Finalists for the 2015 Community Grants

There are thirteen finalists for the 2015 Community Grants.  Information on each of the finalists is found below and includes a brief summary of the proposed project, a short explanation of why they were selected as a finalist, and a link to their Full Proposal which includes details on implementation, evaluation, sustainability, and budgets.  The link to the Site Visit Report provides additional information gleaned by the Impact100 members who visited the site.

Capital:

Becoming IndependentBecoming Independent
$15,000 for Sonoma Valley Community Integrated Services
Becoming Independent’s mission is to promote full community inclusion and participation for people with developmental disabilities. Becoming Independent (BI) believes that their clients have the right to a meaningful life, ripe with all the challenges and rewards that go along with being a member of a larger community. BI offers supportive day services to more than 50 individuals each day of the week that includes employment, independent living, and life skills. BI supports its clients with meaningful community-engagement opportunities through individualized community-­based volunteer services — a program called Community Integrated Services. These clients attend a variety of work sites (Mary’s Pizza, Freidman’s Home Improvement) and also volunteer at sites such as Pet’s Lifeline. Current BI vehicles used to transport clients to these sites are aging and not fuel efficient. Using public transportation is not an option as most sites are not on the public transportation route. BI requests $15,000 to purchase a 2015 Ford Focus. Approximately $3,500 will be taken from BI’s capital replacement allocation to supplement the grant funds.
Why this program?  Providing adequate transportation for their clients supports the BI vision that people with disabilities have the opportunity for meaningful work, volunteer opportunities, and recreation.
Becoming Independent Full Proposal
Becoming Independent Site Visit Report

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Pets LifelinePets Lifeline
$15,000 for Kennel and Play Yard Enhancements
In the past year, Pets Lifeline (PLL) provided needed upgrades at the shelter including painting, landscaping, and improvements to the cat rooms. These improvements have created a better experience for the animals, shelter visitors, staff, and volunteers. To provide for the shelter dogs, PLL maintains 13 indoor and 14 outdoor dog kennels. These are in need of improvements to reduce kennel stress, improve safety and comfort for the dogs, increase hygiene, improve relations with shelter neighbors by reducing noise, and improve the enclosed dog play yard. By improving kennel conditions and reducing kennel stress, dogs are more likely to be adopted within a shorter time frame. PLL requests $15,000 to install new under-flooring in all 14 outdoor kennels, replace kennel dividers, replace back fencing to include sound proofing material, purchase raised dog beds and doghouses for each kennel, and re-sod the dog play yard. As part of its new strategic plan, PLL is committed to raising any remaining funds ($17-18,000) that exceed the amount of funding from Impact100.
Why this program?  PLL, the only no-kill shelter in the valley, provides numerous pet adoption and education services. These proposed enhancements to their facilities will increase the adoptability and health of their dogs.
Pets Lifeline Final Proposal
Pets Lifeline Site Visit Report

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SCCSonoma Community Center
$10,000 for Gallery 212 Renovation
Sonoma Community Center (SCC) addresses the need for arts education programs in Sonoma Valley by offering arts classes, workshops, open studios, and gallery exhibits. Diverse offerings are critical because a comprehensive arts education teaches individuals not only to create, but also to appreciate and understand works of art. An estimated 1,000 people view the exhibits annually. Gallery 212 is SCC’s primary exhibition space and home to rotating monthly art exhibits by students, local artists, and artists-in-residence. The gallery’s physical space was once a grammar school classroom, so the original chalkboards, aging windows, and unsightly, painted plywood walls are still in place. As part of its renovation plans, SCC installed track lighting in the gallery in 2011, replacing the original hanging lamp fixtures; but the second phase of the project, replacing the walls, has not yet been completed. SCC requests $10,000 to complete the retrofit comprised of new dry wall, an electrical upgrade, and movable divider/partitions to divide the room further for certain shows. The natural wood features will be preserved and enhanced.
Why this program? The proposed upgrades will complete this renovation project, and the new gallery will provide benefits for artists of all ages in Sonoma Valley for years to come.
Sonoma Community Center Full Proposal
Sonoma Community Center Site Visit Report

