Where volunteers, nonprofits, and leaders shine.

Meet the 3rd Annual Heart of Sonoma County Nominees

$35,000 in awards and eight categories, recognizing and honoring Sonoma County’s outstanding nonprofit volunteers, leaders and organizations.

The Corporate Community Service Award will be presented to a business that has fostered and encouraged volunteerism and philanthropy among its employees.

2022 Nominees:

Avid Coffee

Century 21 Epic

Chandi Hospitality Group

Kaiser Permanente Northern California

Summit State Bank

Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation Advanced Imaging

The Volunteer of the Year Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an individual (other than a board member) who has provided exemplary volunteer service to a Sonoma County nonprofit organization.

2022 Nominees:

Sponsored by: Kaiser Permanente Northern California 

Stella Agudelo, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa

Randy Cook, Sonoma Ecology Center

Nancy Cummings, Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition

Paul Desideri, Habitat for Humanity Sonoma County

Virginia Fuentes, Council on Aging

Ariela Guererro, Common Ground Society

Meghan Heald, Girls on the Run North Bay

Joanne Larson, Food for Thought

Carola McAndrews, Sweetwater Spectrum

Geoff Peters, Northern Sonoma County CERT

Kathy Sharp, Redwood Empire Food Bank

Ariel Stone, Chimera Arts

Heidi Wood, Common Ground Society

Elaine Woodriff, The Bird Rescue Center

The Excellence in Board Leadership Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an exceptional volunteer member of a Sonoma County nonprofit board of directors.

2022 Nominees:

Sponsored by: PGE

Rodney DeMartini, Food for Thought

Patrick Fanning, Occidental Center for the Arts

Vince Figueroa, Elsie Allen High School Foundation

Bill Gabbert, Committee on the Shelterless (COTS)

Mona Hanes, Reach for Home

Linda Mansell, Windsor Presbyterian Church Food Pantry

Lynn Martin, Sonoma Community Center

Susan Preston, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

Liza Prunuske, Conservation Corps North Bay

Karla Schikore, Petaluma Downtown Association

The Excellence in Innovation Award and $5,000 will be presented to an individual, organization or partnership that has developed new, creative and effective strategies for advancing solutions to critical issues in our community.

2022 Nominees:

Sponsored by:  Comerica Bank

Chef Heather Ames, Sonoma Family Meal

Common Ground Society

Council on Aging, Intergenerational Meals on Wheels and Community Table

First Responders Resiliency, Inc.

Integrative Healers Action Network

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency

Luana Vaetoe, Becoming Independent

Petaluma People Services Center

Side by Side

TLC Child & Family Services

Windsor Presbyterian Church Food Pantry

Up to five Youth Volunteer of the Year Awards of $1,000 each will be presented to full-time middle or high school students serving a Sonoma County nonprofit in the community, education, or faith environment. 2022 Nominees: Sponsored by: Peter Haas. Jr. Family Fund Rieley Bond, Technology High School
Kaori Citti, Technology High School
Sofia Fonseca, Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary
Grace Hiserote, Cardinal Newman High School and Petaluma Health Center
Faline Howard, Sonoma Ecology Center
Jonathan Ling, Sonoma Ecology Center
Ava Mertens, Sweetwater Spectrum
Memphis Roetter, Redwood Empire Food Bank
Nathan Ross, Healdsburg High School Young Democratic Socialists of America
Kesar Sidhu, Technology High School
Alayna Siwy, Technology High School
Owen Uhr, Pets Lifeline
The Excellence in Leadership Award and $5,000 for the recipient’s nonprofit will be presented to an executive director who has demonstrated excellence in leadership and whose vision has inspired meaningful and lasting change benefiting the organization and community. 2022 Nominees: Sponsored by: CVNL
Ellie Cohen, The Climate Center
Duskie Estes, Farm to Pantry
Susan Farren, First Responders Resiliency, Inc.
Susan Fette, TLC Child & Family Services
Letitia Hanke, The LIME Foundation
Susan Jan Hornstein, Well Trained Horses
Madeleine Keegan OConnell, YWCA Sonoma County
Amanda Kitchens, Our Village Closet
Ashton Kluttz, The Bird Rescue Center
Lynne Moquete, Una Vida
Larkin OLeary, Common Ground Society
Geoff Peters, Northern Sonoma County CERT
Sandy Piotter, Friends in Sonoma Helping (FISH) of Sonoma Valley
Erica Vogel, Community Matters
The Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence Award and $5,000 will be presented to an organization that has demonstrated exemplary service to its constituents. 2022 Nominees: Sponsored by: Community Foundation of Sonoma County 10,000 Degrees
Common Ground Society
Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County
Community Support Network
First Responders Resiliency, Inc.
Friends in Service Here (FISH) of the Santa Rosa Area, Inc
Heartfelt Help Foundation
Kaiser Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency
LifeWorks of Sonoma County
Make it Home
Northern California Public Media
Our Village Closet
Reach for Home
Sweetwater Spectrum
TLC Child & Family Services
United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay, Inc.
Windsor Presbyterian Church Food Pantry

