Where volunteers, nonprofits, and leaders shine.

1st Annual Awards

CVNL heart of sonoma county

Every day, passionate individuals like you dedicate their work to advancing our communities. CVNL will honor local leaders and their causes at the 1st Annual Heart of Sonoma County Awards on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations! 

All nominees will be recognized at the event in June, and recipients will be announced in each category for work done in 2020. Thanks to the generosity of our Awards Sponsors, we will be able to give $35,000 back to deserving organizations. Let’s recognize the humanity of those who work and volunteer within our nonprofit sector! 


And the nominees are...

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 Jullian, 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 
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 in the following categories (partial sponsorship may be available in some categories):

  • Corporate Community Service
  • Excellence in Board Leadership

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