October 2011
Sonoma Valley Fund Newsletter


In This Issue
SVF Youth Initiative Council Grants $36.5K
SVF's Annual Celebration - Save the Date
SVF Welcomes Friends of Sonoma Valley Library
Chip's Corner
Take the Pledge
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List

Youth Initiative Summer Program is a Winner  


Sonoma Valley Fund is thrilled with results from this year's Youth Initiative Summer Program, designed to help smooth the transition into middle and high school for local students and to provide healthy summer experiences for youths from low-income families.  


Children entering both sixth and ninth grades are at pivotal points in their lives, according to Youth Initiative Council executives Ellen LaBruce and Richard Drew. The program has two components with interrelated goals: to jump-start these transitions for "at risk" youth by getting them comfortable with their new school environment before September and to enable kids from economically disadvantaged families to join in summer educational opportunities that engage their minds and bodies in positive ways.


To read more, Sonoma Valley Fund's Youth Initiative Summer Program is a Winner 


Sonoma Valley Fund's Annual Celebration

RSVP by October 17th!


This year's event will be held on Sunday, October 23rd from 3:00-5:00pm and will take place at the new Hanna Boys Center facilities.  Food, music and a celebration of the outstanding volunteers in the Valley with Sonoma Valley Fund's annual Star Awards!   


RSVP by October 17th to: 


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




SVF Welcomes Newest Non-Profit Partners

Friends in Sonoma Helping/F.I.S.H. is SoFISH logonoma's All Volunteer Emergency Assistance Organization.  Since 1971 F.I.S.H. is a caring bridge for the increasing number of Sonoma Valley neighbors that need help.  We are a group of 160+ volunteers who are happy to serve all who are in need.  F.I.S.H offers immediate emergency assistance keeping families from becoming homeless or going hungry.

For more information about F.I.S.H., visit their website at:F.I.S.H. 



WillMar Family Grief & Healing Center mission is to provide a safe, healing environment and compassionate supportWillMar Center Logo to children and teenagers grieving the death of a loved one or suffering through the trauma of living with a family member with a life-altering illness.  WillMar Center also provides on-site crisis intervention for local schools, civic and faith groups, and businesses when tragedy strikes.


For more information about WillMar Center, visit their website at: WillMar Center  

Chip's Corner
How Frequently Should an Estate Plan Be Updated?

While there is no universal time to update your estate plan, there are some events that indicate that it's probably time to look at the plan again.  

Jeanne and Chip Allen 
Jeanne and Chip Allen
From the individual's side, it's time to update your estate plan when you have experienced a change in your family situation.  For example, the passing of a spouse, the arrival of new grandchildren, or a change in your marital status are all good reasons to update your plan.  Another driver might be a significant change in your overall financial situation, such as selling your home or other large asset.   

From your advisor's side, whenever there is a significant change in tax or inheritance laws or a change in how we can approach doing the planning based upon the changes in the law, those are all drivers of plan updates.  

It's a two-way street.  I ask my clients to call me and tell me when something happens in their family so we can evaluate if a plan update is needed.  My agreement with them is I will tell them when the gift and estate tax laws change and how change might impact their planning.

A general rule is that you should check in with your estate planning attorney every three to five years. The main reason is that the Powers of Attorney documents that are included in most estate plans become stale after a while. Financial institutions don't like to see a ten-year-old Power of Attorney. They are cautious that there might be a more recent one out there.


Chip Allen is an Estate Planning Attorney in Sonoma.  Periodically he will contribute short Q&A's to the Sonoma Valley Fund Newsletter.  Click on the link below for a complete list of the Professional Advisors who are associated with the Sonoma Valley Fund.  Sonoma Valley Fund Professional Advisers 

Take the Pledge
Join Harriet Derwingson and the Board of Sonoma Valley Fund

There was a time when only the very wealthy went beyond their immediate family and perhaps an alma mater, to include gifts to local charities in their wills.  

Well, times are changing. Legacy giving has been democratized and what was once the exclusive domain of the Rockefellers and DuPonts now includes the Smiths, the Joneses and millions of other proud American families.


Not long ago, Microsoft's founder and ex-CEO Bill Gates, his wife Melinda Gates, and financier Warren Buffet, along with 38 other U.S. billionaires, made a very public pledge to leave 50 percent of their wealth to charity. Inspired by the Gates' and Mr. Buffet's action, the State Assembly of California followed up with a formal declaration, encouraging regular Californians to follow suit by pledging 10 percent of their estates to charitable organizations.  


Now it's my turn. As president of Sonoma Valley Fund, I will ask each of our board members and advisors who have not already done so, to take stock of their lives, acknowledge their blessings and accomplishments, and pledge 10 percent of their estates, large or small, to the local charity or charities of their passion.


I hope you will consider doing it, too. Sonoma Valley Fund has established a website to make taking the pledge easy.  It only takes a moment, and your commitment will create a brighter future for our Valley. Take the Pledge 

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