: About

Why SmARTs?

Three of the smARTs long-time volunteer/committee members and teaching artists, Joann Tomsche, Christina Nordella and Mallory Cremin were asked “why did you become involved in smARTs”? Below is what they had to say.


I started smARTS because I wanted my sons to grow up and experience a learning community where the arts are valued and important. I continued to work and play with an evolving group of committed volunteers, all of whom value the arts in education and in life. Witnessing and supporting creativity in children is joyful work. I’m so pleased to have been part of this program for 13 years.

– Joann Tomsche, Artist

Sharon Seibert, the then Kindergarten teacher at the time and Saffron Symank asked me if I would like to participate in a group to bring more art supplies into the classroom. Having both my youngest children attend Mountain Meadow pre-school with Denise Gioeli, which was an art-based curriculum, I believed in the importance of art in education.  There was no hesitation. However, although we successfully got the art supplies, art was still not happening in the classrooms. We adopted the smARTs name and began as a model for Sharon’s Art Friday class with the use of local artists and volunteers which relieved the overwhelmed teachers. The program started in just K-2 at the time.  It was wonderful! Now, the program has expanded to include all grades…a lot farther than anyone of us at the time could have predicted. Our school has become a recognized academic school largely in part to the smARTs program. I am proud to be so long a part of it. There is nothing more rewarding than sparking a child’s imagination and watching them grow and succeed and reminding them of the beauty of art which is really just a reflection of them! And I can’t thank enough all the volunteers and artists that have contributed all these years to making it into such a success. But I do hope all of them know deep within themselves how much of a difference they have made and are still making in our children’s lives and literally the future generations. Deep bow and gratitude.

Christina Lee Nordella, smARTs Volunteer Coordinator/ Artist

public school volunteer arts program, idyllwild

You ask why I got involved in smARTs. When they first asked if I wanted to get involved, I still had a child (Noah) at home. Cassius was in kindergarten. Cassius was getting lots of art with Mrs. Laurie Maxwell in kindergarten. When Noah entered school, Cassius was in second grade and not getting any art. So I started volunteering with smARTs, bringing hands on experience with different mediums to the classroom. I believe art encourages creative outlets in all areas from cooking and living, to interacting with other people, to appreciating our environment. I believe smARTs has helped the students at Idyllwild elementary grow in so many ways. smARTs is unique, because the community artists that support the program, while not following a traditional arts development of skills based learning, instead give the children a wide range of experiences and approaches.  It has been very satisfying, but frustrating because I want the public school system to provide the arts classes, during the school day, so every single student can be involved and experiencing art, not relying on overworked parents at special schools like ours. Finally, I want to thank Idyllwild Community Fund, ICF, for supporting the fabulous programs that enrich our town. Thank you.

– Mallory Cremin, Artist

Year-End Thoughts from the Idyllwild Community Fund

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are a community of caring. We come together as individuals to care for and support one another, and not just at holidays. But especially at this season of giving, we recognize there are many in Idyllwild who need that extra hug, kind word, offer of support or a helping hand.

We, the Idyllwild Community Fund Advisory Committee members, are honored to be part of growing an endowment, managed by the Community Foundation in Riverside that will continue to make gifts to deserving local non-profits for as long as Idyllwild continues. Annual gifts, averaging $13,000, are generated from interest accrued on the fund’s principal. This past year we awarded $12,120 to 11 worthy Idyllwild organizations to help each achieve a stated objective that without our funding, might have gone unfulfilled. Recipients include: the Casa Center Against Sexual Assault of Southwest Riverside County; the Chapel in the Pines Christian Fellowship; the Idyllwild Scholarship Fund; the Mountain Communities Firesafe Council; the PTA smARTS program; the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center; the Idyllwild Help Center; the Idyllwild School Booster Club; the Natural Learning Research Institute; the Art Alliance of Idyllwild; and the Idyllwild Master Chorale. We also contributed $2,000 to the Idyllwild Youth Grantmakers Program, teaching philanthropy to Idyllwild School 6th through 8th graders and several of our members helped mentor the students throughout their 12 week training sessions.

For the past 19 years, since an anonymous couple made a generous donation to seed the ICF, we have vetted grantee applicants and recommended grant recipients. We conduct site visits and get to know the applicants and their needs. We conduct a year-end honoring ceremony for the grantees, held this year at Silver Pines Lodge. For the first time this year we held a “Wine in the Pines Auction with a Twist that netted over $4,000 to augment the Idyllwild fund to make more local grants possible.

