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Impact100 Sonoma Suspends Process, Gives Unrestricted Grants to All Semi-Finalists

April 01, 2020 8:04 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

In light of the current coronavirus crisis, Impact100 Sonoma has suspended its traditional grant review process and instead opted to divide the pool of $303,000 equally among all grant semi-finalists. The move is intended to directly benefit the local Sonoma Valley nonprofit community, many of whom are serving frontline roles in providing immediate relief and basic necessities to the hard-hit community. In all, 23 organizations will each receive $13,170 in unrestricted funds, which may be used as the organizations see fit, not necessarily for the program or project for which they originally applied (full list included below).

While this is an unprecedented move for the 11-year-old organization, Grants team member Dana Simpson-Stokes believes it is very much in keeping with Impact100’s focus on “trust-based philanthropy,” which recognizes that nonprofits themselves are best-positioned to make decisions about what they need, and will do so wisely. Simpson-Stokes said, “In Sonoma Valley, we are uniquely poised to apply this concept because we are a small community and our local nonprofits are well-known to us.”

For an organization that prides itself on the simplicity of its “one woman, one vote” concept, the decision to distribute the funds without a vote of the full membership on a slate of finalists was not taken lightly. As Co-President Lynne Lancaster remarked, “We gave this long and thoughtful consideration. We truly believe in the democratic philosophy of our giving group; however, we wanted the money to be available very quickly, and it would have been nearly impossible to vote on proposals that were written before this pandemic. Ultimately our dedicated board came to this decision, and we hope our members will be proud of the impact their funds will have by making these exceptional trust-based gifts during this challenging time.”

With one out of every three of its 303 members serving on a Grant Review Committee, Impact100 traditionally engages in a thorough vetting process of paper screening, financial review, site visits, committee nomination, and finally a vote by the full membership on a slate of finalists. Early last month, the Grant Review Committees had reached the third stage, with candidates identified for site visits. However, it quickly became apparent that this process would not be able continue given the widespread disruption and the shelter-in-place order. While reviewing all available options for proceeding with the distribution of $303,000, the Grants team made the final recommendation to divide the funds among the candidates identified for site visits. Co-President Claudia Sims praised the careful deliberation of the Grants team, saying “this situation is without precedent, but our team thought of everything and we’re grateful to them and to the 23 organizations we’ve entrusted with our funds.”

Those 23 organizations are:

·      10,000 Degrees

·      Audubon Canyon Ranch

·      Becoming Independent

·      Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH)

·      Jack London Park Partners

·      Kid Scoop News

·      La Luz

·      North Bay Children’s Center

·      On the Move

·      Pets LifeLine

·      Social Advocates for Youth

·      Sonoma Ecology Center

·      Sonoma Land Trust

·      Soroptimists International Sonoma

·      Sonoma Overnight Support (SOS)

·      Square Peg

·      Sonoma Valley Education Foundation

·      Sonoma Valley Mentoring

·      Sweetwater Spectrum

·      Teen Services Sonoma

·      Transcendence Theatre Company

·      Valley Vibes Orchestra

·      Vintage House

Members of Impact100 were sent a detailed FAQ with more information about the process, and they were invited to attend Q & A sessions with the Grants Oversight Chair and Co-Presidents to answer any lingering questions that remain.

A Thriving Sonoma Valley

Empowering women of Sonoma Valley to invest in a more sustainable nonprofit community through collective giving and responsible stewardship

Impact100 Sonoma is a member of Philanos

Impact100 Sonoma
P.O. Box 1958
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 939-5007

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