The Park City Community Foundation connects donors with nonprofit organizations to create a community that is fully supported. If nothing else, the numbers are proof that the foundation is doing everything it can to make Park City a great place to live, work and play.
“We’ve contributed over $50 million into our community,” says the Park City Community Foundation President and CEO Joel Zarrow.
The foundation was established in 2007 and now supports over 130 nonprofits. Over the past 16 years, the organization’s motive remains steadfast. “Park City Community Foundation’s mission is to address the community’s most pressing challenges. And there’s a huge opportunity,” Joel explains. “We’re out to make systemic change. We’re out to solve problems that haven’t been solved. No single organization, even one as great as Park City Community Foundation, can solve these systemic challenges alone. It’s about collaboration.”
The first step in collaboration is providing information. Residents, visitors, businesses and government entities must understand how nonprofit organizations support and shape the region.
“Anybody who lives, works or plays in Park City — whether for a day or a decade, is impacted by the nonprofit sector,” Joel says, describing how nonprofits create and maintain trails, provide health care and mold Park City through countless initiatives and programs.
Park City Community Foundation is the connection point, linking donors with nonprofits. “The Community Foundation’s main operation is helping donors channel funds to nonprofits that interest them,” Joel says. He describes the foundation as a broker, connecting philanthropists with causes. “Over time, we have built the trust of the nonprofit sector, and we have shown that we can help grow the pie rather than just take a big slice of the pie.”
The Park City Community Foundation relies on diversity and democracy to allocate funds. “We don’t have program officers who make unilateral recommendations to our board. Instead, we have community committees. They are the people most impacted by the challenge we seek to address. They are folks in the nonprofit sector who are working to address the challenge. They are donors and civic leaders. They review applications and have clear criteria by which they voice their perspective about who should get funded. And then they decide together who gets funded and how much,” Joel says. “It’s important having people with diverse perspectives come together to make resource allocation decisions.”
Park City Community Foundation currently manages 10 community initiatives, including their Housing Fund, Early Childhood Alliance, Park City Climate Fund, Women’s Giving Fund, Solomon Fund, RISE Fund, Mental Wellness Fund, Community Fund, Social Equity Focus, and the revered fundraising event, Live PC Give PC.
“Live PC Give PC is about getting more financial resources to the nonprofits so they can realize their mission,” Joel says. “In 2022, we helped to raise $5.3 million for the nonprofit sector in a single day.” During the annual November event, the foundation connects donors directly with nonprofits, creating an accessible environment for people to give. Joel is adamant that every person who participates makes an impact. “Small donations make a big impact, even if it’s only $5.”
Of the foundation’s 10 deserving initiatives, Joel highlights the Early Childhood Alliance, which focuses on supporting children age 3 and under. “Park City is facing a child-care crisis. Only 50 percent of families who want early child care can access it because we don’t have enough seats. And it’s incredibly expensive,” Joel says. The foundation’s need assessment and data-based proposal spurred a record-breaking solution. “For the first time in Utah, a city entity has stepped up and provided a million dollars worth of scholarships for early child care.”
Joel also speaks to the Park City Climate Fund, which implements high-impact climate solutions, including a goal to eliminate food waste by 2030. To reach that goal, the foundation is collaborating with the city, restaurant associations and lodgers.
From child care and climate solutions to mental health and inclusive extracurricular programming, the Park City Community Foundation has proven to be the ultimate matchmaker — connecting philanthropists with worthy nonprofits.
“Many people who move to Park City have been successful in their careers. And they recognize it’s time for them to make a difference. So, they give, they contribute. And the nonprofit sector is strong enough here that the money is used well to create opportunities for everyone to enjoy this incredible place,” Joels says. “Park City is well positioned to make a big difference.”