Where volunteers, nonprofits, and leaders shine.

Heart of Sonoma 2nd Annual

2nd Annual Awards

Save the Date, June 9, 2022

For the 2nd Annual Heart of Sonoma Awards Luncheon

at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.

Call for 2021 Nominations opens soon.


1st Annual Heart of sonoma


Watch the event recording.


Enjoy event highlights!


Read our press release.


Read the event program.

2020 Recipients

Congrats to all of our 2020 award recipients! 

Gene Girimonte, Alzheimer’s Association of the North Bay.

Gene Girimonte met the love of his life, 35 years ago. Together they dealt with loss, civil rights issues and eventually Alzheimer’s disease. With the support of the Alzheimer’s Association (AA), Gene was able to care for his husband until he passed away in 2018.

In 2019, Gene found himself with extra time. He knew he wanted to volunteer at one of the local organizations that had helped him. AA seemed like the perfect fit as he already knew so many people there.

Gene expressed interest in becoming a volunteer Community Educator to deliver the Association’s core curricula relating to living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. With his caregiver experience he was a perfect fit.

After completing formal training, Gene officially became a Community Educator able to lead three programs designed for caregivers. Unfortunately, by mid-March, the shelter in place orders were initiated and his volunteer role was put on hold.

After successfully transitioning their education programs to a virtual platform, Gene took on the challenge to go virtual. His commitment grew knowing that while the current crisis would end, dementia will continue.

In 2020, Gene presented 20 programs with 475 constituents including presenting at the annual education conference, delivering programs for two LGBTQ organizations, quarterly presentations of “The 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s” to Kaiser Santa Rosa patients and various meetings with elected officials. He has also helped with fundraising and is always willing to share his experience and resources.

Gene, thank you and congratulations.

Sponsored by: Exchange Bank 

Mary Henderson, Chops Teen Club.

The mission of Chop’s Teen Club is to provide a safe, fun and productive place where Sonoma County teens can engage, connect and discover their true potential.

Formed as a supporting organization under a local foundation in 2001. Mary led the board through the transition to become an independent public charity in 2020. 

A part of the process was negotiating a funding plan that resulted in a contribution of $4.5 million dollars over several years.

In May 2020 Chop’s Teen Club was declared an independent charity.

The last quarter of 2020, Chop’s had not raised revenue as projected. Mary came up with a fundraiser, spending many hours assisting with the creation of promotional materials. The fundraiser generated $12,000, bringing critical funds to the organization, and allowing the board and staff to end the year with optimism.

In partnership with the executive director, Mary was determined to continue to work, using the time sheltered as an opportunity to plan and review many board operations, keeping the board present and responsive to support the staff. 

Lorez Bailey, Executive Director, said, “I cannot imagine what the last year would have been without Mary’s support. Mary “zoomed” by my side attending webinars, staff layoffs, financial scenario meetings, and mental health check-ins while she had to worry about her own business, family and the loss of her father. Mary handled it all with grace and an understated confidence, ensuring we never lost sight of Chop’s mission.”

Congratulations Mary!


American AgCredit (pictured: Krista Sherer, Communications Manager).

Improving the lives of farmers and ranchers is at the center of American AgCredit’s mission. They are committed to the success of their customers, as well as the engagement of their employees in service to the communities where they live and work.

Their Local Community Impact Program engages employees with nonprofits such as Ceres Community Project where employees support the preparation and delivery of meals and groceries to families that are dealing with a serious health crisis.

Employees are given 16 paid hours annually for volunteering and many also serve on nonprofit boards.

In November 2020 after a difficult year with the pandemic, they started the Employee Giving program where each employee is allotted $500 to donate to one of the Community Impact partners. 181 employees participated in Sonoma County.

Their Next Gen Ag program serves youth in agriculture through partnership with Future Farmers of America and 4-H, providing interest-free funding to youth involved in animal projects, and offers college scholarships for students pursuing careers in agriculture. Last year 12 local AgYouth programs received $164,500.

The Food For People program supports nonprofits working to improve food and nutrition security among our most vulnerable populations by focusing their efforts on food banks, nutrition educators and hunger relief organizations.

Congratulations AmericanAg Credit!

Humane Society of Sonoma County Community Veterinarian Clinic.

The Humane Society of Sonoma County ensures that every animal receives protection, compassion, love and care.

This award is presented specifically to the Community Veterinary Clinic (CVC). CVC has served as a national model with the purpose to prevent avoidable euthanasia and keep pets in their homes and out of shelters by providing accessible, affordable urgent and emergency veterinary care to those who cannot afford market-rate care.

It began as a free clinic opened to serve the urgent needs of pet owners during the 2017 wildfires. In addition to fire-impacted animals, they saw many pets desperate for long-overdue critical care. The magnitude of demand for advanced care (beyond vaccines and wellness care) from the community’s low-income, marginalized and at-risk pet companions moved them to establish the CVC as a permanent community service.

At the time they opened in February 2019, there was no other clinic of its kind locally and few examples nationally. They were among the first to develop a low-to-no-cost clinic based at an animal shelter that provided emergency surgery and treatment for advanced illness and injury.

The CVC has been welcomed with gratitude and relief by private practice vets who can offer clients an alternative to euthanasia when cost of critical care proves prohibitive.

They also partner with Compassion without Borders and Dogwood Animal Rescue Project, who rely on the CVC to help their clients.

Relying solely on grass-roots donor funding plus anything clients can contribute, CVC operations had to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible. They coordinated existing shelter medical infrastructure, operations, staffing and supplies. They implemented cross-training of medical staff and developed scheduling protocols. With long hours on the part of medical leadership and above and beyond commitment on the part of staff and volunteers, they operated the clinic first one, then two days per week and are preparing to extend hours again.

Broken hearted families come to them to surrender pets for treatable conditions for which they can’t afford care. They are overjoyed to learn the CVC can help them keep their pets healthy – and in their loving arms.

The clinic’s success is measured by assessing types and numbers of cases and client demographics so they know they’re reaching those with the greatest need.

A sampling of data from the first full year includes:

  • 1872 Appointments 
  • 297 surgeries
  • 66% Non-White clients
  • 60% Identify as Living with a Disability
  • 53% Identify as Seeking Employment or Unemployed Due to Disability
  • 18% Identify as Retired/Fixed Income
  • 38% Impacted by Fires
  • 6% CVC is their First Visit to a Veterinarian

Thank you and congratulations!

Sponsored by: Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma

1st Youth: Tanna Curtis, County of Sonoma Public Law Library and Ceres Community Project. 

Tanna Curtis, a Junior at Maria Carrillo High School, is a volunteer intern at the County of Sonoma Public Law Library.  She assists patrons in utilizing the law library, helping them find resources and helping them with legal issues.

She recently applied for and received grant money and is in the process of establishing an organization designed to educate Latina women about their legal rights and the other resources that are available to them to help prevent instances of domestic abuse.

Tanna is also a volunteer at Ceres Community Project helping to deliver nutritious foods to people who have serious illnesses to help them recover more quickly.

Once COVID hit Tanna transitioned to food delivery and making encouraging cards for recipients. She also took on the project to update the delivery instructions and translated them into Spanish. 

Tanna, thank you and congratulations!

2nd Youth: Benjamin Eisley, Boy Scouts of America Troop 135.

As COVID-19 disrupted education, the economy, and the day to day lives of everyone, Ben, a senior at Northwest Prep Charter, helped his boy scout troop go virtual.

He figured out how to host Zoom meetings experimenting with chat, audio, and screen-sharing settings to keep scouts on track. He attended adult committee meetings sharing his six years of experience of working with his peers to help the adults figure out how to support each age group.

Because of Ben’s efforts, the younger scouts have begun working as a team, while the older scouts have started planning the details of a trip to the Grand Canyon.

Last fall, he planned and coordinated the construction of an entire outdoor classroom at Northwest Prep. He worked with the principal to determine the dimensions, divided the project into smaller parts for teams to tackle and called lumber stores to ask for donations.

On the day of the build, Ben greeted scouts, passed out instructions, then spent six hours darting from scout to scout – clarifying, directing, and lending a helping hand.

Despite the pandemic, Ben attended meetings and service projects doing everything he could to support his community and fellow scouts. He helped plan socially distanced hikes, build a deck for outdoor services at the Church of the Roses, and raised money for a trip to the Grand Canyon by picking up and recycling Christmas trees. His devotion to his community has been commendable during these unprecedented times.

A scout for six years with over 1,400 hours, his service includes many outdoor restoration projects, helping to prepare and serve food at a variety of churches and evacuation centers, serving Thanksgiving lunches to victims of the fire, and raising funds for charity.

Congratulations, Ben, for all you have done to support the Scouts and our community.

Third Youth: June Scafani, McDonald Ranch. 

June, a freshman at American School, is a key volunteer at McDonald Ranch, a nonprofit serving youth and animals throughout Sonoma County during summer camp and after school programs.

June volunteers as a camp counselor and with horse riding lessons. She has turned out to be one of the best volunteers they have had in 30 years of running their program.  

June brings a friendly smile every day, along with a great attitude and an exceptional knowledge of the equestrian experience.

June worked with the lead counselor throughout the summer supporting all types of activities from archery to ropes courses and art classes.

She excelled helping the equestrian trainer. That trainer broke both of her feet, spending the summer in a wheelchair. June helped keep the program going without missing a beat. She groomed and tacked up horses daily, led children as a side walker and never lost her smile.

To support families during COVID, McDonald Ranch started an Educational Support Program to serve a cohort of 14 children. June decided to be a significant part of that, choosing to do a year of home schooling so that she could continue to serve the children.

June arrived at 7:30 each day ready to help feed the animals, greet the children and get them going on their zoom meetings. She helped navigate the use of the internet system that was supporting the children, many only five or six years old, moving from child to child.

Congratulations, June.

heart of sonoma county awards youth

Fourth Youth: Cassidy Dorr, Ceres Community Project. 

Cassidy, a sophomore at Maria Carrillo High School is a volunteer at Ceres Community Project, a nonprofit organization that produces organic food for clients with life-threatening illnesses. She serves in the kitchen and garden preparing meals for 200+ people and harvesting and planting crops.

During the summer of 2020, Cassidy volunteered in the garden due to the kitchen closing and helped with food deliveries (with her mom as the driver!).

In October, her family was evacuated due to the Glass fire’s proximity to their house. They did not lose their home but were displaced for six weeks. Her parents drove her from the various hotels so she could continue her shift.

Cassidy became a teen leader which involved a higher level of responsibility in the kitchen and garden and identified her as a volunteer that other teens could look to for guidance. She was the youngest volunteer on her shift, yet had the highest level of authority.

Cassidy encourages inclusivity and friendliness among fellow volunteers and helps to foster confidence, initiative, and a positive attitude in everyone.


Final Youth: Flor Casteneda, The Pad Project. 

Two years ago, during a mother daughter movie night, Flor, a senior at Cardinal Newman, watched a documentary about the social stigma and obstacles faced by young women abroad who are beginning menstruation.

She resonated with this problem and did some research that opened her up to the issue of poverty and young women’s restriction to healthcare access.

Flor contacted The Pad Project, a global nonprofit initiative dedicated to the principal that “a period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.” The project’s mission is to create and cultivate global partnerships to end menstrual stigma and empower women worldwide.

After numerous conversations, a plan for a project crystallized and Flor made this a part of her senior graduation requirement.

Over ten months, she reached out to local business leaders and forged a partnership with a socially conscious catering company to host a fundraising event that would incorporate the film, Period. End of Sentence.

The logistics of putting on a fundraising event amidst the pandemic seemed undoable. However, with a collective community effort, it was a complete success, surpassing her fundraising goal of five thousand dollars.

She allocated the funds towards an international project to install low cost “pad machines” that are easy to operate, use locally sourced natural resources, and require minimal electricity. They employ local women and help jumpstart a micro-economy.

In speaking with students prior to the event, she was saddened to learn the menstruation stigma prevalent with many.  Some shared their embarrassment when they had to ask for supplies or how they hide tampons in their sleeves as they fearfully race to the restroom hoping no sees them.

With her new interest in global-community health, Flor looks forward to hands-on experience and learning how to bring a public health program to fruition.

Congratulations Flor!


Sponsored by: Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund

CVNL Heart of Sonoma County

Alan Silow, ED, Santa Rosa Symphony. 

The Santa Rosa Symphony’s mission is to inspire and engage residents with the finest musical performances and educational programs.

Alan helped to rejuvenate a capital fundraising campaign that raised $145 million to build Sonoma State University’s Green Music Center, where the Symphony has been the resident orchestra since its opening in 2012.

To ensure the organization’s continued relevance, Alan, hired in 2002, has overseen the diversification of the Symphony’s programming beyond the core Classical Series to reach new audiences. He implemented a Family Concert Series that blends orchestral music and theater, a Symphony Pops Series that showcases the best in popular music of the past 80 years, a film in concert with live orchestra, and a free summer concert for the community.

Under his tenure, the music education services have grown substantially to bridge the gap in arts education in and out of the classroom.

They offer the most extensive educational outreach of any regional orchestra in California, serving 30,000 annually, enabling inclusion for underserved students in performance opportunities while providing equitable access to in-school music programs and live performance.

Alan oversaw the Symphony’s Youth Orchestra’s first-ever international concert tours to China and Europe, empowering young musicians.

Like most performing arts organization, when COVID lockdowns were announced the Symphony had to cancel a significant number of performances.

Following the initial lockdowns, he advanced payment to the musicians for all cancelled and postponed performances. 

Most orchestras were making the decision to go dark for the year. Alan launched the first-ever virtual concert series hiring as many musicians as he could while meeting safety parameters. Streaming the concerts for free they reached more people than with their sold-out performances.

The Symphony also pivoted all education programs to safe operations, keeping students engaged.

Managing the largest operating budgets in their 93-year history, Alan has overseen 17 consecutive years of operational surpluses, from 2003-2020.

He has also overseen the growth of the Symphony’s endowment from $1.5 million at the start of his tenure to $16.5 million today.

Alan implemented the first strategic planning system and put in place a succession plan for all senior staff positions.

He has sought ways for the Symphony to be of service to the community. In 2015, they held two free concerts that raised significant disaster relief funds, with all staff, musicians and conductors donating their services after Hurricane Katrina, raising $60,000 for Louisiana, more than any other U.S. orchestra raised that year for relief.   In 2017 after the North Bay wildfires, they raised $115,000 that went entirely to Sonoma County relief agencies.

Congratulations, Alan!

Sponsored by: Medtronic 

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa (pictured: Len Marabella, Chief Executice Officer).

Since 1954 Catholic Charities has been a leader in providing direct services in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Humboldt, and Lake Counties, helping people find and keep housing, achieve financial stability, and pursue the dream of legal U.S. residency and citizenship.  

Successive wildfires, the COVID pandemic, and systemic injustices have put people’s housing, financial wellbeing, and entire futures in jeopardy.   Experts predict a 40% increase in homelessness in the US over the next year, and one in seven children in California faces hunger.   

Catholic Charities’ services get at the root causes of poverty to help clients achieve lasting success. Never a simple handout, they provide housing, rental assistance, and financial counseling which aim to restore independence. 

Whether they be an unsheltered child, domestic abuse survivor, an immigrant, or a hungry senior, staff meets clients where they are to work together to find the solution that is right for them. 

Last year, 

  • 864 people exited homelessness for permanent housing.
  • 620 Dreamers renewed their DACA status.
  • 454 people became naturalized citizens. 
  • 940 people put their lives back together after a disaster.
  • 186 seniors were able to maintain their independence at home.
  • 1789 people grew their income.
  • 415,000 meals were provided.

Their Immigration Department is one of the top nonprofit service providers in the U.S., providing more DACA applications and renewals than any other nonprofit organization in the state.  They were one of the only organizations in the region processing applications during the early months of the pandemic. 

Catholic Charities is a recognized leader in homelessness services in Sonoma County, partnering with others to provide urgent COVID relief services.  They stepped up to lead local efforts to relocate people experiencing homelessness to safe socially distanced sites to prevent the spread, coordinating meals, and case management to help people transition to permanent housing as quickly as possible.  

They responded to twice as many calls for food and rental assistance and distributed over $1M in client assistance this past year.   

Catholic Charities is the driving force behind Caritas Village, a $120M comprehensive housing and services development being developed in downtown Santa Rosa. Together with Burbank Housing and Santa Rosa Community Health, Catholic Charities navigated the complex public approval process and fundraising hurdles necessary to begin construction.  

They recently completed a new strategic plan and have an executive team with over 35 years of collective leadership within the organization. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, provides recommendations on training, outreach, and organizational structure to ensure program offerings meet the wide-ranging needs of the community. 

Congratulations to the board, staff, and volunteers of Catholic Charities!

Sponsored by: Community Foundation Sonoma County

William “Willie” Tamayo. 

Willie Tamayo is a lifelong supporter of charitable organizations in Sonoma County. He has contributed his time and leadership skills serving on over ten boards and his philanthropic contributions include multiple nonprofits.

Mr. Tamayo’s passion for education led him to dedicate himself to disadvantaged youth and the Latinx community.

He sees himself in the many students who come from social-economic challenges. He leveraged his background, knowledge, skills, relationships, and resources to support initiatives and organizations that promote learning, skill building and confidence in underprivileged youth.

Dating back to the early 1990s, Willie and his family have supported Social Advocates for Youth (SAY), which provides formerly homeless and foster youth with a safe space to learn independent living skills, how to manage their traumas, navigate the “real world,” and strive to fulfill their potential.

His financial and leadership support of SAY led to the creation of Tamayo Village in 1996, which helps our most vulnerable youth by providing safe and affordable housing, counseling, skill-building, and job and education support.

Willie combined his love of education, food and youth by contributing leadership and resources to Guy Fieri’s Cooking for Kids Foundation Advisory Board from 2009- 2012.

Perhaps Willie’s greatest accomplishment was helping to create the Elsie Allen High School Foundation. Elsie Allen has the highest percentage of socioeconomically disadvantaged students in Sonoma County. Over two-thirds are eligible for free and reduced lunch, over 80% are students of color, one-third are English learners, and the majority are the first in their families to graduate from high school and go to college.

As the Board President for six years, Willie built strong relationships between the school and the community.  They raised $56,000 in the first year, awarding $40,000 in scholarships to the Class of 2014. Since then, the Foundation has awarded $430,000 in scholarships to students attending vocational schools and colleges. The scholarship endowment now at $700,000 and is slated to reach the one million by the end of 2022.

Willie spearheaded the Compact for Success Program creating partnerships between Elsie Allen, its “feeder school,” Lawrence Cook Middle and Sonoma State. This program increases access to higher education for low-income students by getting them on the college track starting in middle school and culminating in their enrollment at Sonoma State.

By increasing access and reducing barriers to education and career opportunities, Willie has helped countless youth over decades realize their dreams of higher education, good jobs and fulfilling careers.

As a personal role model and first-generation college graduate, Willie has inspired generations of youth to work hard, pursue their dreams and pay it forward. These values were instilled in him at a young age. His parents founded La Tortilla Factory in 1977. They worked hard to make sure their five sons understood the value of education, even though neither of them graduated from high school. 

After earning a business degree at UC Berkeley, he returned to work in the family business growing it into one of Sonoma County’s largest and most successful businesses employing hundreds of locals. 

After working hands-on in building La Tortilla Factory for 30 years, Wille was able to let go of the day-to-day operations and find opportunities to share his time, talents, and treasure with educational organizations.

Willie’s mother always reminded him and his brothers that no matter how much or little an individual has, they should always be able to share a little bit of it with the less fortunate.

It is an honor to recognize him for his support of life-changing programs that prioritize diversity, education, and social justice as a path to a stronger, equitable, inclusive, and more successful community.

Congratulations, Willie.

Sponsored by: Redwood Credit Union

2020 Nominees

Congrats to all of our 2020 nominees! 

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.

Dolores Barrett & Richard Baril, LandPaths
Walt Basinger, Redwood Empire Food Bank
Lyndsey Burcina, Community Matters
Gisele Casha, Humane Society of Sonoma County
Melinda Corsberg, Council on Aging – Meals on Wheels
John Dennison, FISH of Santa Rosa
Gene Girimonte, Alzheimer’s Association of the North Bay
Dave Hendrickson, Food For Thought
Bill Hess, Committee on the Shelterless 
Archie Julian, Reach for Home
Cathy Kittle, United Way of the Wine Country
Richard Lawton, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods
Martyn Lewis, Canine Companions for Independence
Helen Medsger, Sonoma Family Meal
Joanne Muldoon, Giant Steps Therapeutic Equestrian Center 

Sponsored by: Exchange Bank 

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.

Rick Abbott, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa
Emila Aguilar, California Human Development
Paul Chakmak, Vintage House Sonoma Senior Center
Tony Crabb, Career Technical Education Foundation
HolLynn D’Lil, The Graton Green Group
Bridget Doherty, Corazón Healdsburg
Carol Eber, Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation
Jennifer Emery, FISH of Santa Rosa
Bill Gabbert, Committee on the Shelterless
Mary Henderson, Chop’s Teen Club
Sean Pryden, PEP Housing
Keith Roberts, Active 20-30 Club of Santa Rosa #50
Kelly Roberts, Extended Child Care
Kim Rothstein, Sonoma Family Meal

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

American AgCredit 
Exchange Bank 
G & C Auto Body 
Kaiser Permanente 
Keysight Technologies 
Sutter Santa Rosa Surgery and Endoscopy Center 

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.

Anova Center for Education 
Becoming Independent 
Better Beginnings 
California Programs for the Autistic, Inc. 
Committee on the Shelterless 
Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County 
Diya Zanga, Extended Child Care 
Humane Society of Sonoma County, Community Veterinary Clinic
Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Family Medicine Residency 
Marion Weinreb, The Living Room Center 
North Coast Builders Exchange 
Redwood Community Health Coalition 
Santa Rosa Symphony 
Sonoma County Community Organizations Active in Disasters 
Sonoma Safe Routes Program – Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition The Goodwill Guides Program – Goodwill Redwood Empire 

Sponsored by: Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma

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.

Dominic Arcuri, Petaluma People Services 
Sascha Burk-Chavez, Redwood Empire Food Bank
Flor Castaneda, The Pad Project 
Tanna Curtis, Ceres Community Project
Cassidy Dorr, Ceres Community Project 
Benjamin Eisley, Boy Scouts of America Troop 135 
Maleah Gibson, John Jordan Foundation Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund Match Drive 
Justin Hou, CNH Key Club 
Anthony Maher, My Stuff Bags Foundation 
Cannon Meiers, Secret Santa 
Marisol Morales, Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley Teen Program 
Zoe Pippin, FISH of Santa Rosa
Alexa Pologeorgis, New Life Christian Fellowship 
Sunshine Sather, Girls on the Run Sonoma County 
June Scafani, McDonald Ranch, Inc. 
Caroline Stewart, Petaluma Wildlife Museum
Ashley Talbot, Marguerite Hahn School
Brittney Talbot, Marguerite Hahn School 
Megan Welch, Secret Santa

Sponsored by: Peter E. 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.

Andrew Bailey, Anova Center for Education 
Deborah Blum, Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary 
Priscilla Call Essert, Vintage House Senior Center
Christine Castillo, Verity 
Brandy Evans, Goodwill Redwood Empire 
Anne Greenblatt, Village Network of Petaluma 
Kathryn Hecht, Alexander Valley Film Society 
Clark Houston Lewis, Roustabout Theater 
Kaarin Lee, FISH of Santa Rosa
Crista Nelson, Senior Advocacy Services 
Alan Silow, Santa Rosa Symphony 
Dr. Brad Weaver, Sonoma Country Day School

Sponsored by: Medtronic 

The Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence Award and $5,000 will be presented to an organization that has demonstrated exemplary service to its constituents.

Alexander Valley Film Society 
Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin 
California Programs for the Autistic, Inc. 
Career Technical Education Foundation 
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Santa Rosa 
Common Ground Society 
Committee on the Shelterless  
Dogwood Animal Rescue Project 
Farm to Pantry 
FISH Food Pantry 
Food For All/Comida Para Todos 
Food For Thought 
Girls on the Run Sonoma County 
Goatlandia Farm Animal Sanctuary 
Goodwill Redwood Empire 
Heartfelt Help Foundation 
La Luz Center 
Make It Home 
Our Village Closet 
Paws for Love Foundation 
Paws for Loving Support Assistance Dogs  
Pediatric Dental Initiative 
PEP Housing 
Santa Rosa Symphony 
Social Advocates for Youth 
Sonoma County Family YMCA 
Sonoma Safe Routes to School Program – Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition  
The LIME Foundation 
United Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay 
Vintage House Sonoma Senior Center 
Vital Immigrant Defense Advocacy & Services

Sponsored by: Community Foundation Sonoma County

The Lifetime Achievement Award and $5,000 for the individual’s nonprofit(s) 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. This is the only nomination category where additional material is accepted.

Christine Castillo 
Luz Curiel 
Herb & Jane Dwight 
David Goodman 
Ann Hancock 
Juan Hernandez III 
Jeanne Marie Jones 
Rick Phillips 
William “Willie” Tamayo 

Sponsored by: Redwood Credit Union

Nomination Tips

Nominating Procedures

Please complete your nominations online according to these FAQ’s:

The deadline for nominations is April 30th, 2021, by 5:00 p.m. All nominations are being accepted online here.  

You may nominate in multiple categories and self-nominations are accepted, although we welcome you to nominate a community partner who inspires the work you do.

Please review the questions associated with each award category. You will be required to respond to these in your narrative.

The submitted narrative should be in 12-point font, 1” margins, and may not exceed three (3) pages. No supplementary materials will be accepted and could disqualify your submission (unless you are submitting a nomination for Lifetime Achievement).

Answer each question as completely as possible, providing data/outcomes/examples if asked. 


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 within your narrative/s.

After completing your online nomination, an automatic email will be sent to the email provided for the nominee and nominator letting them know of the successful submission.

About the Event

We’re excited to bring this recognition event to our Sonoma County community!

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.

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!

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. This year’s event is free for all community members! 

We’d love to see you there – click here to register

Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor!


Comerica Incorporated is a financial services company headquartered in Dallas, Texas, strategically aligned into three major business segments: the Business Bank, the Retail Bank, and Wealth Management. Discover more by visiting https://www.comerica.com/.

Award & Media Sponsors

Support the Event

We are currently seeking Award Sponsors for next year’s event.

Click here to download our Award Sponsor package, or contact Dawn: dbell@cvnl.org

We are offering the event for free this year, so donations are welcome and appreciated. You can text-to-donate or click below to donate online. Thank you for your support!

Text “CVNL” to 930-212-3456 to donate now. 

heart of sonoma county sponsorship