Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2016-17 Community Grants

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend 2016-17 Community Grants

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The Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction brings together caring vintners, growers and donors to support all communities across Sonoma County. We seek to impact our community in two key ways—through our Fund the Future initiative focused on increasing third grade literacy rates, and our Community Grants program, a broadly accessible, responsive grants program to address the most pressing needs in our communities.

Harvest Wine Auction

We are grateful to the many generous donors that have contributed over the years to support the important work of our nonprofits in Sonoma County. In 2016, our donors were particularly inspired to support Fund the Future, contributing $2.7 million dollars to increase the number of children reading at grade level by third grade. This year, the increase in Fund the Future contributions had an unexpected adverse effect on Community Grants, resulting in a significant decrease in the amount available for grantmaking in 2017. Still, we remain committed to the fundamental purpose of our Community Grants – to be broadly accessible across the entire county while addressing the most pressing community needs.

Program Areas

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Community Grants is pleased to continue our commitment to four key program areas: Health and Human Services, Education, Environment and Arts and Culture. We also respect the resource of time that is required to apply for a grant and therefore have narrowed our funding criteria in each of the areas, allowing potential applicants to make informed decisions prior to applying about whether their project or program is a strong fit with the Community Grants program. We also encourage applicants to review the FAQs for Community Grants where we will provide further details about the funding priorities and criteria.

Funding Priorities

Applicants in any of the four areas will be considered only if the primary mission of the organization aligns with the stated funding priority. Please note that in order to provide broad community-wide support, we will consider only one proposal from any one non-profit organization and that the maximum funding amount is $10,000.

Health and Human Services: Supporting the most fundamental needs around housing, homelessness and hunger, funding will target organizations whose mission specifically addresses one of these three areas.

Education: Aligning with Cradle to Career Goal Area 3: “Every young adult is prepared for and completes the highest level of postsecondary education or training to achieve their career goals,” Community Grants funding for education will focus on programs or projects that provide opportunities for workplace, career and postsecondary learning for youth.

Arts and Culture: Knowing that access to arts education can foster a love of learning, improve personal dignity and enhance creativity, funding for the arts will focus on educational experiences for both youth and adults.

Environment: Recognizing the unique beauty and vulnerability of our natural resources, funding will target programs or projects that conserve and/or restore environmentally significant land, waterways and wildlife habitats.

Evaluation Criteria

Our Community Grants program is a broadly accessible, responsive grants program meant to address the most pressing needs across all our communities. When evaluating proposals we use the following criteria to assess the competitiveness of a project or program:

  • The applicant’s organizational mission aligns with the Community Grants funding priorities
  • The goals, implementation timeline and staffing are clearly defined and achievable
  • Any proposed collaboration with other organizations has been formalized

Eligibility Criteria

Sonoma County 501c3 nonprofit organizations may apply for a Community Grant for either program or project support.   We do not accept proposals for:

  • Annual fund campaigns, fundraising events or debt retirement
  • Capital campaigns
  • Conferences
  • Grants (or loans) to individuals
  • Political or religious purposes (or programs requiring religious participation)
  • Projects that primarily serve residents outside of Sonoma County
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other characteristic protected by law.


For questions or problems with the online application, please contact Annette Williams, Program Coordinator, 707-303-9639 or

For questions about Education or Arts & Culture, please contact Karin Demarest, Vice President for Programs, 707.303.9621 or

For questions about Health & Human Services or the Environment, please contact Elly Grogan, Program Officer, 707.303.9638,