About Us

The Auen Foun­da­tion is a pri­vate foun­da­tion formed in 1992 as a non-prof­it, grant-mak­ing orga­ni­za­tion ben­e­fit­ing a broad range of health-relat­ed needs.

In 1995, the Foun­da­tion chose to rede­fine its mis­sion and con­cen­trate on the aging pop­u­la­tion and its emerg­ing needs. Believ­ing that mature cit­i­zens are an impor­tant com­po­nent of a vibrant com­mu­ni­ty, the Foun­da­tion is ded­i­cat­ed to build­ing and sup­port­ing aging pro­grams that include the entire family.

To date, the Auen Foun­da­tion has award­ed more than 1000 grants to char­i­ta­ble and edu­ca­tion­al pro­grams and ser­vices, pri­mar­i­ly in the Coachel­la Val­ley. Board mem­bers and pro­gram offi­cers have a his­to­ry of reach­ing out to non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tions with research and infor­ma­tion about new and dynam­ic pro­grams and ser­vices that ben­e­fit the social wel­fare of mature adults. Many of the pro­grams fund­ed were not in place before the Foun­da­tion stepped in with the ideas and the means to trans­form inno­va­tions into reality.

The Foun­da­tion often seeks out part­ner­ships with oth­er fun­ders in order to have a greater effect on the lives of a grow­ing aging pop­u­la­tion. The Auen Foun­da­tion also encour­ages char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions to be self-sus­tain­ing by assist­ing with the design and imple­men­ta­tion of strate­gic plans, mar­ket­ing and oth­er resources and sup­port that can take non­prof­its to a new lev­el of ser­vice. As part of that goal, the Auen Foun­da­tion encour­ages devel­op­ment of a strong Board of Direc­tors ded­i­cat­ed to active, sol­id leadership.

The Auen Foun­da­tion does not accept unso­licit­ed grant requests, but will con­sid­er let­ters of intent. Please read more about this sub­ject on our Grant Guide­lines page.

Sher­rie S. Auen is the sole Trustee of the Auen Foun­da­tion and also serves as its Pro­gram Direc­tor. Raised in Ida­ho, with live-in grand­par­ents, Sher­rie learned the val­ue of inter­gen­er­a­tional con­nec­tions at a young age. Sherrie’s fam­i­ly instilled the impor­tance of tak­ing care of neigh­bors for the greater good of a com­mu­ni­ty. She began vol­un­teer­ing as a young adult, always hav­ing an affin­i­ty for help­ing the elder­ly, because she believed they were less attend­ed to than oth­ers. Lat­er in life, Sher­rie devel­oped a pas­sion for address­ing the social, health and finan­cial chal­lenges that peo­ple face as they age.

Upon mov­ing to Cal­i­for­nia, in 1962, Sher­rie attend­ed col­lege and lat­er became a Real Estate Bro­ker. She owned South Hills Prop­er­ties for 20 years in Cov­ina, where she first start­ed hon­ing her skills in prop­er­ty invest­ments. When she mar­ried Ron Auen, their inter­ests, exper­tise and pas­sions were unstop­pable. They spent more than three decades coop­er­a­tive­ly ded­i­cat­ed to improv­ing the lives of oth­ers. 

Through her work at the Foun­da­tion, Sher­rie spends exten­sive time under­stand­ing the heart of an orga­ni­za­tion, who is at the helm, who ben­e­fits and even exam­in­ing what more could be done to ensure peo­ple receive valu­able ser­vices. Beyond the joy Sher­rie humbly accepts from the work she does, she was grate­ful to be award­ed an Hon­orary Doc­tor­ate of Humane Let­ters from Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, San Bernardi­no in 2013. 

Catharine N. Reed has served at the Senior Pro­gram Offi­cer for the Auen Foun­da­tion since 1993. With near­ly 30 years of expe­ri­ence in char­i­ta­ble pro­gram­ming with mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar non­prof­it foun­da­tions, Catharine seeks orga­ni­za­tions and part­ner­ships that enrich people’s lives. 

Pri­or to her posi­tion with the Foun­da­tion, Catharine spent ten years man­ag­ing a suc­cess­ful inter­na­tion­al com­pa­ny in the gar­ment indus­try. She also co-owned a devel­op­ment com­pa­ny that assist­ed non­prof­its. Catharine earned a BS in psy­chol­o­gy from Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, San Bernardi­no-Palm Desert Cam­pus and has enhanced her knowl­edge by tak­ing mas­ters lev­els cours­es and part­ner­ing on pro­grams with the pres­ti­gious Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Andrus School of Geron­tol­ogy, focus­ing on geron­tol­ogy and inter­gen­er­a­tional issues. Through this edu­ca­tion and her work with the Foun­da­tion, Catharine has become spe­cial­ized in issues relat­ed to aging, care­giv­ing and inter­gen­er­a­tional pro­grams. 

Grow­ing up, Catharine was influ­enced by her moth­er and grand­moth­er who taught her the per­pet­u­al ben­e­fits of local phil­an­thropy. She is pas­sion­ate about improv­ing the lives of oth­ers, espe­cial­ly those in the mid­dle sec­tor, who she believes are often over­looked. 

Ronald M. Auen (1932–2019) was the found­ing Trustee of the Auen Foun­da­tion, with his wife Sher­rie. Ron’s vision for the foun­da­tion was that by focus­ing on a par­tic­u­lar area of need, they could make a greater impact on those pro­grams and ser­vices with­in their com­mu­ni­ty and beyond.

With his expe­ri­ence as a Real Estate Bro­ker and Gen­er­al Con­trac­tor, Ron suc­cess­ful­ly guid­ed the growth of the Foun­da­tion through its diverse port­fo­lio for near­ly three decades. In that time, he and Sher­rie more than dou­bled the Foundation’s capac­i­ty for giv­ing through a wide range of real estate and oth­er invest­ments. These for­ward-think­ing deci­sions built a lega­cy for phil­an­thropic endeav­ors aimed at improv­ing the lives of the aging pop­u­la­tion and their fam­i­lies. 

Ron served hon­or­ably in the U.S. Army from 1948–1952. Dur­ing his entre­pre­neur­ial career, he pro­vid­ed land plan­ning ser­vices and devel­oped a vari­ety of projects with and for Sil­ver Crest Indus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and was Pres­i­dent and Own­er of Fore­most Land Co., Inc. From 1988–2019, Ron was the Pres­i­dent and Chair­man of the Board of the H.N. and Frances C. Berg­er Foun­da­tion. Although Ron was proud to say he was a grad­u­ate of the “School of Hard Knocks,” tak­ing exten­sive col­lege and oth­er cours­es through­out his life­time, he was elat­ed to receive an Hon­orary Doc­tor­ate of Humane Let­ters from Cal­i­for­nia State Uni­ver­si­ty, San Bernardi­no in 2013.