During the month of November, Community Foundation Sonoma County staff recorded several gratitudes each day as part of an organization-wide exercise. We were instructed to reflect upon our day and jot down two – four people, experiences or things that we were grateful for and include a reflection of why each gratitude was important.

The month long exercise allotted staff the opportunity to reframe their challenges into positive experiences and find value in the more difficult situations.
Research has long shown that individuals who live their lives with gratitude are happier. CFSC staff report stress reduction, increased smiles, and feeling healthier, happier, resilient, relaxed, empathetic, optimistic, open, friendlier and generally enjoying the people in our lives more.

Conversations about gratitude spilled over into other settings such as at meeting, in spontaneous expressions of appreciation, and to family, friends, and professional groups. We discovered and acknowledged a great love of this place and the people of Sonoma County. And gratitude begets gratitude; the more we practiced intentional acts of gratitude, the more we saw gratitude resurface in each of our lives.

As an organization, we are grateful to our community of nonprofits, donors, advocates, professional advisors, and partners. Together, we have the power and commitment to better this amazing place we love.

Check out a small sampling of the gratitudes we recorded:

Executive Team

“I’m grateful…”

  • to work in an organization where we take such a deliberate approach to organizational culture and practice the behaviors we want to grow.
  • we are working on critical community issues because even when we feel like it is a long haul and the needs are great, at least we are in the arena.
  • when I make people laugh because nothing gives me more joy than to experience the authentic joy that comes from humor.
  • for family – new and old – and the unconditional love that is shared.
  • for modern medicine that can heal ailments that are so common that we forget that they were once fatal.
  • for fur babies!

Finance and Operations

“I’m grateful…”

  • that the rains have started, because I am hopeful this season may bring relief from our ongoing drought, and rain is so soothing to watch and hear.
  • for Thanksgiving, because it is a time when all of us stop for a moment to reflect on what is truly important in life
  • for my siblings remaining close to each other and for having their connection to our Mother. The distance has been my biggest challenge but their kind and thoughtful inclusion of me and in keeping me informed has been and will continue to be calming and welcomed. Grateful for the good days – when my Mom can recognize us and place us and is able to recall a memory that brings joy to her and her family.
  • for having shelter. When it is a daily witnessing of homelessness, I am thankful for having an apartment to call home.
  • for the gentle, thoughtful radio ads I hear because even in our commercials I am reminded of the community spirit of Sonoma County.
  • for the strength of the “go local” food movement in Sonoma County because it makes everything coming from my kitchen so much better.

Philanthropic Planning

“I’m grateful…”

  • for 10,000 Degrees because they are making college possible for so many young people who might not have the opportunity otherwise.
  • for supportive and team-centric colleagues who help move our work forward, because I can see how it benefits the lives of those living in our community.
  • for the opportunity to attend the Canine Companions graduation – it was so moving and special. This organization is working locally and making a national impact.
  • to our community of professional advisors who make referrals and support our donors and nonprofit partners.
  • to all the women involved with Impact 100 Redwood Circle who committed to building community and bonding while working on philanthropic goals.
  • for abundance of donors throughout the year who have made extremely thoughtful grant recommendations to improve the lives of many in our local community.
  • for the opportunity to work side by side with nonprofit organizations who help those in need.


“I’m grateful…”

  • to have the opportunity to meet and work with inspiring people who are working tirelessly to improve our community every day. While I’m not on the “front lines,” being able to support their work with grant funding is tremendously humbling and an honor for me.
  • for my freedom. There are many people who lose their freedom from one simple mistake. I am lucky and glad to be one of the people that get to enjoy the sun and fresh air, and not be locked behind bars.
  • for the honor of stewarding the legacy of our donors, because it profoundly connects me with the cycle of life and the beauty of endless generosity.
  • for the dedicated teachers who have educated and loved my children, because as they now grow into remarkable young adults they retain a zest for learning.
  • for the opportunities I have as a woman in this country because there are women around the world who struggle for basic rights that we often take for granted here.
  • for my colleagues, who thought to bring opportunities to reflect on gratitude to our Foundation. It has been a powerful practice to do together as an organization.

Check out our favorite Ted Talk about gratitude for a little more!


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