March 2012
Sonoma Valley Fund Partner Newsletter


In This Issue
Partner Support Committee Adds Three New Members
Endow Sonoma Valley Month
Successes in Legacy Giving Programs
Partner Council Update
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Welcome to the fourth edition of the Sonoma Valley Fund Partner Newsletter.  Periodically we will use this newsletter to communicate items of particular interest to our non-profit partners (that are not necessarily of interest to our general newsletter readers). 

Lookout for the next issue of our Partner Newsletter in early June, 2012.  If you would like to contribute to the newsletter, send your article to Joshua Rymer no later than May 15th, 2012.

We'd appreciate any feedback you have on both the content and the form of these types of communications.  Also, if you would like us to add any of the other people on your staff or on your Board to the mailing list, please just let us know.

Sonoma Valley Fund's Partner Support Committee Newest Members 


The Partner Support Committee of the Sonoma Valley Fund has recruited three new members who we think you will want to meet.  Last issue we profiled Kathe Hodgson.  In this issue we introduce you to Jerry Biers.  


Jerry Biers
Jerry Biers

We have all had mentors. Mine was an 8th grade Flowery School teacher in 1955, followed so many other Sonoma High School teachers.  I saw through their eyes how important it is to connect with other people and the value of education.

With several other mothers I started Sunshine Pre-School. Head start came to Flowery School and I volunteered.  When my children started at Sassarini, I volunteered so the teacher could help the few non-English speaking students. Enlisting other parents we became the classroom volunteer program.

In the 1970's, the director of Los Guilucos School for Delinquent Girls in Kenwood showed me that these chronic truants were incarcerated because they had no mentors.  I started a visitation outreach program for them which culminated in some of these girls being fostered by Sonoma families and attending Sonoma High.

It was during this time that I was nominated for Sonoma County Volunteer of the year.

It is so exciting to be part of the mentoring that Sonoma Valley Fund is doing in partnering with Sonoma Non-Profits and bringing together the valuable people assets we have in our unique valley.  


Announcing "Endow Sonoma Valley Month"  

Sonoma County and the City of Sonoma both Designate October 2012 for Legacy Giving  


The Sonoma Valley Fund was organized some five years ago with a goal of creating a sustainable source of funding for Valley non-profit organizations through legacy giving and charitable bequests. Significant progress has been made. Now, Sonoma Valley Fund announces the launch of an important new legacy gift informational program - Endow Sonoma Valley Month.

Endow Sonoma Valley Month is envisioned as a month-long series of public events, seminars, and expert panel discussions designed to build increased awareness within Sonoma Valley of the benefits and mechanics of legacy giving.

For staff and board members of Sonoma Valley Fund's non-profit partners and other interested local charitable organizations, experts will address issues dealing with the creation and effective promotion of legacy giving programs. Other events will bring together the Valley's non-profit organizations to share legacy giving experiences and best practices.


All educational events will be free of charge and will be held in a variety of locations across the Valley, including several hosted by SVF's non-profit partner organizations. The month will culminate in a celebration of legacy giving event open to all who attended or participated in any of the "Endow the Valley Month" activities.

For additional information and to volunteer to making this an important event, please contact Joshua Rymer
Successes in Legacy Giving Programs

Here is the third in our series of Legacy Giving stories, from the perspective of our Non-Profit Partner organizations.   We'll try to include one or two success stories in each edition of this newsletter.  If you have a story you would like to share in our next edition, send it to Whitney Evans no later than May 15th.  

In conjunction with the Sonoma Valley Fund, the

SV Mentoring Alliance logo
Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance

Mentoring Alliance is stepping-up our efforts to put a Legacy Campaign in place. We have already formed an Advisory Council to support our Legacy Program (e.g., brainstorming ideas to ignite legacy giving) and asked each of our Board of Directors to make a legacy commitment.  Happily, all have agreed to participate by leaving a percentage of their estate to the Mentoring Alliance.  In addition, quite a few of our mentor alumni have joined in that effort.  These efforts alone have had a dramatic impact on the number of legacy gift commitments that we now have!  We have been able to increase the total number of commitments from 7 to 25 in just six months! 


With close to 500 loyal and dedicated volunteer mentors in our ranks, it seems like a natural 'next-step' in the fundraising cycle to appeal to our mentors.  We are considering holding a cocktail party at one of our benefactor's homes and inviting potential donors in order to make an appeal. We'll keep you posted.    


Our hope is to make legacy giving as simple and painless as possible, so that every one of our supporters has a clear understanding of how to go about adding our non-profit organization to their will.  To that end, we are working closely with the folks at the Sonoma Valley Fund, whose sole objective this year is to help foster legacy giving within our Sonoma community.   


I urge everyone who has ever participated in, or admired the mission of local non-profits, to build these organizations into your estate planning.  It is one way to assure that their good work will continue long into the future...and perhaps without the excessive fundraising that is needed today!  Please join in this movement...the future of Sonoma Valley depends on it.


Kathy Witkowicki

Executive Director  


If you would like to read the previous editions of Sonoma Valley Fund's Partner Newsletter with other Successes in Legacy Giving, please click here 

Partner Council Update
Sonoma Valley Fund's Partner Council Met on February 10th

The Partner Council met for the second time on February 10th.  The agenda was focused on two items: plans for Endow Sonoma Valley Month and Sonoma Valley Fund's strategy for working more closely with Professional Advisors in the valley. 

In addition, Laura Zimmerman (Sonoma Valley Education Foundation Executive Director) has agreed to join the Partner Council and attended this meeting.  And, Dave Pier, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma Valley has agreed to take a newly created Board seat with Sonoma Valley Fund that will be held by a Non-Profit Partner Executive Director. Dave will serve a one-year term before being succeeded by another Executive Director.  Welcome to both Laura and Dave!  
As always, you can learn more about the Sonoma Valley Fund by visiting our website: Sonoma Valley Fund.




Whitney Evans

President-Emeritus and Chair of Partner Support Committee Sonoma Valley Fund

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