Press Release: Nominees Announced for the 1st Annual Heart of Sonoma County™ Awards

Katelyn Willoughby

Katelyn is fired up about communication, marketing, business development, and working with diverse leaders in the North Bay to help them carry out their missions.

May 2021

Media Contacts:
Katelyn Willoughby-Bagley Director, Marketing & Communications 


Linda Jacobs, CEO
415.479.5710 x300,

Nominees Announced for the 1st Annual Heart of Sonoma County™ Awards

View 126 nominations in eight award categories

SONOMA COUNTY, CA, 5/25/21 – Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) is pleased to announce the nominees for the 1st Annual Heart of Sonoma County Awards™.

“Our mission with the Heart of Sonoma County is to celebrate the hard work and dedication of nonprofits and volunteers,” said Linda Jacobs, CEO at CVNL. “This past year has been a challenging one, and nonprofits and volunteers have risen to the occasion. We look forward to coming together as a community and showcase the progress we are making.”

Heart of Sonoma County supports the local nonprofit sector, giving $35,000 to outstanding organizations and the committed individuals who serve them. Everyone is invited to the virtual Awards Ceremony on Thursday, June 24th, 2021, from 11:00am to 1:00pm, where recipients will be announced, and all nominees will be recognized. This year’s event is free, and donations are welcome and appreciated. Visit to register.

The event is supported by Presenting Sponsor Comerica Bank and awards are made possible by the generosity of our sponsors (see below).

And the Nominees are…

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

Volunteer of the Year (Sponsor: Exchange Bank)
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

Excellence in Board Leadership
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

Youth Volunteer of the Year (Sponsor: Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund)
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

Excellence in Innovation (Sponsor: Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma)
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

Excellence in Leadership (Sponsor: Medtronic)
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

Achievement in Nonprofit Excellence (Sponsor: Community Foundation Sonoma County)
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 As Loving Support Assistance Dogs
Paws for Love Foundation
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

Lifetime Achievement (Sponsor: Redwood Credit Union)
Christine Castillo
Luz Curiel
Herb & Jane Dwight
David Goodman
Ann Hancock
Juan Hernandez III
Jeanne Marie Jones
Rick Phillips
William “Willie” Tamayo

Nominees are also listed online at


About CVNL: For over 50 years, CVNL has advanced nonprofits and volunteerism by strengthening leadership, encouraging innovation, and empowering individuals in their communities. Passion alone isn’t enough when it comes to creating strong nonprofits. That’s why we work with aspiring and established leaders and volunteers every day to help them build the skills and connections that can take their impact to the next level. Together we offer comprehensive programs that support nonprofits and volunteers including training, executive search, customized consulting solutions, volunteer services, and corporate engagement. Heart of Marin™, Heart of Napa™, and Heart of Sonoma County™ events support nonprofits of every size and mission through recognition and cash awards. Other programs and services include the Sonoma Human Race, Secret Santa, Court Referral Program, and Volunteer Wheels. We provide disaster preparedness training and serve as an Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC), overseeing spontaneous volunteers and donations for Napa, Marin, Solano, and Sonoma Counties in the aftermath of a disaster. We believe that with confident and prepared leaders and volunteers, our nonprofits will be better equipped to create healthy, happy communities. Visit to discover more.