IMPACT TIMES FIVE: Reflecting on our journey from 2009 – 2013

It was not unusual for two friends to walk and chat about whatever crossed their minds, but in the summer of 2008, one particular conversation between Annette Lomont and Christine Dohrmann started in motion a whirlwind philanthropic journey that neither could have anticipated.  Both women were already deeply involved in local philanthropy and looking at other Impact100 models across the country, it seemed perfectly do-able to replicate such an organization in the valley.  Surely there must be 100 women in Sonoma who could join together to truly make an impact. They worked out a few “details,” talked Mollie Collins into joining them, and as Annette said, “OK, now we only have to find 97 more!”  And they most certainly did as 110 Sonoma women became founding members of the newly established Impact100 Sonoma in 2009.

Christine-and-annette-200x300When asked to reflect on what has been accomplished in such a short time, Annette and Christine responded: We are so proud and grateful that so many local women recognized the power of collective giving and joined Impact to make a difference in our community. At a time when many grants are thin and marginally effective, Impact’s grants are becoming ever more important in creating positive change.  As we start our fifth year we hope more women will join with us in helping deserving nonprofit groups in the Sonoma Valley.

As an organization, we have much to celebrate.  Last year we numbered 228 members with a consistent retention rate of more than 80%.  In only four years we have awarded $690,000 in grants to 32 nonprofits in the Sonoma Valley (see full list below).  We have supported programs that help teens prepare for college or for new careers, young children to achieve academic success, and the elderly to live with dignity. We have helped to increase access to books, improve facilities for the homeless, support strategies for those suffering from grief, and educate parents of at-risk youth.  Our grants have increased awareness of the arts and the importance of caring for our environment.  We have provided funding to those who care for the health and safety of others, who mentor our youth, and who provide food for the hungry.

It is extraordinary to think of the lives we have impacted.  Dave Pier, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley reflected on the impact of our initial $100,000 grant that they were awarded in 2010.
Gand B clubReceiving the inaugural Impact100 Sonoma grant not only launched our College Bound program with a scale and depth that would not otherwise have been possible, it lent an instant validation of the Boys & Girls Club as a key service provider in the Sonoma Valley.  In addition, the continued community exposure and recognition in relation to the grant has carried forward with many positive benefits to the Club.  Most importantly, the impact of the grant exceeded the initial outcome goals including life changing opportunities for our graduates, and helped form the foundation for the continued success of the Teen Services and College Bound program at the Boys & Girls Club.

In addition, as individuals we have made life-long friends, learned more about our community, and discovered our own strengths, passions, and ability to make a difference.  As an organization we are continuing to grow and to evolve to further meet the needs of our community and respond to the interests of our members.  During the 2013/14 grant cycle, we will take the time to continue to celebrate our achievements, but we will also provide the opportunity for reflection among the nonprofits that we serve and among the members of Impact100.  These reflections will guide us as we continue to move our organization forward and continue to impact our community.



June 2010:
$100,000 Impact Grant to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley in support of their College Bound program
$2,500 to each of the four finalists: WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center , Social Advocates for Youth (SAY) , Sonoma Valley Museum of Art,  and Sonoma Ecology Center

May 2011:
$100,000 Impact Grant to Sonoma Valley Teen Services in support of their Skills for Life program
Community Grants as follows:
–      $15,000 to FISH: Clothing Room Improvement
–      $15,000 to Women’s Initiative for Self EmploymentMicro-Enterprise Training
–      $9,000 to Sonoma Valley Community Health Center: New Equipment
–      $7,500 to Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance: Girls Empowerment Fund
–      $7,000 to Sonoma Valley: Electricity for Garden Park
–      $3,500 to Sebastiani Theatre: Fire door replacement 

June 2012:
$100,000 Impact Grant to
$13,375 to each of the two finalists: Sonoma Community Center and Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance
Community Grants as follows:
–      $15,000 to FISH: Facility Improvement Project
–      $15,000 to California Parenting Institute: Parent Education & Counseling for High Risk Families
–      $15,000 to 10,000 Degrees/Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance/Sonoma Valley Education Foundation: Planning a College-Going Culture Program
–      $11,000 to Sonoma Overnight Shelter: Facility Improvement of the Homeless Shelter
–      $9,000 to WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center: On-the-Go Grief Support Kits for Children
–      $3,250 to Sonoma County Free Bookmobile: Development of Neighborhood Libraries

June 2013:
$100,000 Impact Grant to Sonoma Valley Education Foundation in support of SmartStart: Preschool for All in Sonoma Valley
$20,000 to each of the two finalists: Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation and WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center
Community Grants as follows:
–      $15,000 to Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley in collaboration with the City of Sonoma Police/Sonoma County Sheriff, SAY & La Luz: Deterring Gang Proliferation Through Increased Prevention Collaborative
–      $15,000 to On the Move/VOICES Sonoma: My Life Youth Transition Program: Sonoma Valley
–      $15,000 to Ceres Community Project: Healing Meals for Healthy Communities
–      $15,000 to Redwood Empire Food Bank: Sonoma Valley Food Distribution Hub
–      $15,000 to California Parenting Institute: Gang Prevention Parent          Support Services
–      $8,500 to Hospice by the Bay: A Home Away from Home Hospice Suite
–      $5,000 to Becoming Independent: Healthy Living Classes
–      $3,000 to Literary Arts Guild – Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County: Free Bookmobile Vehicle Shelter