As President I can say that this committee has been wholeheartedly active in expanding our fundraising, increasing our awareness in town (some still confuse us with other similarly named organizations), and contributing to one of the most productive years in ICF history – all thanks to you who know us, respect our mission, and desire, through donating, to make life better for so many of our friends and neighbors. A special thanks to Red and Laurel Corbin for a recent $500 donation.

This 2014 ICF committee showed up and did the work enthusiastically – not just one or two of the members – all of them. Termed out this year and leaving as of December are Summer Brown, Gigi Kramer, Ron Krull, Trish Tuley and Adele Voell. With a new vetting procedure in place, our vetting committee recommended, and the full committee adopted as new members Holly Guntermann, Holly Owens, Mary Morse, Bill Whitman, Suzanne Avalon and Larrynne Carver. We look forward, with your help, to another year of helping to improve the lives of our community residents.

Your gifts and thoughtfulness sustain us.

Happy Holidays, with our warmest wishes for a healthy and fulfilling New Year.

To Help Those in Need

helpcentermainThe mission of the Idyllwild HELP CENTER is “to help those in need”. While that seems like an over simplification, it is a herculean task and takes a community to accomplish this. In the past year we received $3618 in grant funds from the Community Fund of Idyllwild. The purpose of the funds was to be used for medical vouchers and related items. With these funds we were able to serve 102 residents of Idyllwild with medical, pharmacy~ transportation to medical services off the hill and eye exams. The funds were used for children and adults. Not everyone used the $55 that was allotted per person and we were able to double the amount of clients that we originally said we would serve.

We also consulted with these and other clients to assist them in signing up for Covered California and gave them information regarding other low cost medical services.

The HELP Center is funded by grants like the Community Fund geared toward specific services and funds that are general in nature. We also hold fund raisers that go directly to our general fund and solicit community donations of goods, services and cash donations. Our Thrift Store takes donations seven days per week and remains open to the public for those seven days. Money generated from the Thrift Store goes directly into our operating funds.

In the past few years we have seen our clientele increase from a few hundred to over 600 clients, the majority of our clients are seniors and the disabled with about 15 percent who are ready to enter the work force. We look forward to working more closely with this latter group in assisting them to re-enter the job market.

The First Annual Idyllwild Community Fund “Wine in the Pines” Social Event


The First Annual Idyllwild Community Fund “Wine in the Pines” Social Event

Saturday, July 5, 2014 from 4-7 PM

In the Garden at the Rainbow Inn

A Very Special Auction and Entertainment Event to Benefit Idyllwild Area Non-Profit Organizations

Entry is Free and Everyone is Invited

It will be an enchanted time to enjoy a glass of fine wine, fine food, fine music, a raffle of fabulous prizes, and Idyllwild’s first Silent Auction with a “Twist”.

Here’ s the “Twist”:  When your item sells  -at your price- you can accept up to 75% of the selling price, donating the rest to the Idyllwild Community Fund that uses your contributions to fund projects for deserving local non-profits.  Or you can donate the full sale price.  That’s up to you.

This summer-fun event offers a way for you to help the non-profits that provide services to the Idyllwild community and at the same time sell your special treasures – without the hassle of EBay or an Estate Sale sign in your front yard.

So here’s how it works – Bring the items that you would like to sell to the Rainbow on July 5 by 4 p.m..  The item should be valued from $25 to $300, and can include small lamps, home furnishings, jewelry, designer handbags, fine art, musical instruments, antique china and silver.  If you’ve held onto it this long, it is a treasure that may need to move on to create delight for someone else.

We will have tables set up in the garden to display each entry.  Please let us know that you will be bringing an item (or two or three) for entry in the auction by emailing Summer by June 30th.  (We can also store your entries at BBVA Compass Bank prior to the event.  It’s a treasure right?  So it needs to be safe.) Please let us know if you want to store it at the bank prior to the event.

So get started on your spring-cleaning now, clear out your garage or attic and with your donations help enrich the lives of your community members. Experience a new community event “with a twist” – “Wine in the Pines 2014.”  Don’t miss it!

2014 Grantwriting and Technical Assistance Workshop

Karen Lampert, Program Officer at The Community Foundation, will be conducting a grantwriting and technical assistance workshop on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 for Idyllwild nonprofits at the Idyllwild Library community meeting room from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

This hands-on workshop will walk participants through the Idyllwild Community Fund online grant application in addition to providing basic grantwriting tips and information. Participants are asked to RSVP for the workshop to Karen Lampert or 951-241-7777.

