Donor FAQ


What is the relationship between Sonoma Valley Fund and Community Foundation Sonoma County?

Sonoma Valley Fund is an affiliate of Community Foundation Sonoma County, and the two nonprofits play complementary roles. Sonoma Valley Fund is an all-volunteer organization with a simple focus: to sustain and improve the quality of valley life by encouraging and facilitating legacy giving. Sonoma Valley Fund supports local nonprofit organizations that want to launch endowment and legacy giving programs, provides education and development support to individuals who want to make legacy gifts, and provides thoughtful, trustworthy stewardship of donor bequests. Meanwhile, Community Foundation Sonoma County provides administrative, fiscal oversight, and development services county-wide. It has a paid staff, an extensive network of respected professional resources, and a long, successful track record in grant-making, fundraising, and financial management. Sonoma Valley Fund takes full advantage of the operational efficiencies and expertise available through its parent to help fulfill its unique mission and maximize the value and impact of donor gifts. The infrastructure provided by Community Foundation Sonoma County makes it possible for Sonoma Valley Fund to retain its volunteer ethic and local focus.

What if I’ve already chosen my nonprofit recipients?

Most donors have; they have worked and built relationships with certain organizations over time. Nonetheless, the needs of our community are constantly changing, and we increasingly bring together local nonprofit leaders to address valley-wide issues that affect everyone’s quality of life. Through Sonoma Valley Fund and Community Foundation Sonoma County, you can continue to support your favorite charities while gradually getting more involved with other donors and the broader community. In addition, we can work with you during the estate-planning process to ensure the future support of your favorite charities. You can expand your knowledge of community needs and issues while meeting other donors and hearing about their philanthropic interests. Think of us as your gateway to a larger philanthropic sphere.

What if I don’t have a lot of time to be involved?

We understand. If a purely transactional relationship is all you have time for, we promise to provide excellent service that will simplify your charitable giving. A number of current fund holders find it helpful that we execute and send checks to their charities of choice, track their giving, and conduct due diligence when necessary. If you prefer, you can even manage your giving through Community Foundation Sonoma County’s on-line fund management program, Donor Central.

What is the basis of Sonoma Valley Fund’s expertise?

Our local knowledge and expertise comes from a variety of sources, including Community Foundation Sonoma County’s committed staff and board, Sonoma Valley Fund’s well-respected board and advisors, local professional advisors, county and community leaders, our grantees, and more than 150 nonprofit foundation fund holders. Our two organizations share a long-standing commitment to grant-making in the fields of arts and culture, the environment, education, and health and human services, including basic human needs. In 2010, for example, Sonoma Valley Fund convened local community members to determine the most pressing needs in these challenging economic times so we could begin to best fulfill the terms of a sizeable bequest. If our organizations currently lack expertise in an area, we tap into our vast network of community resources to access that knowledge and experience.

What if I already have a fund with Fidelity or Schwab?

Fidelity and Schwab have very fine programs and very competitive rates. However, they do not have the local community knowledge and expertise of Sonoma Valley Fund and Community Foundation Sonoma County. If you would like to get more involved right here, you may open a fund with us and begin to receive a number of local benefits.

What if I don’t have large financial resources?

Gifts at all levels are welcome. You may make smaller donations to support the work of Sonoma Valley Fund and Community Foundation Sonoma County in general, or to any of our existing funds or fields of interest. Current initiatives include Latino civic engagement, animal welfare, and ending family homelessness. Click the Contact Us tab to learn more about these programs. Many donors find that they can make larger gifts through an estate plan. Even if you don’t have cash, you can donate other assets such as stocks or property.

What do the Sonoma Valley Fund and Community Foundation Sonoma County do?

In a nutshell, Sonoma Valley Fund and its parent, Community Foundation Sonoma County, are grant-making organizations and stewards of community assets. We pride ourselves on our local expertise and community involvement. We offer donors an opportunity to become involved in Sonoma Valley issues as well as to direct their philanthropic giving through us, while we take care of the administrative details.