and Beryl Buck Foundation Trust which, after she died, became part of the San Francisco Foundation, with the stipulation that the money be reserved for Marin County’s needy and various nonprofit, educational, religious, and charitable organizations. What was a $15 million bequest became a $253-million trust when the Buck’s Beldridge Oil stock was bought by Shell Oil. Attempts by the San Francisco Foundation to spend money outside the already prosperous Marin County resulted in litigation and a court settlement (1986) establishing the Marin Community Foundation (1987), which administers the trust now valued at more than $500 million for Marin County residents.
Leonard W. Buck was born on July 8, 1834 in Truxton, New York. He was educated at the Courtland Academy in Homer, New York. During the American Civil War, he served as a Lieutenant in the Union Army from 1862 to 1863.
Buck established a ranch in Vacaville, California in 1874. He also established a ranch in Lodi, California. He grew fruit, especially peaches. Additionally, he served on the board of directors of the Bank of Vacaville.
Buck married Anna M. Bellows in 1856. They had two sons: Frank H. Buck and Fred M. Buck, and three daughters, Mrs J. B. Corey, Emma L. Buck and Anna M. Buck. They resided at 929 Adeline Street in Oakland, California from 1887 onward.
Buck was hit in a horse and buggy accident on June 3, 1895 at the intersection of Castro Street and 12th Street in San Francisco, California. He died the next day at his home in Oakland, California. He was buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland. By the time of his death, he was worth an estimated US$300,000.
Grantmaking Through BFF
There are many vulnerable people in our county who face pressing and complex challenges in their lives, including low income individuals and families, people of color, disconnected youth, older adults, and immigrants.
With initiatives developed under the themes of education, economic opportunity, health, and the environment, BFF grantmaking aims to create greater access to opportunities which will help them improve their lives.
A family of four would need to earn $102,000, while an individual needs to earn $38,000 to cover these basic expenses sufficiently. Seniors also struggle to make ends meet in Marin, with thousands falling through the cracks of the public system because they have too much income to qualify for help, but not enough to get by in such an expensive county. Overall, approximately 96,000 people in Marin earn less than needed to be “self-sufficient”. If you are poor in Marin, you are more likely to work two low-wage full-time jobs, live in substandard housing, and be under-insured.
A demand by San Francisco interests for money from Marin County’s celebrated Buck Trust is rekindling a fiery dispute over a philanthropist’s fortune.
Vocal activists, joined by members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, have accused the Marin Community Foundation of neglecting the poor and mishandling the $1.2 billion trust — one of the nation’s largest charitable funds — that grew out of a 1975 bequest by wealthy Ross matron Beryl Buck.
Among their demands are distribution of the money throughout the region and a multimillion-dollar grant to empower Latinos.
The challenge has infuriated Marin County officials and community leaders. The Marin Community Foundation, they pointed out, was created by a 1986 court order specifying that the money be spent in Marin.
“It’s a shakedown. It’s a brazen hustle,” said former Marin County Supervisor Gary Giacomini, a vocal player in the winning effort 15 years ago to prevent San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area from getting money from the trust. “The battle in the mid-’80s resulted in the court vindicating the will. Now, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is pushing for, in effect, breaking the will. It’s outrageous.”
The most recent dustup started last year when the Greenlining Institute in San Francisco charged the powerful foundation with ignoring 30,000 low-income Latinos and members of other minority groups in Marin while lining the pockets of the “environmental elite.”
FUND FOR ‘POOR AND NEEDY’
Institute officials and other minority leaders contend that the will and the court order mandate that the bulk of the money be used for the “poor and needy.”
Greenlining, an advocacy group for minorities, sent a letter asking the foundation to develop a 10-year, $150 million “Latino Empowerment Fund” to address Marin’s “growing gap between affluent whites and poor Latinos.”
San Francisco supervisors, at the behest of Greenlining officials, joined the chorus, passing a resolution demanding that the foundation develop a “regional plan to effectively address the needs of the poor of the Bay Area.”
