Ronni Hannaman: Nonprofits the soul of every thriving community

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The soul of any community is easily revealed by how residents care for those less fortunate, whether through tax-funded social programs or through the variety of nonprofits dedicated to providing a service for almost any need.
No matter the size of the community, since the beginning of time, there are those who seemingly have it all, while there are others who can barely make ends meet. However, no matter the end of the financial spectrum, there could be the need for professional and caring help, and that’s where our charitable nonprofits shine.
The rich soul of Carson City can be witnessed daily, whether to provide something as simple as a free meal or as complex as caring for women and their children who have experienced the tragedy of domestic violence. So many of our nonprofits are here 24/7 to provide that comforting outstretched hand to give hope.
There are all types of nonprofits. Some do the heavy lifting of caring and guiding those who have experience tragedy, while others such as civic and fraternal clubs exist to raise money to support the needs of the heavy lifters. Churches, too, are nonprofits with the main mission of, “tending to their flock.”
There are nonprofits dedicated to providing shelter and humane treatment of animals. Foundations, such as Western Nevada College Foundation, exist to raise money for myriad needs, such as scholarships and new buildings. The Pennington Foundation has been generous to several of our nonprofits by granting our Boys and Girls Club money to build a teen center, a teaching center for The Greenhouse Project, and partially funded the new state-of-the-art offices of Advocates to End Domestic Violence.
Other nonprofits raise our spirits through providing arts and culture, while the educational non-profits keep us in tune with the world around us. The all-volunteer civic/social organizations such as Rotary, Elks, Lions, Kiwanis and the like bring those with like minds together to support a common cause.
Most fund high school scholarships along with funding their core missions. Some are so dedicated to the mission of their civic club that they have stuck around for 50 years — as was the case of former Carson City Mayor Ray Maysako, who still passionately believes in the work of the Lions Club.
As the homeless population increases, Friends in Service Helping (FISH) continues to be dedicated to feeding and sheltering those in need. Advocates to End Domestic Violence operates the largest women’s shelter in Northern Nevada.
Several new nonprofits have sprung up in the past few years to assist in sheltering and feeding homeless and food insecure. The Dream Center, for example, serves food and hope to those living in motels, and the Spirit of Hope operates shared housing to combat homelessness.
Seniors are cared for through RSVP Inc., providing home services that allow seniors to stay at home. The city-run senior center provides meals, education and camaraderie.
Families are the center of Ron Wood Family Resource Center. Partnership Carson City exists to keep our kids and community drug-free. Food For Thought provides weekend foods to food-insecure children through filling backpacks on Fridays to assure nutrition over the weekend. Austin’s House provides a loving shelter for children in crisis. CASA advocates for children’s rights.
Those acknowledged are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many nonprofits formed to care for Carson City’s less fortunate who raise money and solicit volunteers from those who can contribute to fund their good works. All our nonprofits add to the sense of community for which Carson City is known.
Carson City Health & Human Services is in the process of conducting a survey required every three years to determine whether all our human services nonprofit needs are currently being met.
Past lists have shown the need to care for those needing mental health services, which were addressed by opening the 24-hour Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center operated by Carson Tahoe Health “to fill this vital gap.”
As stated on the Council of Nonprofits website, “Nonprofits play a fundamental role in creating more equitable and thriving communities.”
A caring community supports their nonprofits. Many volunteers and financial donors often state, “There but for the grace of God go I.” It’s not always about the tax deduction to bring out the caring in people.
Not often noted, however, is how important nonprofits are as part of the business community, by hiring professionals and support staff to carry out their many programs, thus providing many community jobs.
Kudos to every nonprofit, no matter the cause, and their volunteers who make Carson City a more caring and equitable place in which to live, work and play.
“Carson Conversation” is a monthly NNBW Voices column authored by Ronni Hannaman, executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. Reach her for comment at


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