The Idyllwild Community Fund, a fund of The Community Foundation Serving the Counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, is currently accepting grant proposals from qualified nonprofit organizations through May 5, 2014.

The Idyllwild Community Fund was established in 1997 by anonymous donors for the benefit of the Idyllwild community.

The Fund’s advisory committee of local community residents is dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents of Idyllwild.  The advisory board will give funding preference to the following areas:  Arts and Culture, Human Services, Environment, and Emergency Preparedness.

Last year, the fund awarded over $12,000 in support to qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofits.

For a full description of grant guidelines and to determine eligibility, please go to The Community Foundation’s website at www.thecommunityfoundation.net and navigate to the Grant Schedule.

The Community Foundation


The Community Foundation’s mission is to strengthen Inland Southern California through philanthropy. TCF does that by raising, stewarding and distributing community assets, working toward their vision of a vibrant, generous and just region—with unlimited opportunities. In 2014, the foundation has a renewed focus on building its endowment to ensure that The Community Foundation is Here for good. For more information, contact The Community Foundation at 951-241-7777 or info@thecommunityfoundation.net.

A New Year, New Members and a New Focus

The Idyllwild Community Fund Advisory Board begins 2014 with five new members, new officers and an energized commitment to serve the needs of the community by making grants to local non-profits – assisting those local organizations in accomplishing their missions. In newsletters to come, we’ll profile last year’s grantees, their roles in the community and how they plan to use their grants. In awarding grants, the board strives to engage with the community, understand its needs, and review and respond to grant requests as the original Idyllwild donors intended.

Established in 1996 by a local couple whose mission it was to provide, in perpetuity, a fund and legacy to be used in the wider Idyllwild community for general charitable purposes, the fund or endowment is administered by the ICF Advisory Board operating under the umbrella of The Community Foundation, headquartered in Riverside.

Both the ICF and The Community Foundation are charged with increasing their founding endowments through marketing and fundraising so that those endowments grow. Grants are then made from interest on the principal. From 1999 through 2013, ICF grants to Idyllwild non profits totaled $171,000.

The 2014 ICF board is already planning new fundraising programs to engage, entertain and enroll the community in joining hands to bring a better quality of life to our neighbors and friends.

Current board members are Summer Brown, Mary Collier, Jeri Sue Haney, Gigi Kramer, Ron Krull, Marshall Smith, Bill Sperling Trish Tulley and Adele Voell. Our five new members are:

Jayne-DavisJayne Davis, native New Englander, retired teacher and current Idyllwild Master Chorale librarian and vocalist, brings a strong history of volunteering, deep knowledge of the community and excellent organizational skills to the board;

SteveTaylor-BioLocal realtor Steve Taylor has lived in Idyllwild for nearly 19 years and both through his work and volunteer activities – with the Help Center Board and the Art Alliance of Idyllwild – has developed a nuanced understanding of what he calls, “this very special little town.” Steve has also served as president of the local Board of Realtors;

Mary-MorseMary Morse, current Director of Resource Development for EXCEED, a Hemet based non profit providing vocational training to adults with disabilities, is a Pine Cove resident who brings her experience in non profit administration, teaching, counseling and marketing to the board;

KathyHarmonLuberKathy Harmon-Luber, 11 year Idyllwild resident and previous Director of Development for the Idyllwild Arts Foundation, is an experienced fundraiser, having raised over $100 million for organizations advocating the arts, education, children, health and social services and political change in both Southern California and Washington D.C. Kathy also currently serves on the boards of the Art Alliance of Idyllwild and the Associates of Idyllwild Arts;

Jim-NutterJim Nutter, current Vice President of the Idyllwild Master Chorale, 24 year member and five time president of the Idyllwild Lions Club, current adjutant of the Sons of the American Legion, post 800 and Post Honor Guard member, brings dedication and discipline and a reputation for hard work to the board. Jim is currently employed with the Fern Valley Water District.

New ICF Advisory Board officers are Marshall Smith, President, Ron Krull, Vice President, and Summer Brown, Corresponding Secretary. Unfortunately for us, Dianne Suechika, a most vibrant and engaged board member and current Recording Secretary, had to resign because of family issues. Her board seat and officer position are now open.

Our year will be exciting and we will keep you informed. Thanks for making this journey with us.

Grant applications open on March 10th and remain open through May 5. We conduct our site visits to potential grantees from June 2nd through 6th, make our decisions in August and have our annual reception, awards ceremony and gala on September 25.

Keep an eye out for our new fundraising events which, given the character of this board, should be fun and entertaining.

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