“Latinos . . . are a microcosm of the larger problem — of the truly poor and needy being secondary in Marin,” said Robert Gnaizda, policy director and general counsel for Greenlining. “The Marin foundation has the funding to correct the problem, but the poor and needy are treated as supplicants. It’s an elitist environmental organization.”
Wealthy Marin makes an easy target for such accusations. But, according to foundation officials, the call to spread the Buck wealth is misleading and devious.
CHARITABLE PURPOSES ONLY
Thomas Peters, the president and chief executive officer of the Marin Community Foundation, said the Buck will stated only that the money be used for “charitable, religious or educational purposes in providing care for the needy in Marin County.”
The word “poor” is never used, and the court order later interpreted the word “needy” to mean all people in need, not just the indigent, according to Peters.
“The so-called allegation is so patently false and so easily refuted by the facts that one questions the true motivation of this criticism,” he said. “Easily 75 percent of the money we granted over the past year could be classified as pointed toward individuals and families where economic, social and linguistic needs are paramount.”
ESTATE VALUE MUSHROOMED
It is the Marin-only provision in the Buck will that is at the root of the trouble. That restriction was fine when the estate was less than $10 million, as it was in 1975. But the estate multiplied in value when the family’s oil company was merged into Texaco in 1979, and by the mid-1980s it was worth close to $400 million.
In 1984, the San Francisco Foundation, which at that time controlled the money, sued to break the limiting clause. Joined by Gnaizda and other advocates, it argued that Beryl Buck, a nurse, would have wanted to spread the wealth if she had known how large her bequest would become.
The suit infuriated residents of Marin, prompting Giacomini to dub the litigants “grave-robbing bastards.”
The pithy insult stuck, and — after 93 days and $10.2 million in legal fees — the suit was eventually settled in Marin’s favor.
San Francisco Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval says it is irresponsible to hoard the Leonard and Beryl H. Buck Trust’s huge sums of money when the whole Bay Area is suffering, and money for charity is so scarce.
“I see it as Marin County, as usual, not taking up its share of the burden, ” said Sandoval, who sponsored the resolution demanding regional distribution.
FOUNDATION PUSHED TO DO MORE
Greenlining officials insist that they are only trying to get the foundation to focus more attention, and more money, on Marin’s poor. They believe a broadened effort in Marin could include model programs involving regional and statewide organizations that would still comply with the will.
Peters doesn’t buy it. He believes that Gnaizda is laying the groundwork for a legal argument that there aren’t enough poor people in Marin so he can push for distribution in San Francisco.
Gnaizda himself acknowledged his influence on the San Francisco supervisors when they passed their resolution, which is categorical in its demand for regional distribution.
MILLIONS TO NONPROFITS
The foundation’s books do not categorize grants based on economic need, but millions of dollars a year go to nonprofit organizations serving immigrants and low-income residents.
Since the foundation took over the trust in 1987, it has doled out $336 million, including $121 million for “human needs,” $84 million for community development and outreach, $60 million for education and the rest for the environment, arts and religion.
Last year, the foundation paid out a total of $50 million, including grants for housing, child care, bilingual parenting classes and low-income families in San Rafael’s primarily Latino Canal District. The largest single grant was $2.6 million to the Marin Education Fund, which provides scholarships primarily to students who need financial assistance.
Environmental causes received 12 percent of the budget.
“The money they give us is critical,” said Tom Wilson, director of the Canal Community Alliance, which receives almost $500,000 a year to provide services for its clients, 80 percent of whom are Latinos making less than $20, 000 a year. “They provide about 40 percent of our overall funding.”
ADVOCATES DEMAND PROBE
Nonetheless, the criticism hit a crescendo when more than 40 advocates for the poor and needy met with representatives of the state attorney general late last year to demand an investigation.
In February, Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who has ultimate authority to investigate charitable trusts, sent a letter urging Greenlining officials to address their concerns to the court-mandated special master — who reviews all the grants every year. Retired Justice Gary Strankman is expected to look into the matter before the year-end annual hearing.
