Since the release of the Portrait of Sonoma in 2014, we’ve talked about the tale of two counties. What we know now is that the inequalities that exist locally have only been exacerbated by the devastation of the fires, the covid pandemic, and the economic instability we face today. The “tale of two” persists, and local organizations—many led by people of color—still face funding barriers at a time when their work is more critical than ever.
And yet, there are many reasons to have hope. Charitable donors have helped fund local organizations, from grassroots to well-established nonprofits, that are working to ensure that everyone living and working in Sonoma County can thrive. Last year, Community Foundation Sonoma County granted over $15 million to the organizations you care about.
For our 2022 year-end giving guide, we’re highlighting nonprofits that focus on equity, and are aligned with our strategic priorities, including animal welfare, arts & culture, education, the environment, and health & safety net services. Because of the generous support from donors, these trusted nonprofits are working to create a better Sonoma County—one where our most pressing environmental and social needs are being addressed.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list; there are many worthy organizations in our region. If you have a particular organization in mind, please reach out to your philanthropic advisor or log in to the Giving Center to submit your grant recommendations.
Treating over 3,000 wild birds every year, The Bird Rescue Center is dedicated to helping over 120 species of birds rejoin the wild. Birds are a vital part of our ecosystem, and protecting the biodiversity of bird species in Sonoma County not only supports the welfare of these beautiful animals, but the environment of our communities, as well.
Based in Santa Rosa, CA, Compassion Without Boarders provides free veterinary wellness and spay/neuter clinics in underserved communities, as well as a dog rescue program from Mexico and the Central Valley. They seek to provide brighter futures to animals in need, no matter what side of the border they are on.
Adopt, don’t shop. Pets Lifeline provides food, medical care, and shelter for pets in need across Sonoma County. Over the forty years it has served Sonoma County, more than 20,000 pets have been helped, nearly 50 seniors have been provided with support in caring for their pets, and over 3,000 meals have been donated to those who need help feeding their pet.
Ruthless Kindness works to prevent and heal trauma in both humans and animals by providing free veterinary care to the pets of victims of domestic violence or other people in crisis. They have also rescued inhumanely treated farm animals and care for them on their farm in Sebastopol.
Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is committed to the three R’s of animal care: rescue, rehabilitate, and release! Through education and outreach, this organization strives to understand, appreciate, and protect our local wildlife.
Encouraging the next generation of artists to engage with their community and become invested in the beauty of Sonoma County, Artstart empowers teens to explore their creativity through art.
This California-wide and Sonoma County-based group of poets and teachers believes that just one line of poetry can change a student’s life. By placing teacher-poets in classrooms, California Poets in the Schools works to amplify the creative voices of youth through writing, reading, performing, and publishing poetry.
Live performances can serve as a communal space for questioning, dialogue, and community. The Imaginists seek to explore the intersection of art and community through live performance, podcasts, bilingual school residencies, after-school workshops, and internships for youth living in Santa Rosa.
Life on Earth Art seeks to unite people from our diverse communities to create art as a vehicle for social action and healing. These large-scale installations bring together artists, activists, and members of our community to work towards healing and change.
Art moves people. Raizes Collective was created to offer artists and teachers of color the resources to affect change through art and community building. Through art and cultural workshops and environmental education, Raizes Collective works to heal divisions within our communities.
Dedicated to creating more gender and LGBTQIA+ affirming environments, Amor Para Todos, fiscally sponsored by PPSC, works with school districts and communities in Petaluma, Cotati, Rohnert Park and Santa Rosa. APT fosters clubs in elementary schools, supports schools in developing inclusive curriculum, provides inclusive/anti- bias professional development trainings, and encourages schools to adopt gender inclusive bathroom signage.
When founder Patty Norman noticed how many children weren’t able to share the experience of bringing home a book from an author reading, she created the Bookstormer Foundation, in partnership with Copperfield’s Books and fiscally sponsored by Literacyworks. This program provides a book for every student at an author assembly in a Title I school.
Community Action Partnership, with funding from First 5 Sonoma County, is offering the AVANCE Parent-Child Education Program, a weekly Spanish language parent-child education class. This program is for low-income Latino parents and focuses on parent education, childhood development, literacy, and school readiness, and has been shown to improve kindergarten readiness, attendance, reading and math proficiency, and high school graduation rates.
With a mission to preserve Native history and culture, the Native California Research Institute supports, preserves, and educates on the cultural legacy of Native California elders and culture bearers through archival work and the California Indian Conference. The CIC is the sole forum for the sharing of knowledge, scholarship, and issues of importance related to Native Californians.
Valley of the Moon Children’s Center is Sonoma County’s only 24-hour emergency shelter for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. The Center works to support the educational achievement and overall well-being of current and former foster youth across Sonoma County.
Dedicated to fostering the next generation of environmental leaders, Conservation Corps North Bay conserves and restores natural resources to improve recreational and public areas. They work to provide young adults with opportunities for paid work, education, and leadership.
A place of refuge; a place to connect, engage, nourish, and learn. Heron Shadow is the transmission of The Cultural Conservancy’s dedication to protecting and revitalizing the ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok and Southern Pomo Peoples of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, modeling sustainable Native food production, creating space for Native resource management, setting an example for alternative economic opportunities for tribes, and holding space for individual and collective renewal.
Rooted in AfroIndigenous permaculture principles, EARTHseed is a 14-acre solar-powered organic farm, fiscally sponsored by Community Movement Builders. The farm, abundant in apples, pears, persimmons, and more, runs educational programs that prioritize people of African descent and communities of color to learn about our relationship with our Earth.
Working to create a vibrant, welcoming community gathering space on the McNear Peninsula, Petaluma River Park Foundation is hard at work restoring the natural habitat and building infrastructure. To ensure that the park is truly inclusive, they’ve built a coalition of local mission-aligned organizations to guide the park’s design and development.
Shelterwood is a Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ led community forest and retreat center. Based on the principal of healing people and ecosystems through deep relationships with the earth and each other, Shelterwood’s work focuses on land stewardship, antiracism, resilient leadership, and community health.
Providing integrative health services to Latinx and Indigenous communities in Sonoma and Napa counties, the Botanical Bus travels to vineyard worksites and community hubs to provide culturally centered health services like massage, acupuncture, diabetes prevention and care, clinical nutrition, and herbalism.
With a mission to end HIV in Sonoma County and to improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDs in our community, Face to Face provides resources for testing, prevention, harm reduction, education, and care services.
Humanidad meets the need for culturally sensitive and trauma informed therapists in Sonoma County by providing training, inclusive community education, and bilingual therapy services.
Committed to improving the well-being of underserved communities, La Familia Sana works to empower, educate, advocate, and provide culturally cognizant solutions by offering free bilingual and bicultural mental health care and other direct services to meet the needs of Sonoma County.
Dedicated to serving the needs and values of our American Indian Community, the Sonoma County Indian Health Project provides healthcare services and a place for native youth to explore their heritage, language, traditional medicine, and cultural practices.