Nomination deadline: April 7, 2023, 5:00 PM

Where volunteers, nonprofits, and leaders shine.

3rd Annual Heart of Sonoma County Nominees Award Categories

$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:

Sponsored by: 

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: 

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: 

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: 

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

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: 

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

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

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