Group awards $325k to impact Sonoma Valley nonprofits

Posted on June 11, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Sonoma Valley Community Health Center receives the 2019 Impact100 Sonoma $100,000 Impact Grant to fund its Sonoma Valley Vision Clinic.  From left to right: Cheryl Johnson, CEO of Sonoma Valley Community Health Clinic; Ryan Pococh, Director of Development & Outreach at Sonoma Valley Community Health Clinic; Mary Jane Stolte, Impact Grant Chair.

At its 10th Annual Awards Celebration, Impact100 Sonoma awarded its $100,000 Impact Grant to Sonoma Valley Community Health Center to fund its Sonoma Valley Vision Clinic.

“Comprehensive vision services for Medi-Cal and uninsured patients do not currently exist in Sonoma Valley,” Ryan Pocock, SVCH director of development and outreach. “Thanks to this grant, we will be able to provide vision services for thousands of Sonoma Valley residents.”

Impact100 Sonoma awarded its two $10,000 Impact Grant Finalist awards to Challenge Sonoma Adventure Ropes Course and Pets Lifeline. From left to right: Nancy King, Pets Lifeline; Cheryl Johnson, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center; Ryan Pocock, Sonoma Valley Community Health Center; Robert Smith, Challenge Sonoma Adventure Ropes Course.

Impact100 Sonoma is a collective grant-making organization that brings together at least 100 women to award an Impact Grant of $100,000 every year to a nonprofit organization serving Sonoma Valley.

This year, the group had a total of $324,000 in grant money to award to nonprofits, including a special $50,000 award in honor of it 10th anniversary. That grant went to Vintage House to expand its program offerings.

Vintage House receives the 2019 Impact100 Sonoma $50,000 10th Anniversary Grant to fund expansion of its program offerings.  From left to right: Mary Jane Stolte, Impact Grant Chair; Priscilla Essert, Executive Director of Vintage House, and Claudia Sims, Grants Oversight Chair.

Co-President Lynne Lancaster opened the lively and well-attended event at Hanna Boys Center on June 8 by welcoming members and their guests. She announced that in 2019, a record number of 319 women joined Impact100 Sonoma. The $100k grant was decided by a vote of all members, and revealed at the event.

Two Impact Grant Finalists, Pets Lifeline and Challenge Sonoma Adventures Ropes Course, each received unrestricted grants of $10,000.

And eight additional organizations received $154,000 in Community grants ranging in size from $14,500 to $20,000:

  • Art Escape — $20,000 to expand their Teen Art Lounge to every summer Friday and two Fridays a month during the 2019/20 school year.

  • Ceres Community Project — $20,000 to prepare 5,500 organic medically-appropriate meals for 30 low-income families who have a seriously ill family member, and offer bi-lingual nutrition education and resources through the Community Health Center.

  • Challenge Sonoma Adventure Ropes Course, in collaboration with Sonoma Valley Youth and Family Services — $14,500 to relocate and rebuild the four low elements (under 2 feet high) of the Ropes Course, used primarily by younger, less experienced students from the now-closed Sonoma Developmental Center to Hanna Boys Center.

  • Community Matters — $19,500 for their Safe Schools Ambassadors program to train up to 120 student leaders and 18 adults at three public schools to become adept at defusing incidents of mistreatment and improve school atmosphere, attendance and performance.

  • Flowery Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization, in collaboration with Flowery Elementary School — $20,000 toward the installation of a new playground structure to replace the present damaged and rusty 30-year-old structure, giving students and the local community a safe up-to-date place to play and learn.

  • Legal Aid of Sonoma County — $20,000 to provide on-site Sonoma Valley assistance to low-income families, seniors and immigrants threatened with eviction, price gouging and irresponsible landlords in order to keep them safely housed in our community.

  • North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council (NCRCDC)– $20,000 to implement the Waste Wizard project at four local schools that have been on a waitlist. State law requires school districts to recycle organic wastes but does not provide funds to do so.

  • Teen Services Sonoma — $20,000 to expand the proven Ready to Work (RTW) program to La Luz Center and Boys and Girls Clubs, increasing RTW courses from five to seven and providing services to 40 additional youth.

Recipients of Community Grants of up to $20,000 celebrate their awards. From left to right:  Dana Simpson-Stokes, Community Grants Co-Chair; Margaret Grandy, Community Grants Co-Chair; Sarai Obermeyer, Legal Aid of Sonoma County; Evie Facendini, Ceres Community Project,;Robert Smith, Challenge Sonoma Adventure Ropes Course; Oona Heacock, North Coast Resource Conservation & Development Council; Thena Trygstad, ArtEscape; Kate Ortolano, ArtEscape; Becky Jo Peterson, Teen Services Sonoma; Esmeralda Sanchez-Moseley, Flowery Elementary School; Mary Hotaling, Community Matters.

Over the past five months Claudia Sims (Grants Oversight), Mary Jane Stolte (Impact and Anniversary Grants), Margaret Grandy and Dana Simpson-Stokes (Co-Community Grants) led the process of narrowing applications down to three finalists for the $100,000 Impact Grant, two finalists for the $50,000 10th Anniversary Grant, and 12 finalists for Community Grants.

The finalists were selected after careful review by more than 75 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.

 “We have so many deserving grant applicants it makes the process of deciding very difficult,” said Co-President Gera Vaz. “But I’m very proud of our process of reviewing grants collaboratively, then taking a democratic vote to decide on our awardees. We just could not be happier in this, our tenth anniversary year, to be able to give away $324,000!”

The Annual Awards Celebration was sponsored by Union Bank with other financial and in-kind contributions from Hanna Boys Center.

The organization’s mission is to empower women of Sonoma Valley to invest in a more sustainable nonprofit community through collective giving and responsible stewardship.

Impact100 Sonoma welcomes all women to join the organization. Information about Impact100 Sonoma can be found at or by calling 707-939-5007.

— Photography by Bari Williams 

Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA