Reflecting on Our Impact: The Annual Holiday Party

Quite honestly, without the Impact 100 Grant and hands-on support from so many of the members, Sonoma Valley Teen Services might not still be here today… Cristin Lawrence, Executive Director, SVTS

The cold snap was no deterrent to the many members and guests who attended the Impact100 Sonoma Annual Holiday Party December 12 at Vintage House, celebrating the start of the fifth year supporting community organizations in Sonoma Valley.

ImpactXmasWeb24Impact100 Sonoma President, Sydney Randazzo opened the meeting by introducing the current board;  thanking the sponsors for the event:  Impact member Brenda Buckerfield, Basque Boulangerie Café, Barbed Oak Vineyards, Carneros Caves, Madrone Ridge, and Impact100’s major underwriter, Union Bank; and providing special recognition to our founders: Christine Dohrmann and Annette Lomont.  She then passed the mic over to Grace Meeks, chair of Impact Grants, who introduced representatives of the past four years’ Impact $100,000 grant winners, each of whom shared what the grants have done for their organizations:

Dave PierExecutive Director Dave Pier of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley said they had just started their outreach when they received the first Impact Grant in 2010 for their College Bound program. “The ability to have $100,000 allowed us to think much bigger. College Bound helps kids dream about college and see it through as a reality.”  Because of Impact100, the program went from 0 to 300 kids and more than ninety graduates from the program have gone on to college.

ImpactXmasWeb21Sonoma Valley Teen Services’ Skills for Life program received the $100,000 Impact Grant in 2011.  Serving 500 teens a day by teaching basic employment skills, the organization continues to operate the teen-run No Name Café, sold 500 pies this Thanksgiving through its Lovin’ Oven teen-run bakery, and sold 14 bicycles through its Operation Bicycle.  “’Thank You’ doesn’t come close enough…we scored big time when we got your vote,” said Cristin Lawrence, Executive Director of Sonoma Valley Teen Services.  She also announced that the program has placed 16 teens in jobs in the community.

ImpactXmasWeb22La Luz Executive Director, Juan Hernandez and colleagues Sharon Somogyi, Office Manager and Board Chair, Claudia Mendoza-Carruth, were on hand at the holiday celebration to thank Impact100 Sonoma for the 2012 $100,000 Impact grant. La Luz is dedicated to helping immigrants succeed in Sonoma Valley and the grant provided a “stronger support system and double support for parenting, depression, domestic violence, and also provided seed money for a new building.”  Recently the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors awarded La Luz the prestigious 2013 Jefferson Award for Public Service. “Thank you Impact100 for relentless support.  Come visit!” Director Hernandez added.

ImpactXmasWeb23The latest $100,000 Impact Grant went to the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, in support of their Smart Start pre-school program.   SVEF Executive Director Laura Zimmerman said, “The minute we got the grant, things changed.” She went on to share that in a matter of weeks the Impact100 Preschool for All Classrooms at Sassarini Elementary School will open, helping at-risk children make the move to Kindergarten with necessary skills to continue their education. She added that more parents are now turning up at meetings to find out how they and their children can take advantage of the pre-school education program.

ImpactXmasWeb20Grace Meeks recalled four years of Impact100 Grant Finalists: WillMar Family Grief and Healing Center and Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation (2013); Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and Sonoma Community Center (2012); Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma Ecology Center, Social Advocates for Youth (SAY). and WillMar Family Grief and Healing Center (2010).

ImpactXmasWeb25Lorraine Ashton, chair of Community Grants introduced the grant winners over the past four years.  2013: Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, Becoming Independent, California Parenting Institute, Ceres Community Project, Hospice by the Bay, On the Move/VOICES, Redwood Empire Food Bank, and Bookmobile/Literary Arts Guild; 2012: 10,000 Degrees, Bookmobile/Literary Arts Guild, California Parenting Institute, Friends in Sonoma Helping (F.I.S.H.), Sonoma Overnight Support, WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center;  2011: Friends in Sonoma Helping (F.I.S.H.), Sonoma Ecology Center, Sonoma Valley Health Care Center, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Women’s Initiative for Self-Employment (WISE), Sebastiani Theater Foundation.


Concluding the presentations, Ann Reder, Membership Chair, reminded everyone that December 31 is the deadline to renew or become a new member of Impact100 for 2014, which also means the ability to vote for the grant recipients at the June 2014 Impact100 Annual Meeting.  In closing, Sydney Randazzo provided a good reason to do so, raising a glass to announce that to date Impact100 Sonoma has contributed $690,000 to Sonoma Valley nonprofits in Sonoma Valley, and we have only just begun.


Photos and text provided by Impact100 member, Pat Meier-Johnson

For a summary of all Impact100 Sonoma grants awarded, please click here.

With thanks to our sponsors:

Thank you to our 2013 Major Underwriter