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Big day for Sonoma Valley nonprofits

Posted on June 11, 2018 by Sonoma Valley Sun
La Luz Center receives the Impact100 Sonoma 2018 $100,000 Impact Grant award to fund its Computer Literacy and Employment Services program. From left to right: Claudia Sims, Grants Oversight Chair, Judith Walsh, Co-President, Marcelo Defreitas, Board Chair of La Luz, Gera Vaz, Co-President, Juan Hernandez, La Luz Executive Director, Mary Jane Stolte, Impact Grant Chair, Lynne Lancaster, Co-President.
La Luz Center receives the Impact100 Sonoma 2018 $100,000 Impact Grant award to fund its Computer Literacy and Employment Services program. From left to right: Claudia Sims, Grants Oversight Chair, Judith Walsh, Co-President, Marcelo Defreitas, Board Chair of La Luz, Gera Vaz, Co-President, Juan Hernandez, La Luz Executive Director, Mary Jane Stolte, Impact Grant Chair, Lynne Lancaster, Co-President.

Impact100 Sonoma awarded its yearly $100,000 Impact Grant to La Luz Center, and made a total of $186,000 in grants to ten other local nonprofits, at its ninth annual awards celebration Saturday at Hanna Boys Center.

The large grant will fund the Computer Literacy and Employment Services program at La Luz, one of three finalists for the grant, which was decided by a vote of Impact100 members. The two other finalists were Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and Sustainable Sonoma, which each received unrestricted grants of $10,000.

Impact100 Co-President Lynne Lancaster told an enthusiastic crowd that 2018 saw a record number of 305 women participate, providing $305,000, plus an additional $1,000 given by a member in the aftermath of the 2017 fires, for a total of $306,000 in available grant money.

Co-President Gera Vaz said, “With this grant season we have provided the nonprofits in our community over $2,000,000 in nine short years. We are so proud that we’re seeing the results of our efforts make a difference in our community.”

Recipients of Community Grants of up to $20,000 celebrate their awards. Back row left to right: Debra Garber, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, Cindy Vrooman, Sonoma Overnight Support, Diana Rhoten, Sebastiani Theatre Foundation, Terri Miller, Cancer Support Sonoma, Bob Bales, Kenwood Education Foundation, Kristina Ellis, Jack London Park Partners. Front row left to right: John Gurney, Sonoma Community Center, Priscilla Essert, Vintage house, Josh Kraft, Becoming Independent.
Recipients of Community Grants of up to $20,000 celebrate their awards. Back row left to right: Debra Garber, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, Cindy Vrooman, Sonoma Overnight Support, Diana Rhoten, Sebastiani Theatre Foundation, Terri Miller, Cancer Support Sonoma, Bob Bales, Kenwood Education Foundation, Kristina Ellis, Jack London Park Partners. Front row left to right: John Gurney, Sonoma Community Center, Priscilla Essert, Vintage house, Josh Kraft, Becoming Independent.

Ten Community Grants were awarded to the following nonprofit organizations:

  • Becoming Independent – $20,000 to increase their per-client dollar amount to $150/day and to help fund/expand client-selected activities such as field trips, classes, supplies and activities.
  • Cancer Support of Sonoma – $20,000 for the Patient Assistance Fund to help clients dealing with cancer to receive low-fee beneficial complementary therapies that are rarely covered by insurance.
  • Jack London Park Partners – $15,970 to expand the successful pilot program that offers an in-depth investigation of ecosystem dynamics and bio-diversity to all Sonoma Valley 7th graders in fall 2018.
  • Kenwood Education Foundation – $20,000 to fund KID’s (Kenwood Investing in Dynamic Students) student enrichment programs for the 2018-19 school year after the fires prematurely ended the annual KIDS fundraising campaign and all existing funds were, instead, given to fire victims in the community.
  • Redwood Empire Food Bank – $20,000 to provide more than 133,300 pounds of fresh produce to food insecure neighbors in Sonoma Valley.

Sebastiani Theatre Foundation – $20,000 to fund 83 scholarships for Latino youth of low-income families to attend Sebastiani’s after-school and summer performing arts camps.

  • Sonoma Community Center – $20,000 to upgrade aged and outdated safety features, and increase accessibility, in the historic 102-year-old building.
  • Sonoma Overnight Support – $20,000 to expand its free Day Services program to meet increased demand, and prevent it from having to cut back its hours.
  • Sonoma Valley Education Foundation – $20,000 to support the expansion, from 50+ to 100 Kindergarten – 12th grade students, of ViVO, an after-school and summer professional music instruction and orchestra program that serves many at-risk socio-economically disadvantaged youth.
  • Vintage House – $20,000 to fund an external study of the Sonoma Valley senior population to determine their current and future needs in order to inform Vintage House’s future programs and services.

Since the founding of Impact100 Sonoma in 2009 the organization has awarded $2,062,000 dollars to nonprofits serving Sonoma Valley, making it one of the community’s largest supporters of nonprofits.

Next year, in celebration of its tenth anniversary, in addition to the annual $100,000 Impact Grant and Community Grants of up to $20,000, Impact100 Sonoma will award a special one-time unrestricted $50,000 grant

“Impact100 Sonoma has tremendous momentum going into our tenth anniversary year,” Vaz said.

The grant process began five months ago, Claudia Sims (Grants Oversight), Mary Jane Stolte (Impact Grant), Margaret Grandy (Community Grants), and Lynne Lancaster (Grants Review Committees/Co-President) led the process of narrowing 23 original applications down to three finalists for the $100,000 Impact Grant and 14 finalists for Community Grants.

Impact100 Sonoma awarded its $100,000 Impact Grant to La Luz Center and two $10,000 Impact Grant Finalist awards to Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and Sustainable Sonoma. From left to right: Mary Jane Stolte, Impact Grant Chair, Lee Morgan Brown, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Juan Hernandez, La Luz Center, Caitlin Cornwall, Sustainable Sonoma, Claudia Sims, Grants Oversight Chair.
Impact100 Sonoma awarded its $100,000 Impact Grant to La Luz Center and two $10,000 Impact Grant Finalist awards to Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and Sustainable Sonoma. From left to right: Mary Jane Stolte, Impact Grant Chair, Lee Morgan Brown, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Juan Hernandez, La Luz Center, Caitlin Cornwall, Sustainable Sonoma, Claudia Sims, Grants Oversight Chair.

The finalists were selected after careful review by more than 80 Impact100 Sonoma members who served on financial and grant review committees. The grant recipients were selected by a vote of the entire Impact100 Sonoma membership.

Impact100 Sonoma is a collective grant-making organization. Its mission is to empower women of Sonoma Valley to invest in a more sustainable nonprofit community through collective giving and responsible stewardship.

Find out more at Impact100sonoma.org.

– Photographs by Bari Williams



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