(Updated July 19; group adopts name)
The idea of a project to help Oakmont residents who struggle to afford their OVA dues was barely public when the first volunteers stepped up, began working and adopted the name “Oakmont Neighbors Together.”
Susan Chauncy, a retired investment advisor who is leading the effort, was joined by OVA Board member Marianne Neufeld, whose hand shot up when OVA President Steve Spanier announced the idea at a July 8 town hall, calling it
“an opportunity for someone with a passion for helping those who are having trouble affording dues payments.”
Chauncy described Oakmont Neighbors Together as “a fund established by donors in our own community who value each homeowner’s ability to continue to enjoy this wonderful place we call home.”
Spanier said the board had been looking since the 2018 election for a way to help people make ends meet. The idea arose as members are deciding a significant dues increase to fund a possible Oakmont Golf Club purchase.
Chauncy and Neufeld quickly met and prepared to welcome others to help work out how the project can proceed.
“There are a lot of compassionate people in our community,” Chauncy said. Their initial work focused on how to bring in volunteers and set up the infrastructure for the group. “I’m very optimistic about what we can accomplish here,” she said.
Chauncy’s community involvement has included serving as vice president of the Oakmont Golf Club, a job that would end with expected sale of OGC.
Spanier’s suggestion drew on a program begun some months ago to help residents suffering from loneliness and depression. Legal liability concerns made that impossible for OVA. Anne Marie Sui-Yuan founded an organization to absorb the risks, and volunteers now work through that program to visit and comfort residents who are lonely and depressed.
The idea for Oakmont Neighbors Together is a monetary fund to which all Oakmont residents who wish can contribute, one-time, monthly or occasionally. Funds would be distributed to those with a need. People administering the fund would determine criteria for eligibility.
As an example, Spanier said if 500 residents contributed an average of $5 a month each for a year that would raise $30,000, which could provide 100 people with $300 of dues aid per year. He noted that plan would wipe out the proposed $23 monthly dues increase proposed for next year.
Spanier’s announcement was greeted with applause, and several people in the audience raised their hands as a show of interest.