“They (foundation officials) say 75 percent of their funding goes to the poor and needy, but that money goes mostly to administration and rent for nonprofits,” said Kerry Peirson, founder of Poor and Needy Advocates of Marin, or PANAM.
Margot Segura, executive director of the Hispanic Education and Media Group,
says the Marin Community Foundation throws money around but never gets to the root of Marin’s problems.
“We’ve been trying for 13 years to put our project in Marin County,” said Segura, who got a $20,000 foundation grant a decade ago, but nothing since then. “They say we can’t have funding because we don’t do work in the county, but we don’t do work in the county because they won’t fund us.”
COMING BACK FOR MORE
Giacomini and other Marin County officials said the complaints and demands by Greenlining and the San Francisco supervisors all sound hauntingly familiar.
“Gnaizda led all those attempts to break the will, and now he’s circling back for more,” Giacomini said. “Maybe he thinks all the players have changed, but I’m still here. He got thrown out on his rear once in 1986, and he’ll get thrown out on his rear again.”
The battle may just be getting under way, according to Sandoval, who pledged to pursue the matter as long as necessary, even if that means breaking the will.
“I don’t think people on the losing side of the lawsuit feel justice was reached, and I tend to agree with them,” Sandoval said. “It is the policy of the Board of Supervisors that the Marin Community Foundation should be a little more magnanimous in its giving.”
Enrichment: Marin Community Foundation
Author: Judith M. Wilson
August, 2015 Issue
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” —Woodrow Wilson
Oil fields, a legendary legal squabble and an old airplane hangar all figure into the Marin Community Foundation’s history. It’s been more than a quarter century since its inception and, since then, it’s weathered controversy and has had some notable ups and downs—but it’s also been at the forefront of some remarkable accomplishments.
The story starts in 1975, when Beryl Hamilton Buck, the childless widow of Dr. Leonard Buck, died and left an estate of more than $10 million, much of it in Belridge Oil stock, for charitable purposes to improve the quality of life for all Marin County’s residents. Her attorney, John Elliot Cook, entrusted the Buck inheritance to the San Francisco Foundation, based on its record of managing charitable legacies throughout the Bay Area. But in 1979, Shell Oil Company bought Belridge Oils reserves and the value of the stock skyrocketed, changing everything.
With hundreds of millions of dollars suddenly in the Buck Trust’s coffers, the San Francisco Foundation took legal action to overturn the terms of Mrs. Buck’s will so it could spread the largesse to other counties. That action spurred a legal battle with Marin officials, nonprofit leaders, Buck relatives and lawyers and even the California Attorney General’s Office, who banded together to oppose the change. The San Francisco Foundation officials persisted until midway through a trial in 1986, when it became clear they would not succeed in proving that all the charitable assets couldn’t prudently be spent in Marin. The foundation then chose to withdraw its suit and resign as distribution trustee.
The court subsequently ordered the establishment of a new foundation, the first function of which would be to manage the trust. The Marin Community Foundation (MCF) launched operations in 1987 to direct the Buck Trust funds, and one year later, three major projects were selected by the court to each receive a fixed percentage of the Leonard and Beryl Buck Fund’s income in perpetuity. These projects are the Buck Center for Research on Aging, the Buck Institute for Education and Alcohol Justice.
Starting from scratch
As a brand-new entity, MCF got off to a rocky start. “It was born out of contention, and it opened with a kind of soup-to-nuts set of expectations and demands,” says Dr. Thomas Peters, current MCF president/CEO, “Understandably, it took some time to get these initial issues resolved.”
In 1998 the MCF board of trustees called on Peters to take the top leadership position and “No one was more surprised than I to get a knock on my door. I thought they were looking for the real Tom Peters—the famous business author,” he says. He was a public health doctor who’d served as chief of staff for a number of his nearly 20 years with the San Francisco Department of Health. In 1991, he moved to Marin to become the county’s director of health and human services. Nonprofit leadership wasn’t in his background, but he was active in the community, had worked for public entities and observes, “Government is the ultimate nonprofit.”
