December 2011
Sonoma Valley Fund Newsletter


In This Issue
Endow Sonoma Valley Month Ambassadors Named
SVF's Annual Celebration
SVF Welcomes Two New Board Members
Sonoma Valley Fund Elects New Officers
Sonoma Valley Fund Celebrates Five Years!
Message from Out-Going President Harriet Derwingson
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Endow Sonoma Valley Month Ambassadors
Marcia and Gary Nelson

Gary and Marcia Nelson
Marcia and Gary Nelson
Marcia and Gary Nelson have agreed to be Ambassadors for Endow Sonoma Valley Month.  This generous and community minded couple are well-known in the Valley for their charitable work, particularly for their contributions to Sonoma Valley Hospital via the Gary and Marcia Nelson Emergency Care Fund.

Endow Sonoma Valley Month is slated for October 2012 and will include a full-month of activities which raise awareness and encourage participation in legacy giving.  The goal is simple, increase the number of families who make a commitment to leave a portion of their estates locally, either to one or more of the Valley non-profits, or to an area of interest, such as the environment, education, the arts, health and human services, etc..  All of the events will be either open to the public, free of charge, or held in conjunction with our non-profit partners for their organizations.  Stay tuned for more.


Sonoma Valley Fund's Annual Celebration

This Year's Event was Another Success!  


More than 250 guests attended Sonoma Valley Fund's third annual Star Volunteer Awards on Sunday, Oct. 23, at Hanna Boys Center to recognize 23 individuals and teams for their community service. Sonoma Valley Star AwardsFund's nonprofit partners selected the recipients.


Barbara Young, Sonoma Valley Fund's incoming President (see related story below), prepared all of the wonderful food and music was provided by Noche Tropical.   


Star Award Recipients for 2011, with their nominating organizations are:

  • The Juniper Committee - Audubon Canyon Ranch;
  • Kathy Benziger - Becoming Independent;
  • Tracy Byrnes - Boy's & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley;
  • Carol Brown and Dave Dobbins - Friends of Sonoma Valley Library;
  • Squire Fridell - Hanna Boys Center;
  • Karen Adelson and Marcelo De Freitas - La Luz Center;
  • Elfriede Whitcher - Pets Lifeline;
  • Steven Hightower - Quarryhill Botanical Garden;
  • Jack Lundgren - Sonoma Community Center;
  • Julie Shoffner-McGee - Sonoma Ecology Center;
  • Jason Bell - Sonoma League for Historic Preservation;
  • Sam and Carol Morphy - Sonoma Valley Education Foundation;
  • Dick Drew - Sonoma Valley Fund;
  • Julie Atwood - Sonoma Valley Hospital Foundation;
  • Joyce Miller and Mark Nilsson - Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance;
  • Lucy Hamlyn - Sonoma Valley Museum of Art;
  • Annie Falandes - Sonoma Valley Teen Services;
  • Sandi Wilson - Vintage House;
  • Paula Moulton - WillMar Center.

We offer our sincere congratulations to all of those who distinguished themselves this year!


This year's celebration is made possible by a generous grant from Rabobank and thanks to Hanna Boys Center.Hanna Boys Center LogoRabobank Logo 




Sonoma Valley Fund Welcomes Two New Board Members

Susan Hoeffel and Manuel Merjil

Manuel R. Merjil will be familiar to many from his work at The Sonoma Index-Tribune, where he has held a variety of positions, including SONOMA Magazine's first Executive Editor. Manuel attended the University of Texas at El Paso where he majored in Public Relations and Advertising and has more than 28 years experience in sales and client services-related areas.  An active member of the Sonoma Valley community, he has been a mentor with the SoManuel Merjilnoma Valley Mentoring Alliance for nine years and served on the Roundtable Committee of the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. He is a founding member of Sonoma GayDar, the Sonoma County Mariachi Festival, and has been a member of the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art's Advisory Council.


