George and Phyllis Ellman are models for leading a passionate life. George invented the Ellman Reagent, a testing method which is now standard lab procedure for measuring enzymes and proteins. Like his love of science, his civic zeal led him to serve as mayor of Tiburon, advocate for a sustainable Sonoma County transportation plan and help Greenbelt Alliance set urban growth boundaries. His delight in playing the piano and harpsichord caused him to co-found the Sonoma Classical Music Society. George’s wife Phyllis, who recently passed away, was passionate about native wildflowers and open space preservation. Tiburon’s Phyllis Ellman Trail loops by Calochortus tiburonensis, the rare Mariposa Lily which she helped save.
In 2007, George and Phyllis discussed how to make a meaningful gift that would support their life-long passions for the environment, environmental education, historic preservation and classical music. Through a trusted friend, they learned that the Sonoma Valley Fund (SVF, see page 7) could provide the bridge between their needs and their dream. They could benefit from the financial stewardship of the Community Foundation, and the SVF Grants Committee could evaluate and award grants in their specified areas of interest.
In 2008, the Ellman Fund awarded grants totaling $25,000. “We hope our Fund will illustrate the possibilities offered by the SVF and inspire others to activate their giving,” says George.