As grantmakers, we aspire to do more together because we know that when we can leverage funding and make collective grants, we can create impact on a larger scale than would be possible by making grants alone. This principle is at the heart of a new grants program we launched last year in partnership with First 5 Sonoma County and the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Sonoma County.

Focused on making a positive impact in early childhood development, the idea for this new grants program was sparked by a conversation at the Sonoma County Funder’s Circle, a group of local grantmaking organizations who meet regularly to share knowledge, keep up to date about local issues, and find ways to work collaboratively to tackle our community’s largest needs.
Angie Dillon-Shore, executive director of First 5 Sonoma County, explains, “So often nonprofits’ funding streams change from year to year. Long-range planning is next to impossible when you’re worried about your next grant cycle. At the Funder’s Circle, we were asking ‘what can we do to ensure that the organizations themselves are more resilient, sustainable, and able to pivot when a funding source shifts?’”

Resilient Organizations: Sustainable, Impactful, Effective, or ROSIE for short, was born from this question. “We designed the ROSIE capacity building program to help support organizations to build long-term stability so they can weather the storm of fluctuating funding,” said Angie.

The organizations—Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County, La Luz Center, Petaluma People Services Center, Extended Child Care Coalition, North Bay Children’s Center, Child Parent Institute and Community Child Care Council (4Cs)—represent diversity across geographic lines, client demographics, staffing sizes and financial and service models. They share a common cause: helping children, prenatal to five, to grow up in an environment that offers them every opportunity to thrive.

The leaders, both executive directors and board chairs, will participate in a two-year training program designed to fortify their leadership skills, deepen connections, strengthen their organizational infrastructure, and nurture strategic thinking. They’ll do this by working with a professional coach from Fiscal Management Associates (FMA) who will guide them through an assessment of their organization’s current infrastructure and conduct a financial trends analysis for each organization, creating an action plan to set the stage for long-term sustainability.


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