The Lifetime Achievement Award and $5,000 for a nonprofit of their choice will be presented to an individual who has made a positive and notable difference during their career by significantly contributing to address a cause, issue or discipline. 

2022 Nominees:

Sponsored by: Redwood Credit Union

Richard Coshnear
Maxine Freitas
George Loyer
Phyllis Rosenfield

Join Us to Celebrate!

Reserve your tables and seats to join us for the 3rd Annual Heart of Sonoma County Awards Luncheon at the Friedman Event Center on Thursday, June 15, 2023. 

Space is limited. Please reserve your tables and seats early.

About the Event

Heart events have celebrated the achievements of nonprofits and volunteers for decades. We have produced similar events – Heart of Marin and Heart of Napa Awards – for years, and have been able to award hundreds of thousands of dollars back to nonprofits and the individuals who serve them.

The Heart of Sonoma County will not only help support nonprofits with critical funds, but provide a platform for sharing success stories, innovative strategies, and information on services offered with the broader community. Now more than ever nonprofits deserve recognition for the life-changing, vital services they provide every day. 

The community is encouraged to nominate in all award categories. Award category panels are hand-selected and meet to select recipients in each category. CVNL facilitates these panels, but does not have a vote. 

Everyone is invited to attend the awards ceremony where the recipients are announced and all nominees are recognized for their contributions. It is an afternoon filled with inspiration, gratitude, and some (happy) tears!

  • The awards have specific criteria that the award panels read multiple times to distinguish the nominations from each other. Make sure to answer all of the questions, as the panel will notice if you don’t. They are smart people, often past recipients.
  • Each award has different questions. If the award criteria asks for specifics, such as strategies, initiatives, measurable outcomes, outputs or challenges, provide it! 
  • If asked to provide examples from past 12 months, pick out the most substantial or impactful ones that include qualitative data that speaks to the greater impact on the community.
  • Stories and examples can help illustrate the response to a question. 
  • The judges consider only what is on paper – assume the reader knows nothing.
  • It is fine if your work goes outside of Sonoma County, but remember this is an award for service in the particular county – focus on that.
  • When it says ‘briefly’ we mean brief – don’t use all of your space to state the organizations mission and services. 
  • While it is fine to nominate in more than one category, please do so only if you have strong candidates and not to increase your chances. Getting more than one nomination in the same category doesn’t increase your chances. Each nomination is treated as its own, and in fact they will be judged against each other. It is better to have one strong nomination per award.
  • Notify the nominee in advance of the nomination as they can often provide important information to strengthen the nomination and make sure they can attend the event.
  • Most important – make sure to complete all sections, staying within the guidelines on font and number of pages, put the event date on your calendar, and answer the questions!

To review all of the nomination questions and rules please click here.

Submit nominations here.

That’s great! Each nomination received is reviewed and judged separately by Award Panelists. However, the number of times someone is nominated does not influence the likelihood of that person/organization being selected as the recipient. This is why it is so important that you submit complete and thoughtful nominations which address ALL of the corresponding questions. 

The event is our opportunity to publicly acknowledge all nominees and their commitments to the community. Since we do not announce award recipients in advance, all nominees are expected to attend. 

We would love to see you there! Register here.

We are excited to bring the 3rd Annual Heart of Sonoma County to our community.

Thank You Presenting Sponsor

Award & Media Sponsors