14 Sep Celebrating $200 Million in Grants
It took 25 years for Community Foundation Sonoma County to reach the $100 million marker for grants made. Nine years later, that impressive grant milestone has been more than doubled, as $200+ million in support has made its way into our communities, creating ripples of benefits both large and small.
Walk the streets of our cities and pass beloved Chop’s Teen Club in Santa Rosa’s Railroad Square. Smile as you follow the map leading to the artwork of our Charles M. Schulz Peanuts on Parade characters, as created by local artists. Expand to the outskirts and find Samuel Jones Hall, housing and serving homeless residents while giving them a leg up. Marvel at human creativity expressed large at Oliver Ranch. Hike the expansive landscape to learn of nature’s regional diversity at Pepperwood Preserve. Take in the Santa Rosa Symphony where the first grant made gave us the piano that still plays beautifully. Feel the power of each community as expressed in the Healdsburg Forever fund efforts and the Sonoma Valley Fund’s specific generosities.
Thousands of generous people have given of their wallets, their time, their minds and hearts to benefit their neighbors. These neighbors have found shelter, medical care, education, sustenance and joy in all the things a $200 million infusion over 34 years can bring to our most beautiful and generous place of residence – Sonoma County.
Through the generosity of our donors, Community Foundation’s grantmaking tells a story about Sonoma County.
- Our first big grant was to purchase the grand piano for the Santa Rosa Symphony (read the full story here.)
- The first grant over $1 million was made in 1996 to help create Chop’s Teen Club. Charles “Chop” DeMeo, the thrifty local attorney, whose estate left the Community Foundation $16 million and tripled its assets, allowed the $1.7 million grant.
- From its earliest days, Community Foundation Sonoma County found its most loyal and ongoing supporters in Charles M. “Sparky” and Jean Schulz. After Sparky’s passing in 2000, their generosity became even more evident. Two grants of $4 million each were made in 2001 and 2002 to fund construction and development costs of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center.
- The grant that put the Community Foundation’s support over the $200 million mark was made by the Impact 100 Redwood Circle’s $100,000 grant to Food for Thought to support their Vital Nutrition program.
- We are proud of a recent $250,000 grant to Sonoma Land Trust in support of the Southeast Greenway project. Read how Sonoma is creating its own Central Park.
From initiatives to help create our Open Space and Agricultural District, to support for Redwood Empire Food Bank during the last debilitating recession, to the creation of a local 10,000 Degrees program, grants both large and small have positively and indelibly marked our “chosen spot” of Sonoma County.
Community Foundation Sonoma County’s is celebrated and immortalized in the book “Thirty Years of Giving: 1983-2013.” The book, an inclusive and informative history of the Community Foundation, was commissioned and published by local philanthropist Jean Schulz. Written in collaboration with writer Carol Benfell and via interviews with many former staff, board and community members, the book weaves a story of a long-held vision and a wave of momentum created by generous donations, turned into grants, made over the years. You can read it online here.