Community Foundation Sonoma County and its affiliate, the Sonoma Valley Fund, have announced the second round of grants from the Roland and Hazel Todd Trust. The Todds entrusted the Community Foundation to steward their legacy, to improve the quality of life and well-being of those living in Sonoma Valley and Sonoma County, more generally. A team of Community Foundation board members and community leaders completed its consideration of a series of short-term grants intended to respond to immediate needs in the Sonoma Valley. When combined with the Todd Trust grants awarded in May, Community Foundation Sonoma County will have committed just under $300,000 to supporting services to Springs residents for the next year. Below are details of the most recent grants:
The Sonoma Valley Adult School has operated since the 1930s and provided ESL classes for years. However, due to funding shortages in the school district, the Adult School was to be closed permanently, thus ending ESL classes. Without ESL classes accessible to Valley residents, especially to those living in the Springs, there will be no way for residents to learn English so they can find employment or access community services. The Community Foundation grant of $71,100 to La Luz allows them to continue providing ESL instruction in the Springs and will provide support for one year to two multiple-section classes.
The presence or absence of third grade literacy competency has been directly linked to increased risk of arrest and jailing or imprisonment for young adults. Our local United Way has found a very effective model of tutoring students, starting in the first grade, to ensure that they can read at grade level by the end of third grade. The program is called Schools of Hope and is currently being piloted in nine schools in Sonoma, Mendocino and Del Norte counties. This grant of $42,300 will provide one year of partial funding to start SOH programs in each of five Sonoma Valley elementary schools.
Sonoma Valley Education Foundation
This grant to the Education Foundation will close a $3,200 shortfall in funding a new third grade Summer Reading Academy being piloted at El Verano School. The Summer Academy is designed to increase reading proficiency for “rising” third graders.