Sonoma Valley Sun


Sonoma Valley nonprofit news

Posted on February 3, 2024 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Pets Lifeline was awarded Nonprofit of the Year from the Sonoma Valley Chamber of Commerce at the State of the Valley event on January 5. Since 1987, the PLL organization has been dedicated to protecting animal lives through sheltering and adoption, humane education and community programs. Olivia Kristiansen, the new CEO, accepted the award on behalf of the staff, board and supporters,  “I think it’s a testament to the hard work that our prior CEO Nancy King had done over the span of her career, and that’s 15 years of really incredible accomplishments,” Kristiansen said. “Our board chair Marchelle Carlton was also right at the helm with Nancy, and they laid a very strong foundation along with our staff.” 

Impact100 Sonoma—one of the Valley’s largest funders—will award a record $350,000 in grants to Valley-serving nonprofits in 2024. That amount will raise the group’s cumulative grant total since 2010 to $4,025,485. For the fourth year in a row, Impact100 Sonoma will award multiple Impetus Grants of up to $25,000 to selected nonprofits. This strategy of disbursing funds widely, as opposed to offering fewer large grants, began during the pandemic and is planned to continue long term. Grant recipients can use the money to sustain their current programs, expand or improve their offerings, or meet organizational needs that support their mission. The group also will debut a multi-year Encore Grant, which will give one 2024 Impetus Grant recipient a second grant of the same amount in early 2025.

Sonoma Teen Services has launched the Empowerment Academy on Campus with a dedicated meeting space at Sonoma Valley High School. The program will be available to Sonoma Valley High teens Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:35pm to 5pm, starting February 12. “Once we are underway, students can expect to see a program dedicated to empowering all participants through a variety of expanded learning opportunities,” said Eric Gonzalez, vice president of Teen Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley. “All programs offered at the Empowerment Academy on Campus will give our teens the opportunity to expand and grow their skills, whether it be through academic support, career exploration, leadership development, or creative expression.” Sonoma Valley Education Foundation and Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance are partners.

Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH for short) saw significant demand for services in 2023, reports Executive Director Sandy Piotter. “Most notably in our Food Pantry, where the number of households served increased by more than 50% from the previous year.  At the same time, our Rent Assistance, Utilities Assistance, Medical Rides, and Medical Equipment loan programs all saw increases of 15%-20% in the number served. A busy year indeed!” It’s made possible entirely by volunteers. “We now have more than 155 individuals regularly dedicating their time and talents. From dispatch to driving, from providing client assistance to stocking shelves, as well as in all kinds of administrative and coordination roles. . . volunteers are truly the heart of FISH.” 


Jack London State Historic Park has launched its Ninth Annual Young Writers Contest with the theme “Science Fiction Edition.” Though London is most famous for writing adventure stories, he dabbled in the science fiction genre with stories like “Before Adam” and “Star Rover.” Students entering this year’s contest are instructed to write a short story involving a mysterious portal into a parallel universe. Complete contest rules, and the entry form are available at The deadline is March 31. 

Volunteer spotlight: Linda Odetto, Sonoma Community Center

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