Following seven years as the county’s health director, he accepted the offer to become president of MCF because it gave him the opportunity to address the basic issue of community health from a broad perspective: “It was an expansion of the vision that caught my eye—and has kept me completely engaged—for these nearly 18 years at the foundation,” he says.
During his tenure, Peters has brought stability and cohesion to the foundation, a success the court validated in January 2014 with an order to end its supervision of the Buck Trust. Until then, it had required annual reviews of MCF’s Buck Trust activities and an appointed official to monitor its operations. It took a little more than a year to carry out the various regulatory steps, but the transformation was finalized, and the court’s probate oversight came to a close on May 1, 2015, giving MCF full autonomy. “The court withdrew its oversight with some very complimentary remarks about the thematic and administrative care with which we administer the Buck Trust. It was a important statement on the court’s part,” says Peters.
Fulfilling the mission
Originally housed in an office building at Larkspur Landing, the MCF’s spacious, art-filled quarters are now located in a renovated hangar at Hamilton Landing, a former U.S. Air Force base in Novato. Peters sees restored wetlands along a segment of the Bay Trail from his office window, and the environment, indoors as well as out, is a reflection of how vision can become reality—something that’s at the heart of the foundation’s mission.
Buck funds are paid out in grants to organizations that can fulfill some aspect of the foundation’s mission, as defined by its strategic plan, and are unrestricted except for geographic boundaries. “We don’t have active participation from Dr. or Mrs. Buck or their family, so the board of trustees is the determining board for priorities and allocations,” says Peters.
Trustees look at a broad base of the community’s educational and charitable needs in an effort to decide how to have the most beneficial impact, with an emphasis on education, economic opportunity, health and environment. This is a change from a wider range in the past. Peters explains that the new, narrower focus lets MCF zero in on some of the most critical work that it’s engaged in (or hopes to be engaged in). “We narrowed the breadth of our grant-making so we could go deeper in certain areas,” he says, adding that the board did so under an overall theme: equity of opportunity.
A prime example of the way MCF funding works to provide economic opportunity is the Renaissance Center for Entrepreneurship in downtown San Rafael, which opened in June 2012 with MCF assistance. It’s one of five regional centers in the Bay Area (headquarters are in San Francisco) that has been teaching entrepreneurship since 1985. Training for potential entrepreneurs didn’t exist in Marin County before, even though 30 percent of Marin residents are self-employed, often in second jobs, in keeping with a national trend.
“Most people can’t make ends meet in a single job. It started, really, during the recent recession, when many people couldn’t find full-time work, so they coupled part-time employment with contract jobs, which is, basically, self-employment. We emphasize helping people to be more self-determined in this economy,” says center director Boku Kodama, who explains that California leads the nation in in micro-business job growth (companies with one to four employees), and people need a variety of skills. “You have to be a jack of all trades, because when jobs come from the micro sector, the smallness requires you to wear a variety of hats and have the mindset to do whatever it takes. You have to constantly learn,”he says, adding that the center provides educational opportunities and services that let people succeed. It also offers 100 classes and workshops per year (ranging from a few hours to several weeks in length) and hosts several events each month to foster communication and provide networking opportunities.
Opportunity is also inherent in the mission of 10,000 Degrees, a San Rafael nonprofit that helps students from low-income homes gain access to higher education and provides mentoring to ensure their success. President/CEO Kim Mazzuca reports that 84 percent of the students 10,000 Degrees assists graduate from college—a success rate far exceeding the national average, which is only 59 percent. Support from the Buck Fund plays an essential role. “The MCF investment has really been a game changer for us,” says Mazzuca, who observes that education impacts families and provides endless possibilities.
“We’re seeing systemic change,” she adds. “We appointed our first alum [Saul Peña, an investment analyst] as chairman of the board five years ago,” she says, and the current board chairman, Pepe Gonzalez, is a former 10,000 Degrees scholar who’s now principal of Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael. Mazzuca points out that the assistance 10,000 Degrees provides goes beyond the individual to benefit the community, and she’s grateful for MCF’s support. “They’ve helped us build our capacity,” she says. “It’s been a stellar and fruitful partnership.”
