Impact100 Sonoma announces 2014 grant finalists

We are excited to share with you the 3 finalists for our $100,000 Impact Grant and the 15 finalists for Community Grants.  Impact100 Sonoma will award its annual $100,000 Impact Grant on June 21st to one of the following nonprofit organizations serving Sonoma Valley:

  • Redwood Empire Food Bank, in partnership with Sonoma Valley Community Health Clinic, proposes to expand its Diabetes Wellness Project to address needs of low-income adults living with diabetes in Sonoma by providing monitoring supplies, educational materials, wellness food boxes, and group clinics.
  • Sonoma Land Trust, in partnership with the Parent Hospital Association and the Sonoma Ecology Center, proposes a grassroots planning process engaging the Sonoma Valley community and all stakeholders in developing a “blueprint” for the future use of the Sonoma Development Center and its surrounding 900 acre property.
  • Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance proposes Mentor 100, an innovative group mentoring program that will engage at least 45 qualified adults to serve as group mentors for 100 at-risk Sonoma Valley youth in grades 4-7.

During the 2013-2014 grant cycle, 239 women joined Impact100 Sonoma, enabling a total of $239,000 to be awarded in grant funds this year.  As a result, in addition to the $100,000 Impact grant, the remaining finalists will each receive $20,000, and a total of $99,000 will be awarded in Community Grants, ranging in size up to $15,000.  Community grant awardees focusing on innovation, collaboration, or capital needs will also be announced at the June 21st annual meeting.  Finalists in each of these categories are:

Capital Needs: 

  • Sonoma Community Center requests $5,000 to replace existing kiln shelves in order to maximize capacity and accommodate more ceramics studio members each year.
  • Sonoma Valley Community Health Center requests $13,000 to purchase equipment for its dental clinic that provides services to pediatric and prenatal patients and low-income families.
  • Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance requests $15,000 to install STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-related learning tools and equipment at each Mentor Center to expand mentored youth’s STEM knowledge.
  • Sonoma Valley Teen Services requests $15,000 to install a walk-in refrigerator needed to expand The Lovin’ Oven work space, services, and products.


  • Ceres Community Project requests $15,000 to expand their current Healing Meals for Healthy Communities “proof of concept” pilot to a full program in Sonoma Valley.
  • Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH), in collaboration with Sonoma Overnight Shelter, requests $14,000 to implement a severe weather shelter for the homeless of the Sonoma Valley and a survey to assess their needs.
  • Girl Scouts of Northern California requests $15,000 to involve 80 new girls, primarily from Sonoma’s Latina community, in Girl Scouting and support 20 bilingual adult leaders and volunteers.
  • Sonoma Overnight Support requests $15,000 to expand its “drop-in” services and support for a growing number of homeless and other at-risk individuals and families seeking help.
  • Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance requests $15,000 to involve girls in grades 6-9, and their mentors, in exploring opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
  • Jack London Park, in collaboration with Hanna Boys Center, requests $15,000 for a pilot program to employ at-risk teens in an 8-week summer program of vocationally linked, outdoor-based, trail restoration work days.
  • Vintage House requests $15,000 to assess transportation needs of non-driving seniors, pinpoint the target market, and define a business model for implementation.

Planning for Strategic Partnering/Collaboration: 

  • On the Move requests $15,000 to gather information in preparation for developing a “parent university”–a parent education program designed for low-income, English-learning families.  Partners include:  Sonoma Valley Unified School District, El Verano Elementary School, El Verano and Sassarini Preschools, La Luz Family Resource Center.
  • Pets Lifeline, in partnership with Vintage House and Sonoma Valley Teen Services, requests $5,000 for a feasibility study to implement an animal assisted therapy program for those isolated and alone or suffering a chronic illness or emotional crisis.
  • Sonoma Ecology Center requests $15,000 to develop a 10-year plan to achieve a “Sustainable Sonoma,” by linking existing organizational efforts focusing on health, land use, water, and tourism.   Partners include Sonoma Valley Visitor’s Bureau and Sonoma Valley Healthcare District.
  • Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, in partnership with Vintage House, requests $15,000 to conduct senior focus groups to provide information for developing art programs for the 65+ community, focusing on the low income or physically/cognitively challenged.

In February, Impact100 Sonoma received a total of 42 Letters of Inquiry (LOI) from Sonoma Valley nonprofit organizations interested in applying for the $100,000 annual Impact Grant and smaller Community Grants.  Impact100 Sonoma grant committee members reviewed the LOIs, and the organization invited 4 nonprofits to submit full proposals for the $100,000 Impact Grant and 22 organizations to submit full proposals for Community Grants.  The finalists were selected after months of careful review by more than 60 Impact100 Sonoma members serving on grant review committees.

Grace Meeks, who chairs the selection process for the $100,000 Impact Grant, said, “I am pleased with the variety of proposals that are moving forward as finalists for the Impact Grant.  With such great options, it will be interesting to see which program our membership selects.” Lorraine Ashton, Chair of Community Grants, commented, “Once again, Impact100 Sonoma received a number of very impressive proposals for Community Grants.  Committee members, who have worked conscientiously and diligently over many months, have chosen strong and deserving finalists for our membership vote.  Just wish we could fund them all!” Constance Grizzell, Vice President of Grants and Greater Impact added, “The grant review committees are composed of an extraordinary group of women. Their efforts in selecting the finalists have been rigorous and thorough.  Each year I am inspired by and proud to be part of this amazing organization.”

At the June 21st Annual Meeting of the Impact100 Sonoma membership, each Impact Grant finalist will present a vision for how the $100,000 grant would impact its organization and the community. A vote of the entire 239 members of Impact100 Sonoma will determine the one nonprofit to receive the $100,000 Impact Grant. The presentations, a reception, and the announcement of both Impact and Community Grant awards will take place at Hanna Boys Center’s Auditorium and is open to all Impact100 Sonoma members and invited guests.  The meeting is sponsored by North Bay Insurance, The Red Grape, Idell Family Vineyards, Laura Chenel Chevre, Walter & Pistole Attorneys at Law, Hanna Boys Center, Debbie Drummond Information Technology Specialties, and Impact100’s 2014 Major Underwriter Union Bank.

Impact100 Sonoma is a philanthropic organization started in August 2009 that brings together at least 100 women in a common purpose: to award an Impact Grant of $100,000 every year to a Sonoma Valley nonprofit organization that would otherwise not have access to that level of funding. The organization’s mission is to increase the number of women involved in local philanthropy, raise awareness of the unmet needs of nonprofits in Sonoma Valley, encourage members to become more involved with local charities, and make an impact on the long term sustainability of Sonoma Valley’s nonprofit community. Previous winners of the $100,000 Impact Grant include: the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley (2010) for its College Bound program, Sonoma Valley Teen Services’ Skills for Life program (2011), La Luz Center for its Strengthening Families & the Community program (2012), and the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation in support of a new preschool at Sassarini Elementary School (2013).

We congratulate our finalists and thank all of the Members who have made this selection process run so smoothly.  Special thanks go to Constance Grizzell, Chair Grants & Greater Impact; Grace Meeks, who chairs the selection process for the $100,000 Impact Grant; and Lorraine Ashton, Chair of Community Grants.   We also wish to thank the following Members who chaired grants review committees: Kathleen Leonard, Susan McQuaid, Elsa Nelson, Karen Roche, Diana Sanson, Erin Selby, and Meg Sokoloski.