While Sonoma Valley is famous for serene vistas, rolling vineyards and lush farmlands, there are also serious disparities in basic health, education and income levels. These disparities were made evident in the 2014 report, A Portrait of Sonoma County, which used the Human Development Index for measuring well-being within our county. The most extreme disparities were found within small geographical areas, including the Springs in Sonoma Valley.
We are fortunate to have many dedicated community-based organizations addressing these disparities both individually and within a collective impact framework. These organizations often receive program-specific funding, but are rarely provided resources to invest in their own infrastructure or talent.
Capacity-building support can fill this gap in funding and help organizations become more resilient and effective in carrying out their mission. Capacity-building is defined as funding and technical assistance to help nonprofits deliver stronger programs, take risks, build connections, innovate and iterate.
Six Sonoma Valley nonprofit organizations were selected to participate in our inaugural Capacity Building Cohort Program, a three-year program to increase their organizational capacities. Each nonprofit received a small grant and worked with organizational development consultants provided by Community Foundation Sonoma County to create a plan for increasing their: growth, efficiency and effectiveness. The six organizations were: ARTescape, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, La Luz Center, Sonoma Overnight Support, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, and Teen Services Sonoma.
The Grant Program & Process:
We seek to recognize and support nonprofits currently addressing the unmet health needs of our most vulnerable populations as outlined in the Portrait of Sonoma County. Our goal is to provide funding and technical assistance to organizations interested in committing time, energy and innovative thinking to assess and plan for increased organizational effectiveness.
Highlights from Year 1 of this opportunity include:
We recognize that capacity building can require a long-term investment. Therefore, grantees will have the potential to continue receiving support beyond the first year of funding/technical assistance. For Year 2, specific support and funding will be designed based on the needs identified by the learning cohort, within the following framework:
Assessing Organizational Readiness:
We recognize that nonprofit capacity building work is not easy: there are no magical solutions and the level of benefit to organizations directly correlates to the level of time and effort invested by the organization. Before applying, applicants were asked to thoughtfully reflect on the following:
Does your organization have the capacity to:
Does your organization have the need to:
Successful participation starts with an honest assessment of your own organizational readiness. Additionally, you can review the narrative questions on the application when they are published.
Capacity-building support and technical assistance will be provided to organizations delivering services to address the unmet health needs of vulnerable populations in Sonoma Valley as outlined in the Portrait of Sonoma County. We define health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. A healthy community is one that is committed to equity through continuously creating and improving both its physical and social environments. Organizations whose mission aligns with this definition and who value capacity building are encouraged to apply.
Please note that this funding does not apply to:
Application Timeline (CLOSED):
How to Apply
Sonoma Valley Fund, in conjunction with Community Foundation Sonoma County, uses an online process for submitting grant applications. Grant applications are now closed for this year. Grant applicants will be contacted in mid-November with the results of this year’s process.
If this is your first application using the online program, you will be asked to set up an account, provide your IRS Tax ID (or Fiscal Sponsor Tax ID) and take a short eligibility quiz.
If you have an established account, you will be asked for your password to either access existing application drafts or to open a new application.
Once you’ve opened an online account, you will be asked a series of question that include your contact information, funding request amount, project start and end date and a series of narrative questions about the project.To review the narrative questions for the grant application, you can download them here: 2015 SVF Capacity Building Application Template.
Applicants will be required to upload the following documents:
*Please use provided template
A word of caution: When working in the electronic application program, save your work as you go along and, if you want to leave and then return to complete your application later, save your work before you exit the program. Once you’ve exited without saving, your unsaved work is lost.
For a presentation describing this year’s grants program, SVFund Grants Program Presentation.
Please direct questions about the grant program to Karin Demarest, Vice President for Programs,firstname.lastname@example.org For questions about the online application process refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.