TAKING CARE OF BOTH.                     
Sonoma Valley Fund Newsletter
In This Issue:
  • A Celebration of Legacy Giving
  • Consulting Team Identifies Savings Opportunities
  • New After School Enrichment
    Coordinator Selected
  • How Can I Change My Will?
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The Sonoma Valley Fund's mission is to strengthen our community through philanthropy and legacy giving.


As 2010 draws to a close, we reflect on what we have been able to impact in our community this year.  The Youth Initiative, in partnership with the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, is providing kids in the valley with meaningful educational programs after school and in the summer.  A local consulting team under the leadership of Stanford MBA grads identified some fairly significant areas of cost-savings for nonprofits in the Valley (see article below) to allow more cash to flow into programs.

Two of our Partners, the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and the Boys & Girls Club, will end the year with more than 16 legacy donors each. We will be working with all our Partners to support the development of their legacy programs. We were able to make grants to environmental, historical preservation and classical music projects from the Ellman Fund, and began a community needs assessment to support grants from the Todd Trust in 2011 and beyond.  All in all, it feels like a pretty good year, despite the slow economy.  We look forward to 2011.


The Board and Advisors of the Sonoma Valley Fund wish you happy holidays, and a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!


A Celebration of Legacy Giving

On Sunday, December 5th, a sold-out group of 100 legacy donors gathered in the exquisitely decorated wine cave of Rick and Renee Dellar to experience a holiday concert performed a cappella by the very talented Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble.  Sonoma Valley Fund, with its second annual celebration of legacy giving, honored two couples, George and Phyllis Ellman and Roland and Hazel Todd, each with great passion for their community and each with the vision to create a lasting legacy.  The music was enthralling, and kicked off the holiday season with flair, followed by champagne, chocolates and other treats.  Sonoma Valley Fund thanks the Valley of the Moon Chamber Ensemble and our most generous hosts, the Dellars for helping to create this unique opportunity to recognize and celebrate legacy giving.
Consulting Team Identifies Savings Opportunities

Led by SVF's Non-Profit Services Initiative steering committee (NSI), a Stanford Business School pro bono Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) recently completed an analysis of $2.4 million of spend categories (insurance, office equipment and supplies, IT supplies and services and marketing expenses) of 14 Sonoma Valley non-profit organizations.  The purpose of the study was to determine the feasibility of using pooled purchasing to reduce non-program costs. Through a combination of external research along with telephone and in-person interviews the team sought to identify those opportunities with the highest probability for savings.  Final recommendations presented to non-profit executive directors, board and finance chairs on October 12 were based on (1) the potential size of benefit; (2) ease of implementation; and (3) sustainability. 

The steering committee and ACT felt strongly that findings could result in significant savings.  Using a conservative prediction of 12% to 17%, combined savings could range from between $265,000 to $375,000.  The analysis indicated that the office/IT equipment, marketing and outside services categories had the highest potential; facilities (excluding rent) and some insurance categories had a low to medium potential; and the opportunity for savings on health insurance was low.

Final recommendations called for establishing an implementation plan and breaking it into manageable phases.  ACT felt the ultimate success of the plan required sustainable support from the Sonoma Valley Fund and Community Foundation Sonoma County now that their work has concluded.  To that end the Fund's board voted unanimously to remain involved and an implementation team consisting of NSI members Karen Collins, Donna Halow and Arlene Curry has been formed to work with the non-profit executive directors and their accounting/finance staffs.  Phase I will focus on the highest potential savings rate categories and the formation of a "preferred vendor program" for the valley and perhaps the entire county.

In addition to Collins, Halow and Curry, the NSI team consisted of Barbara Hughes, Gary Nelson, Pam Gibson, Steve Pease and Suzanne Brangham.  ACT members were Dan Waters and Dave Gilbert.  Sonoma Valley Fund is very grateful for their hard work and optimism that potential savings will be directed into our valley's non-profit programmatic efforts.

Darlene Christensen (seated), Accounts Payable Finance Manager for Hanna Boys Center, and Robyn Cabrera (standing), Finance and HR Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley, analyze one of several online options for non-profit pooled purchasing.


New After School

Enrichment Coordinator Selected


Lyndsey Munn has been hired by the Sonoma Valley Unified School District to serve as the Coordinator for the After School Enrichment Program for Adele Harrison Middle School, with classes slated to begin in January. A Social Studies teacher since 2004, Munn is also acting as the school's academic coordinator this year and coordinated the 2010 Middle School Summer School. 


The After School Enrichment program is the latest project supported by the Sonoma Valley Fund's Youth Initiative.  The Youth Initiative, formed in February, 2010, focuses its efforts on at-risk students in grades 4 through 8.  In June, it sponsored an enhanced summer school program for academically challenged students who were transitioning into middle and high schools, and also mobilized funding for camp scholarships.  Both projects enabled 198 youngsters to participate in meaningful, positive activities during the summer.


In the upcoming After School Program, students will choose from a variety of enrichment classes, offered on two afternoons for six weeks, with a second six-week session planned for late spring. The project-based classes help students acquire new skills or introduce them to a career or college field of study. These classes are in addition to the District's planned academic intervention classes to be held on alternating days, twice a week, thus ensuring the availability of activities for students four afternoons per week. 


Adele Harrison will now join Altimira Middle School and the elementary schools in offering after school programming, and will coordinate plans with Altimira to seek parity between offerings at the two middle schools.  Altimira recently received a major state grant for after school education for at-risk students.


 "I feel strongly that enrichment should be a part of any intervention program," says Munn.  "This type of learning will help engage students and make school an exciting place to be.  I saw the positive effect that engagement and enrichment had on students during our 2010 summer school program."


Dick Drew, chair of the Youth Initiative Council says, "We feel very fortunate to have Lyndsey Munn's guidance in this new program.  We are impressed by her vision and by her proven ability to develop and sustain new programs."  The Coordinator, with input from the Youth Initiative Council, will select a group of highly talented instructors for activities attractive to middle school students. Classes will begin in January.

How Can I Change My Will?

Your Will can be changed through a codicil.  A codicil is simply a legal document which amends your Will. Your Will must not be changed by crossing out words or making any written corrections on it.  You should review your Will when there are any major changes in your family (such as births and deaths), when it is no longer appropriate for the persons named as guardian, or executor to act in that capacity, or when you want to make a gift to charity.


You should seek the advice of a lawyer, as the codicil process is affordable and can be done quickly.


Valerie Pistole, JD, MS Taxation
Member Trusts & Estates Section
California Bar Association

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