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Mentoring Logo with yellow raysSonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance
$15,000 for STEM Mentor Centers
Eight out of ten of the highest demand U.S. job titles require degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); however, too few of our high school graduates are ready for college coursework or careers in these areas. Interest in STEM subjects starts early. By the 4th grade many students have already decided that they like or dislike STEM. Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance (SVMA) is committed to providing opportunities for the 450 at-risk students they mentor to increase their interest in pursuing STEM-related subjects and careers. Currently the eight Mentor Centers lack sophisticated learner-centered tools and equipment to engage students in furthering their knowledge of STEM-related areas. SVMA requests $15,000 to acquire and install 246 age-appropriate, STEM-related learning tools and equipment to enable mentees to work with their mentors to explore the world of STEM together. The learning tools and equipment that will be used in each Mentor Center include items such as remote control machine kits, engineering and science kits, math games, human body/anatomy exploration kits, erector sets, and plastic model and rocket kits.
Why this program?  Providing these age-appropriate tools and equipment will open young minds (and those of their mentors) to new interests and abilities in the world of STEM.
Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance Final Proposal
Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance Site Visit Report

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Sweetwater SpectrumSweetwater Spectrum
$15,000 for Enrichment Farm at Sweetwater Spectrum
Sweetwater Spectrum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring, building, and evaluating an innovative housing model for the thousands of adults with autism who want to live safely in the community of their choice. The site in Sonoma provides a unique enrichment program that connects residents to the community at large – one that fosters both individual choice and community engagement in order to provide a life with purpose for the residents. The program includes a 1.2 acre farm that not only provides opportunities to learn workplace skills, but also integrates the residents with the Sonoma community through sales at the farm stands and produce deliveries. While the architecture of the housing and buildings at Sweetwater incorporates many autism-specific design features, the farm does not. Sweetwater Spectrum requests $15,000 for structural changes that include sensory spaces, more predictable geometric pathways, and raised beds – all autism-specific designs that better meet the needs of the residents and will increase their involvement at the farm.
Why this program?  The structural changes proposed will provide design features that will enable Sweetwater residents to more fully participate in farm activities and benefit from the skills and interactions they offer.
Sweetwater Spectrum Final Proposal
Sweetwater Spectrum Site Visit Report

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Collaboration:

Ceres Community Project Logo 2015 copyCeres Community Project
$15,000 for Strengthening Collaborations to Improve Outcomes
The Ceres mission is to create healthier people and a healthier planet by strengthening connections to local, sustainably-raised food, strengthening social connections within our community, and empowering the next generation. This project aims to create stronger collaborations between Sonoma Valley Hospital, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center, Redwood Empire Food Bank, and Ceres to improve patient outcomes after they have been released from a hospital stay by addressing critical nutritional needs. This nutritional deficit has been documented by hospital staff. Ceres will lead a series of meetings with the three partner organizations to determine how to better coordinate efforts in providing nutrition education and food access for low-income residents of Sonoma Valley who are struggling because of a recent health challenge. The goal is to identify and prioritize key areas of need and to design and carry out an eight to ten-week pilot program to work on shared referrals and delivery of services. Ceres will also meet with various teen-service providers to identify opportunities for work-based learning experiences in culinary and health services.
Why this program? This planning grant, led by Ceres, integrates each of the organization’s core missions to reduce hospital re-admissions and to improve health outcomes for families and future generations.
Ceres Community Project Final Proposal
Ceres Community Project Site Visit Report

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Innovation:

4Paws4Paws
$2,200 for Sonoma Trainings
4Paws is an innovative certification training to provide canine social therapy teams (a dog owner and his/her dog) to be used in (1) healthcare to provide patients with comfort, relief from stress, hope and healing, a feeling of relevance, and the motivation to interact with others; and (2) educational arenas to assist children struggling with reading by providing a nonjudgmental listener (the dog), which builds confidence and self-esteem in the children. 4Paws requests $2,200 to conduct two training sessions to increase the number of canine social therapy teams in Sonoma. They will provide two 2-day trainings to certify 16 to 20 teams who will then volunteer in Sonoma Valley. Both Sonoma Valley Hospital and the Sonoma Development Center have large unmet needs for such services. In addition, 4Paws will offer an in-service to the district’s K-3rd grade teachers to help determine the needs of the schools and show teachers how using therapy dogs in their classroom can improve their students’ reading skills and comprehension.
Why this program?  This innovative, professional certification program has a proven track record of success, and additional canine social therapy teams will address the waiting list for 4Paws services in Sonoma Valley.
4Paws Full Proposal
4Paws Site Visit Report

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ArtescapeArts Guild of Sonoma
$15,000 for Where Can Van Gogh?
Since 2012, Arts Guild of Sonoma (AGS) has offered arts education programming for over 2,000 Sonoma Valley residents through the ARTescape community outreach program in Boyes Hot Springs. Arts education intervention is critical not only in removing the barrier of cultural and community isolation, but also in bringing together children of diverse backgrounds to work creatively and collectively. Over 74% of low-income youth who participate in arts education perform better in school and have higher aspirations for post-secondary education. Unfortunately these youth often find it difficult to access art programs. To address this problem, AGS has acquired a van to bring art experiences to the schools rather than having students travel to an art space. AGS requests $15,000 to expand their current Flowery School program (serving 100 students) with the van as a mobile arts education studio that will make 30 visits to four elementary schools (Flowery, Dunbar, El Verano, and Sassarini) and provide school-based arts education for up to 1,448 Sonoma Valley K-5 students.
Why this program?  Bringing art directly to the schools will enable an exponential increase of the ARTEscape’s professionally–led art programs to reach more elementary school students.
Arts Guild of Sonoma Full Proposal
Arts Guild of Sonoma Site Visit Report

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Community Matters SebastopolCommunity Matters
$15,000 for Sonoma Valley Safer School Climates
Bullying, harassment, and cyber-bullying are on the rise. These issues create a negative school climate that interferes with learning, consumes valuable resources, and makes schools less safe for students. Safe School Ambassadors (SSA) is an evidenced-based, early-intervention program that is in place in hundreds of schools across the country. The program is student-centered and has proven to change the culture and climate of schools by engaging students as peace-makers and agents of change. It has been effectively implemented at Adele Harrison and Alta Mira Middle Schools, where students from all backgrounds participate in a two-day training session with adults to learn communication and conflict resolution skills. Currently the SSA program is an annual expense for these two schools. Community Matters is requesting $15,000 to support the training of four to six staff from the schools to learn how to implement the SSA program on their own. This “training the trainers” model will institutionalize SSA at the two schools and enable its continuation following the grant period.
Why this program?  By increasing student self-awareness and confidence, this sustainable program will drastically change not only the school’s culture against negative behaviors (bullying, etc.), but also students’ attitudes for life.
Community Matters Full Proposal
Community Matters Site Visit Report

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Girl Scouts of Northern CaliforniaGirl Scouts of Northern California
$15,000 for Girls Go Tech in Sonoma Valley
Girl Scouts’ mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. That includes a place at the table in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology (STEM) careers. Unfortunately, despite their interest in STEM, girls perceive gender barriers and lack learn-by-doing experiences. GSNorCal requests $15,000 to expand their pilot STEM program at Sassarini Elementary School to reach 80 girls, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scouting or a STEM-extended learning program. The program targets Flowery, El Verano, Dunbar, and Sassarini Elementary Schools. These schools serve a population of 71-73 percent Latino, which supports GSNorCal’s Latina Initiative to expand Girl Scouting to girls in Latino communities. Each girl will participate in a 90-minute, after-school activity session for fifteen weeks and attend a Family Showcase and field trip or role model visit, totaling over twenty hours of active STEM learning. The STEM program teaches girls to be confident team players and problem solvers, willing to try new things.
Why this program?  This will bring an impressive, proven, and successful STEM program to Sonoma Valley that is designed specifically for young girls and boasts a strong Latina outreach component.
Girl Scouts of Northern California Full Proposal
Girl Scouts of Northern California Site Visit Report

