2020 Funding Priority

COVID-19 UPDATE (August 2020):

Dear Friend,                                                                                                                           

A visit to our Lake Tahoe and Donner State Parks is an integral part of who we are.  They are the setting  for connections we make with our families and friends. Our parks have been described as magical places and an oasis for the spirit. Thankfully, the gates to the parks are still open, but we miss the ability to connect and share important moments with you. Along with everyone else, this year finds us pivoting and reacting to the challenge of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, we likely will not be able to open exhibit spaces in our visitor centers, welcome you to the interiors of our treasured historic house museums, or host any of our famous in-person events. Under guidelines established by our health officials, we can operate our in-park stores and host small (6-person maximum) volunteer activities, and some interpretive programming and special outside tours. 

Even as we experience a projected 74% income decrease, the parks are filled to capacity and the need to fund positions to support this this increased visitation and maintenance impact continues. We are doing our best to meet this demand with our limited staff and capital resources.

The Sierra State Parks Foundation has a remarkable 55-year history and has weathered many challenges over the years. We are firm in our resolve to survive this pandemic financially and welcome you back to our open park facilities in the spring of 2021 – continuing the legacy for 50 more years.  Though our team is strong and adaptable, sadly we have been forced to furlough staff , and cut wages and operating expenses where we can. We are aggressively reducing costs while continuing to serve our foundation members and the public. To date we have reduced our operational expenses by 50%. Luckily, SSPF’s Board of Directors carefully created a reserve fund. Additionally, we have received grants from the Small Business Administration, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, the California State Parks Foundation, and Parks California to help sustain us at a basic level of operation.  Even with these measures, we predict a $250,000 shortfall until we can reboot our mission next May 2021.

We realize these are unprecedented times for all of us. We are writing this letter to seek your financial support to sustain our Foundation’s mission. Any financial support is  appreciated so we can keep our core employees on payroll, continue to care for our precious cultural resources, provide innovative school programming for this coming year, and maintain the unique park experiences you have come to expect from the Sierra State Parks Foundation.

We ask that you to donate to the Sierra State Parks Foundation Resilience Fund.  Every little bit will help to cover our shortfall. These moneys will go directly to maintain our payroll and the operating expenses of the Foundation.  All donations are tax deductible. Thank you in advance for all you do to support the noble mission of our Foundation. We appreciate you all very much!  

SSPF Covid-19 Resilience Fund
Goal: $250,000

Donate Now: Resilience Fund


Workers evaluating the Donner Monument for the restoration project.

Workers evaluating the Donner Monument for the restoration project.


The Donner Project

Goal $450,000 (SSPF Pledge)



The Pioneer Monument was dedicated on June 6, 1918, and erected in honor of all who made the difficult trek across the western plains and mountains to reach California during the 1840s. Constructed near the site of the cabins that gave shelter to the Donner Party, work on the monument began in 1901. Since then, the monument has stood in testament to the thousands of families and individuals who risked all for a better life and honors the pioneer spirit of those who came before us.

The monument needs our help.  After 101 Truckee winters, it is in dire need of repair.

This project includes:

  • Restoration of the Pioneer Monument

  • Site improvement landscaping

  • Construction of an outdoor community educational pavilion

We have partnered with the Native Sons of the Golden West and California State Parks to raise the $1.8 million price tag. We are pleased to announce the commitment of $634,000 from the State of California as of July 2019.  Restoration of the Pioneer Monument will begin in SUMMER 2021.  We need you to enable the second phase to begin in 2022. 

Donation levels over $1,000 will be recognized on the Donor Wall in the Visitor Center foyer. All donation levels over $50 include a one-year membership to the Sierra State Parks Foundation and other “thank you” gifts at various donation levels. We will be pleased to send you our Donner Fundraising Campaign materials or meet with you to share our vision.

Check out the video

The Donner Project Case Statement

Donate Now: The Donner Project



Vikingsholm Forever Endowment Fund

In honor or the 90th anniversary of Vikingsholm, the Vikingsholm Forever Endowment was established in 2019. Founding Members, at $1,000 or more, have the opportunity to be the leaders that ensure this National Historic Landmark remains the guardian of Emerald Bay…forever!

More Information

Donate Now: Vikingsholm Forever

Sugar Pine Point State Park:
Hellman-Ehrman Estate Restoration Projects

Goal: $157,000

This project includes

  • Interior plasterwork repairs and painting ($100,000)
  • Replace worn outside porch furniture ($2,000)
  • Continuation of Historic Landscape restoration ($25,000)
  • Repair the North Boathouse rotting wood and create the Olympic Heritage Exhibit space. ($25,000)

Donate Now: Hellman-Ehrman Estate


The Sierra State Parks Foundation generous donors enables us to fulfill our mission through generous contributions, grants, honor or memorial gifts, bequests and estate planning options.   All donations are fully tax deductible.