Impact100 Sonoma Awards $100,000 Grant to the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation

SVEF with check smallOn June 22, Impact100 Sonoma awarded its fourth $100,000 grant to the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation to fund its program – Smart Start: Preschool for All in Sonoma Valley.  As the winner was announced, cheers and applause filled the auditorium of Hanna Boys Center where more than 200 Impact100 Sonoma members and guests gathered to hear presentations from the Impact100 Grant finalists, await the tallying of the membership votes, and share in the excitement of the day at a celebratory reception.

During the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation presentation, Executive Director Laura Zimmerman shared some eye-opening statistics: “Fifty-five percent of our young children in Sonoma speak no English on their first day of school – What does that feel like for a child?”  The $100,000 Impact grant will provide funding for a new preschool at Sassarini School modeled after the current highly successful program at El Verano School. The grant will allow 48 at-risk young children to successfully transition to kindergarten with necessary school readiness skills and better prepare them for school success.

This year, 228 women joined Impact100 Sonoma, providing a total of $228,000 to be awarded to selected Sonoma Valley nonprofits. This enabled the organization to award $20,000 to both Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation and WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center as finalists for the $100,000 grant and the remaining funds for Community Grants, ranging in size from $3,000 to $15,000. The following nonprofit organizations were the recipients of these Community Grants:

Boys and Girls Clubs Sonoma ValleyBoys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley, in collaboration with the City of Sonoma Police/Sonoma County Sheriff, Social Advocates for Youth, and La Luz, will receive $15,000 to develop a collaborative action plan and coordinated effort focusing on gang prevention. More info: 

VoicesOn the Move/VOICES Sonoma will receive $15,000 to assist under-served youth (16-24), who are transitioning out of foster care, enabling them to move into self-sufficient life.   More info

BookmobileLiterary Arts Guild – Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County will receive $3,000 to purchase and install a galvanized steel vehicle shelter to house and protect the bookmobile.  More info

Ceres Community ProjectCeres Community Project will receive $15,000 to provide meals for seriously ill patients. Teens will work with chefs in the new kitchen at Hanna Boys Center to prepare the meals.  More info

Redwood Empire Food BankRedwood Empire Food Bank will receive $15,000 to establish a Hub Distribution model improving access to affordable food for local nonprofits dealing with hunger-relief in Sonoma Valley.  More info

California Parenting InstituteCalifornia Parenting Institute will receive $15,000 to provide Gang Prevention Parent Support Services at La Luz for Spanish-speaking parents of middle-school children. More info

Becoming IndependentBecoming Independent will receive $5,000 to expand their Healthy Living class, which helps teach adults with developmental disabilities how to lead a healthy life.  More info

Hospice By The BayHospice by the Bay will receive $8,500 to support a “Home Away From Home” Hospice Suite within the Sonoma Valley Hospital’s skilled nursing facility. More info


Impact100 Sonoma President B.J. Bischoff opened the meeting by welcoming members and guests, thanking our sponsors, the board, and all of the Impact100 Sonoma members who participated in the grant review process. Over the past five months, VP Grants & Greater Impact Constance Grizzell, Impact100 Grant Chair Patti England, and Community Grants Chair Lorraine Ashton led the process of narrowing 45 initial letters of inquiry down to 7 nonprofits invited to apply for the $100,000 Impact Grant and 18 organizations invited to apply for Community Grants. The 3 Impact Grant finalists and 13 Community Grants finalists were selected after careful review by more than 80 Impact100 Sonoma members who served on financial and grant review committees, chaired by Celia Canfield, Sharon Delaney, Carrie Fogg, Nancy Lilly, Louise Massie, Susan McQuaid, Grace Meeks, Elsa Lane Nelson, Karen Roche, and Erin Selby.

Prior to the grant presentations, Juan Hernandez, Executive Director of La Luz, recalled the emotions the previous year when La Luz received the $100,000 Impact grant.  Labeling the grant as “the big enchilada’” Hernandez described how La Luz has been able to leverage the funds with additional grants that will truly help to build the future of La Luz and thanked “the ladies of Impact100 Sonoma for their commitment to our community and the people in need.”

The Annual Meeting was underwritten by Union Bank and sponsored by The Red Grape, Carneros Caves Cheese, Charles Creek Vineyard, Madrone Ridge Winery, Walter & Pistole Attorneys at Law, Hanna Boys Center, Trish Roque Design, and Debbie Drummond Information Technology Specialties.  Hors d’oeuvres were prepared and served by students from the Sonoma Valley Teen Services Skills for Life program, the 2011 recipient of the Impact100 Sonoma $100,000 grant.

For additional photos of the Annual Meeting, just click HERE.