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new-Jack_London-logo (1)Jack London Park Partners
$15,000 for Environmental Restoration and Education
One strategic focus for Jack London State Park is to “maintain the park’s natural resources in ways that become teaching tools to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards.” Invasive species removal is critical in this effort to maintain future ecological integrity of the park and is well-suited as an expansion project of the Teen to Trails program funded by Impact100 in 2014. Jack London Park Partners (JLPP) requests $15,000 to support the work of three work parties scheduled each month (April through November) to remove invasives in assigned locations. JLPP will train 150 volunteer trail monitors in the use of pocket cards that contain illustrations of the six target invasives and a brief explanation of their impact. Volunteers will be asked to take photographs of invasives and ID their location for follow up inspection by crew leaders. In addition, an eight-week summer program will be organized for at-risk youth in specific restoration projects such as historic orchard stabilization, meadow clearing and native oak protection.
Why this program?  Building on the success of the Teens to Trails program, JLPP will further integrate the participants’ work/leadership skill training and science education into the mission of the park.
Jack London Park Partners Full Proposal
Jack London Park Partners Site Visit Report

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La LuzLa Luz Center
$15,000 for Employment Services & Computer Literacy Program for Adults
It is easy to take technology for granted, but not for most Latino residents in the Springs area of Sonoma Valley. Computer literacy (to search and apply for jobs as well as for job requirements) and employment services are two critical components to ensure that these most vulnerable Latino members of our community develop into productive, skilled, and hirable residents. La Luz Center (LLC) offers four 10-week workshops to help adults learn basic and intermediate computer skills. Participants also receive one-on-one training, counseling, and advice on finding employment. A computer lab is available for use during the week, as most individuals do not have computer access at home. LLC requests $15,000 to expand the current program to El Verano Community School to reach 80 additional low-income Sonoma Valley Latino adults. They will provide them with computer literacy and employment support. LCC has recently created job boards at El Verano Community School and at La Luz to help maximize opportunities for more than 9,200 families.
Why this program?  This expanded program provides participants with increased confidence in their technology skills and/or ability to find employment and be more competitive in the Sonoma County labor market.
La Luz Center Full Proposal
La Luz Center Site Visit Report

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VerityVerity
$15,000 for Youth Empowerment and Support (YES)
Verity strives to empower youth, both male and female, to prevent sexual assault from occurring to themselves or to others. Sonoma Valley youth have limited access to accurate and bilingual information about sexual assault and harassment or to related health and social services. Lack of access increases the risks that they will depend on unreliable sources for information such as social media and uninformed word of mouth. Verity requests $15,000 to return the Youth Empowerment and Support (YES) project to elementary, middle and high schools in Sonoma Valley. This will include 90 presentations equaling an estimated 180 hours to an estimated 600 students. YES provides accurate information on various forms of sexual violence (including incest and rape); encourages a social environment that does not tolerate sexual violence in any form; and helps youth understand the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships. Bilingual presentations offer the opportunity to pose anonymous questions, and should questions raise a concern that a child may be suffering abuse, the information is passed along to initiate some form of intervention.
Why this program?  Sexual violence is present in the Valley, but seldom discussed and often unaddressed. This program provides critical education and support for young victims so they are not alone in dealing with the trauma.
Verity Full Proposal
Verity Site Visit Report

 

To view the list of finalists for the Impact Grant, just click HERE.

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