2011 Annual Report

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To Our Friends,

In 2011, Sonoma Valley Fund, an affiliate of Community Foundation Sonoma County, celebrated its fifth anniversary. Our organization is still young, but our mission is clear: to promote and facilitate local philanthropy and legacy giving by serving as a bridge between nonprofits, estate planning professionals, and donors. No other organization unites all constituencies around the purpose of endowing the Sonoma Valley community as a whole. Thanks to the passionate commitment and tireless work of our volunteer board members, advisors, and committees, our accomplishments belie our age.

Grant-Making Capabilities Increase

Since its founding in 2007, Sonoma Valley Fund has awarded

$263,000 in grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and individuals. Community Foundation Sonoma County, our parent organization, has helped direct an additional $842,000 in the valley for a combined total of more than $1.1 million.

In 2011 alone, we jointly awarded $55,400 in grants, including $34,000 through our stewardship of the George and Phyllis Ellman Fund, which we have administered since 2008. We also laid the groundwork for primary stewardship of the $8.5 million Todd Trust, completing a comprehensive needs assessment with Community Foundation Sonoma County in May to identify how best to fulfill the wishes of longtime Glen Ellen residents Hazel and Roland Todd. The first grant from their generous bequest matched funds raised by the community to support the Youth Initiative. We will award additional grants in 2012.

Youth Initiative Takes Flight

The tragic 2007 death of a teenage boy in Maxwell Park inspired Sonoma Valley Fund to develop the Youth Initiative, launching and incubating a series of summer and after-school enrichment programs to help at-risk children transition smoothly from elementary to middle school, and from middle school to high school. After successfully serving some 500 students over two years, we transferred operation of the programs to the Sonoma Valley Unified School District in 2011 with an appeal to the community at large to help sustain the initiative’s valuable work.

“Sonoma Valley Fund’s Youth Initiative programs identified an important need for our at-risk kids and did something heroic about it. Their work must continue for the sake of our students.”

— Louann Carlomagno, Superintendent, Sonoma Valley Unified School District

Nonprofit Partnerships Grow

Sonoma Valley Fund brings area nonprofit organizations together around the common goal of long-term financial health. We help them develop endowment and legacy giving programs that keep them resilient in changing economic times and provide access to professional advisors. If they invest through Community Foundation Sonoma County, organizations also gain effective fund management and the fulfillment of many fiscal oversight and compliance requirements on their behalf.

Our nonprofit partnerships now number a record 20, and their managed investments now exceed $2 million. In 2011, our Nonprofit Services Committee handed off the results of its 2010 cost study to the Executive Directors’ Roundtable for implementation. Over time, the initiative should help participating valley nonprofits reduce operating expenses by as much as $375,000 per year.

Legacy Program Expands

Sonoma Valley Fund offers a range of giving options that accommodates all estate values and asset types, and that enables donors to direct their contributions to any nonprofit, to donate now or later, within Sonoma Valley or beyond. In 2011, we established the Sonoma Valley Legacy Circle to recognize those who opt to support the community through their estate plans. Legacy gifts, or revocable promises to give, have now reached an estimated $3.5 million. We also announced Endow sonoma Valley month, an ambitious program designed to promote legacy giving through a series of free educational events. It will take place in October 2012.

These results represent only the beginning of our efforts to help sustain and improve the valley’s unique socioeconomic, environmental, and cultural qualities for generations to come. We especially thank our donors and supporters and invite you, if you haven’t already, to join us in working to secure a bright future for the community we love.


Harriet Derwingson

Sonoma Valley Fund Board President, 2010–11

Caitlin Childs