While parameters for education, economic opportunity and health (Marin Community Clinics and Coastal Health Alliance are also among the MCF beneficiaries) are well established, the focus on the environment is not yet fully formed. “We’re taking some time now,” says Peters, to meet with Marin’s top environment leaders. MCF will roll out specific areas of grant priorities in the fall or winter. Healthy eating, active living, environment protection and climate change mitigation are among the top priorities, and MCF has provided funds for the Marin Carbon Project as well as support for Marin Organic’s Farm Field Studies program, so school children can visit farms on field trips. “Our goal is to teach them about nutrition and why organic agriculture is important,” says MO’s Executive Director Jeffrey Westman, who reports that 2,100 kids visited farms during the last academic year, and some of them had never before experienced nature.
Despite its wide range of funding and positive impact, MCF has had its share of criticism from individuals and organizations that believe—and, sometimes, demand— that the Buck Trust should provide more financial support for their areas of interest. Peters is quick to respond to the charges. “It’s just misguided and incorrect: They’ll rely on some reading or interpretation that simply isn’t a valid reference point,” he says, emphasizing that the court and federal regulations have been very clear. “We hear from advocates from many particular causes and interests. The plain and controlling fact of the matter is that the board of trustees is empowered to use its best judgment and best assessment of how to use these allocations from the Buck Trust. I couldn’t be more proud of their consideration.”
Some members of the arts community, in particular, have been vocal in demanding different priorities, but Peters explains that the trustees have chosen to focus on providing access to the arts for youngsters from disadvantaged environments, who have less access to art and culture than other children. “The board allocates substantial funding to programs that reach out to these youngsters. I feel nothing but pride about that decision,” he says. “I’m extraordinarily proud of the arts grant making we’re doing.”
Beyond the Buck
Even if they don’t receive grants, Marin’s nonprofits can benefit from MCF’s services. “We have a top-flight marketing staff,” says Peters, explaining that they give advice and suggestions to organizations that are fashioning material to go out to potential donors, and a “cracker-jack” philanthropic services team helps nonprofit boards think through strategies to attract donors. A financial team advises organizations on the technical and financial requirements a nonprofit must adhere to, and, “Our grants and loans team is in the field and interacting with the program staffs of scores and scores of nonprofit organizations,” says Peters, explaining they share expertise, give perspective and listen to needs. “The Marin Community Foundation is quite thoroughly engaged with nonprofits in Marin County,” he reports.
In addition to overseeing the Buck Trust, MCF manages and invests money on behalf of more than 500 individuals and families with charitable funds and makes grants in consultation with them. The donors advise where the money is to go, and the beneficiaries can be local, national or abroad and have been as diverse as the Mountain Play, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Heifer International. In some instances, donors identify a field of interest, such as the environment or education, and MCF staff research charitable organizations that are most appropriate. “We have hundreds of families on whose behalf we make grants,” says Peters. “My staff and I work closely with many of these donors, and I’m touched on a weekly basis by their involvement,” he says, adding, “We make a considerable amount, approximately one-quarter of our grant-making, outside of Marin.”
MCF also houses endowment and other specific funds for approximately 70 nonprofit organizations, mostly private family foundations but also some Rotary clubs and other groups. “For example, the Marine Mammal Center has a fund here, and we hold and invest that money on its behalf. When its board requests it, we send money for operating support,” says Peters. “It keeps an organization from having to have the financial and investment responsibilities on its shoulders,” he explains.
All told, it’s a huge endeavor. In 2014, MCF reported $1.6 billion in assets and distributed more than $63 million from the Buck Trust and family and community funds. It continues to honor Beryl Buck’s legacy by doing good work in Marin and farther afield—far beyond what anyone could have imagined in 1975. It’s truly making its mark on the world and, at 28, it’s only just begun.
According to its website, the MCF mission is to: “Encourage and apply philanthropic contributions to help improve the human condition, embrace diversity, promote a humane and democratic society, and enhance the community’s quality of life, now and for future generations.”
