‘Together we can do better’ — Impact100 Sonoma’s vision for 2021

Posted on January 30, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Impact100 Sonoma kicked off its 12th year of giving to nonprofits serving Sonoma Valley under the theme of Re-Visioning for 2021.

Co-Presidents Lynne Lancaster and Claudia Sims welcomed the 120 members who gathered virtually on January 23 for an inspiring keynote speech, an update on an anti-racism initiative, and a review of the group’s membership growth, which remains robust despite the challenges of the pandemic. 

The featured address, “Investing in Social Justice System Change,” was delivered by Lisa Carreño, president and CEO of United Way of the Wine Country (pictured). 

Carreño discussed how philanthropy can work to alter the underlying conditions that produce many of the entrenched problems in society today. She explored how her organization and other philanthropic funders are working to deepen their impact by investing in systemic change to confront urgent and overlapping crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, wildfires, economic turmoil, racial injustice and cultural divisions. 

Impact 100 Sonoma member Angela Ryan, the new executive director of the Sonoma Education Foundation, shared an update on the organization’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) training initiative. 

The organization is committed to anti-racism, and pledged its commitment for all members to undergo training in the principles of DEI. In April 2021, in a campaign to build equity through its actions, the group will offer training opportunities to eligible nonprofit organizations serving Sonoma Valley.

“Alone we can do good, but together we can do better,” Ryan said.

Impact100 Sonoma is a giving circle of at least 100 women, each of whom contributes $1,000 annually, all of which is distributed to local nonprofits serving Sonoma Valley. Shared memberships and sponsored memberships are also available. In its first 11 years, Impact100 awarded $2,689,000 in grant funds, including $303,000 in 2020. 

Membership Co-Chair Gera Vaz recounted the unique challenges of the past year for new member recruitment. Despite restrictions on in-person gatherings, she said the organization brought in 33 new members, bringing its total 2021 membership count to 261. 

In addition to the $261,000 in membership contributions, Impact100 received $31,429 in direct donations to its grant fund for 2021, and made a one-time contribution from its reserves to bring its total grants pool for 2021 to $300,000.

Impact100 Sonoma’s 2021 grant season is already underway, using a new grants strategy devised to respond to the economic fallout and other effects of the ongoing pandemic. For this year only, the organization will award “Impetus Grants” of up to $25,000, under an expedited review process intended to get the funds out to nonprofits as quickly as possible. 

Grants Oversight Chair Dana Simpson-Stokes explained that the Impetus Grants can be used to strengthen a nonprofit organization’s core mission, and they are intended to give nonprofits “a boost on the road to long-term recovery” from the pandemic’s effects.”

While Impact100 Sonoma’s typical grant cycle extends into early June, under this year’s compressed schedule, the grant cycle will wrap up in March, with a virtual awards ceremony on March 31, 2021.


Sonoma Sun | Sonoma, CA