Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation

Where can a nonprofit board invest funds for the long-term to increase interest income while ensuring that its money will be managed by prudent investment professionals? This was the question facing the board of directors of the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation, the nonprofit that supports Sonoma County Regional Parks. In 2011, the Parks Foundation board carefully reviewed a variety of investment options, including several private investment advisors and Community Foundation Sonoma County. Ultimately, the board determined that the Community Foundation represented the best option to establish three funds: a Parks
Foundation endowment, an endowment for the Elizabeth Anne Perrone Dog Park in Sonoma Valley, and
a fund for a proposed new park.

“Our board considered it essential to entrust our assets to advisors who would invest our donors’ contributions conservatively,” explained Melissa Kelley, executive director of the Parks Foundation. “With several hundred thousand dollars in our accounts, we recognized the need to earn more than a meager 0.5% on our investment – which had been our previous rate of interest.”

Investing with the Community Foundation Sonoma County occurred at a critical time. Core financial support from the County’s general fund for Sonoma County Regional Parks has declined significantly in recent years. At the same time, Regional Parks’ responsibilities have increased, particularly with the added responsibility for operating Annadel State Park.

Parks Foundation staff, board members and volunteers are working harder than ever to bolster the Foundation’s
fundraising. Coincident with transferring funds to the Community Foundation and rising to meet the heightened
challenges of our Regional Parks, the Parks Foundation launched exciting new programs, events and awareness campaigns. Earning a higher return on secured funds is a key component of the Parks Foundation’s renewed efforts. The new partnership between the Community Foundation and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation is thriving. In fact, this year the Parks Foundation received a bequest of $25,000 to establish an endowment for the Children’s Memorial Grove at Spring Lake Park. Parks Foundation board members knew immediately that they wanted to entrust the new endowment to the Community Foundation Sonoma County.

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