“Two great things about the Marin Community Foundation: They provided funding and just got out of the way. They were nice enough to say, ‘You know what you’re doing,’” says Boku Kodama, center director for Renaissance Marin. MCF also set benchmarks, which the Renaissance Center either met or exceeded, and provided the center with its building on Third Street, rent free, for three years. “It was very generous of them,” he says.
Mill Valley Philharmonic is an award-winning community orchestra made up of volunteer musicians who perform free, live orchestral music to people in communities throughout Marin County and beyond. From 2011 to 2014, the orchestra received three grants from MCF to support audience development efforts.
“MCF gave us three years of funding in audience development. The funding was generous and extremely helpful in developing a successful strategy and fulfillment of our goals,” says Laurie Cohen, MVP director. “One great part of the process was that we met with our arts cohorts every two months. The cohorts sharing experience and expertise was a gift of intelligence and passion on the part of each arts organization’s representatives.”
The Marin Community Foundation has managed the Deitz Family Trust for Jim Deitz of Tiburon for the past five years. “I’ve always been satisfied with its management of the trust assets,” says Deitz. “It’s very easy to designate contributions, and MCF follows up admirably on them.”
He points out that donations are tax-deductible at the time they go into the trust, which earns income each year, and MCF sends checks and writes letters to individual charities as needed. “As part of my will, I’ll be establishing a special trust with MCF that will be controlled by my children,” Deitz adds.
In its prior strategic plan, the Marin Community Foundation identified four strategic initiatives for funding from the Buck Trust.
Closing Education Achievement Gap: $6,392,957
Example: Support for the Marin County Office of Education’s Early Childhood Education Quality Improvement Project.
Ending the Cycle of Poverty: $2,561,500
Example: Support for Homeward Bound of Marin’s ending-the-cycle-of-poverty and workforce-development programs.
Increasing Affordable Housing: $10,379,457
Example: Support for implementation of California Human Development’s Farmworker Housing Program.
Arts and Culture: $1,256,646
Example: Support for Bread & Roses for audience development and live music performances for isolated and institutionalized residents.
Source: Grants Made in FY14 under MCF’s 201-2014 Strategic Plan
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato is one of the world’s foremost centers for research into the diseases of aging, and it conducts groundbreaking research into finding ways for people to live longer in good health. It was originally a component program of the Marin Community Foundation but is now independent and receives most of its income from federal grants. “It had to go through regulatory changes to spin off into a great subsidiary to stand on its own,” says MCF President/CEO Dr. Thomas Peters. “We’ll continue the Buck Trust grants, but it’s now structurally independent.”
Four curated art shows per year make the Marin Community Foundation’s offices into a veritable gallery. The current show, “Black Artists on Art,” features the works of more than 50 African American artists from three generations, including Dr. Samella Lewis, America’s leading historian and collector of black fine art. The exhibit is open to the public, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, until September 25, 2015, at 5 Hamilton Landing, Suite 200, Novato.
The Marin Community Foundation partners with Marin County Office of Education to fund and oversee the Early School Success Initiative. Four districts and 10 schools within the Novato Unified, Shoreline Unified, San Rafael City Schools and Sausalito Marin City school districts participate in a research-based pre-K-3 initiative to close the achievement and opportunity gap for students in poverty, English language learners and children of color. Thirty-eight preschool classrooms participate through alignment of best practices, professional development, common assessments and program evaluation. Partnering with parents is critically important, as they’re the child’s first teachers, along with educational partners who engage in extended learning and services in our communities.
MCF has funded national experts to provide exceptional professional development, including equity, common core standards, pre-K frameworks and foundations, alignment of researched based instructional practice, English language arts, mathematical practices and social emotional development. “Early Childhood Education is a top priority in Marin. How fortunate for our entire community,” says Jan La Torre-Derby, pre-K-3 early school success director for Marin County Office of Education. “We’re truly creating systemic change to create a seamless pre-K-3 aligned delivery model.”