To act as a catalyst in building diverse leadership in Sonoma County that reflects our community’s racial demographics.


At Community Foundation Sonoma County, we recognize that power is held by decision-makers that do not represent our community’s diversity. As the nation and our county become more racially diverse, the percentage of people of color in nonprofit leadership has not moved in over a decade, remaining well under 20% nationally for Executive Director/CEO roles. Although there is no data on the racial demographics of nonprofit leadership in Sonoma County, a review of just some of the over 3,000 registered nonprofit organizations in our region implies our county does not fare better than the national data.

Empowering and employing emerging leaders of color will help address racial disparities in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. It will also create a more inclusive and equitable community for future generations.

The value of diversity in the nonprofit and philanthropic fields is unquestionable; having staff and leadership that mirrors the population an organization seeks to help is critical in building better connections with clients and fostering creativity and innovation. Additionally, the mismatch in representation can hinder organizations in understanding and addressing racial inequality issues that are present in the community.

What We Do

In 2015, Community Foundation Sonoma County launched the Latino Leadership Fund. Through the grants we make with this fund (and through our advocacy and support beyond our grantmaking), we seek to cultivate a stronger network of leaders who are equipped with knowledge, skills, and support to create real and lasting change to benefit all residents in Sonoma County, and who are representative of the diverse communities in our region.

We do this from an equity standpoint and through good grantmaking practices. We strive to build trusting partnerships with our grantees and, through general operating support, provide them with the flexibility and empowerment to make decisions. We listen to and learn from our grantees and deeply trust their knowledge and experience while giving them room to test new theories of change.

We also recognize many facets of leadership and many opportunities for service in a leadership role. Our grants through the Latino Leadership Fund focus on:

      • Building leadership networks for professionals already deeply engaged in the nonprofit field
      • Fostering leadership potential for promising youth that have demonstrated an acute interest in becoming positive changemakers in our community.

In recognition that we need more people of color in nonprofit positions of leadership and acknowledging the high attrition rate among Executive Directors of color, we strive to support and partner with emerging leaders in our community, to reduce barriers to their success.

Grantmakers for Effective Philanthropy has observed that restricted dollars are disproportionately given to people of color and other constituency-led nonprofits. This suppresses those grantees’ ability to adequately plan, invest in staff, deepen the impact of their work, and ultimately impact the community. Through our grantmaking, we seek to support organizations rooted in uplifting and empowering the Latinx community, particularly through advocacy and leadership, and to provide flexible support to emerging leaders of color at the forefront of these local organizations.

Recent Grants

Los Cien Sonoma Countyto support Los Cien Sonoma County
On The Moveto support On The Verge
Centro Laboral de Gratonto support the ALMAS program
Positive Imagesto support capacity and leadership development

Stories from our Grantees

Los Cien: Leaps and Bounds

Los Cien: Leaps and Bounds

Magali Telles is Los Cien’s first paid executive director, which marks yet another milestone in the organization’s development—and draws attention to the speed at which the organization has grown. “Since their founding in 2008, Los Cien has gone from all volunteers...

Helping Diverse Leaders to Thrive

Helping Diverse Leaders to Thrive

“What does the world need from me?” Javier Rivera-Rosales asks constantly to help align his values and moral character. A director for a nonprofit serving LGBTQIA youth, Javier is a participant in the first Sonoma County cohort of On The Verge (OTV), a leadership...

Have questions? Please contact:

Amy Holter

Amy Holter

Vice President for Community Impact