Manuel lives in Glen Ellen with his partner Paul, surrounded by a vast array of pets - Max, their eight-year-old cat, as well as finches, doves, parakeets and many koi and goldfish. Manuel, a native of M�xico, enriches Sonoma with his bilingual and bicultural background.


Susan Hoeffel was born in Texas and came to the San Francisco Bay Area as a child. After earning a BA degree and secondary teaching credential from the University of Susan HoeffelCalifornia at Berkeley, she began her professional career teaching at a junior high school in Oakland. In 1980 she entered the financial services industry and grew to hold executive-level marketing and communications positions, at Equitec Financial Group in Oakland CA and at The Bank of California. In 1992 Susan joined the San Francisco office of SEI Investments Co., a leading national public financial and technology services firm, where she is currently Senior Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager working with the investment arms of large banks. She is a Certified Financial Planner and is currently a Registered Representative and Registered Principal with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Locally, she is a member of the Sonoma Valley Rotary Club.


Susan and her husband Jan have lived in Sonoma since 2004. They have four sons and five grandchildren. They are members of the Sonoma Valley Film Society and the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and are active supporters of the Mentoring Alliance and Sonoma Valley Boys and Girls Club. They are also partners in Deerfield Ranch Winery in Kenwood.
Sonoma Valley Fund Elects New Officers

At Decem
Barbara Young
Barbara Young
ber's Sonoma Valley Fund Board Meeting a new slate of officers were elected to lead the organization for the coming year.  Barbara Young was elected asPresident, Joshua Rymer as Vice President, while Thomas Haeuser will continue as Secretary and take on the Treasurer's duties as well.  Harriet Derwingson will continue to serve on the Executive Committee as Past-President.    


In addition, the Board named 
Whitney Evans
Whitney Evans
hitney Evans, who is SonomaValley Fund's first president and the force that kept the organization going forward in its early years, President Emeritus.  


Sonoma Valley Fund Celebrates Five Years!
Founders, Board Members, Advisors and Former Board Members/Advisors Celebrate 

svf founders
SVF Founders (l to r): Whitney Evans, Marcia Levy, Martha Rosenblatt, John Brady, Tom Haeuser, Harriet Derwingson, Barbara Young and Barbara Hughes
Sonoma Valley Fund celebrated its fifth anniversary at the beautiful home of Scott Smith and Marcelo Defrietas on December 13th.  About 75 invited guests gathered to honor the foresight of the founding members and to celebrate the accomplishments of the organization. 


Message from Out-Going President Harriet Derwingson
Exciting Five Years of Growth....

Harriet Derwingson
Harriet Derwingson
It has been my honor and pleasure to serve as President of Sonoma Valley Fund for the past two years, following in the footsteps of our Founding President, Whitney Evans, now President Emeritus.  Thanks to the tireless efforts of our board and committee chairs, in just five years, Sonoma Valley Fund has accomplished much in support of our community.  We have:
  • Awarded nearly $200,000 in grants and scholarships to the local community, with grants originating from the George and Phyllis Ellman Fund
  • Developed partnerships with 20 Non-profits committed to start their own Legacy Programs
  • Incubated and secured funding for the Youth Initiative for two years and transferred operation of the highly successful summer programs to the school district to ensure the Youth Initiative's long-term sustainability
  • Conducted a study to help non-profits lower their overhead costs with potential combined savings of $265,000 - $375,000.  The study was done with the pro bono assistance of an alumni team of consultants from Stanford Business School
  • Participated in an extensive community needs assessment in Sonoma Valley with the Community Foundation to recommend grant funding from the Todd Trust
  • Launched the Sonoma Valley Legacy Circle to honor legacy donors in the valley
  • Launched plans for Endow Sonoma Valley Month, October, 2012

We invite the community to participate with Sonoma Valley Fund as we work together to better our community and its quality of life for the long term. 


As always, you can learn more about the Sonoma Valley Fund by visiting our website: Sonoma Valley Fund.


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Harriet Derwingson, President


Sonoma Valley Fund

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Sonoma Valley Fund
Box G
Sonoma, CA 95476
An affiliate of Community Foundation Sonoma County