Todd Trust leaves $8.5M to Valley
An $8.5 million trust bequeathed by Sonoma Valley residents Roland and Hazel Todd to the Sonoma Community Foundation, will soon be used to address the health and well-being of Springs residents.
While little has been publicly announced about the Todds, Roland Todd died in 2009 and the couple's estate notified the Community Foundation later that year that it was beneficiary of the Todd Trust, which was to be managed for the first five years by Wells Fargo Bank.
According to the bequest, the Todd Trust funds are to be used, primarily in the Sonoma Valley, in three specific areas:
• To support health and human services, especially for the sick, needy and elderly.
• To underwrite under-funded government services, such as local fire, library and healthcare districts.
• To support preservation of open space, specifically through land and trail acquisition.
According to foundation officials, The Todd Trust, which will be administered through the Sonoma Valley Fund, represents the largest bequest ever given in Sonoma Valley philanthropy and is the second largest bequest to the Community Foundation. The trust currently generates between $250,000 and $300,000 annually and when management transfers to the foundation, it will be divided equally into a permanent endowment and an expendable capital fund.
To prepare for the eventual disbursement of grant funds in the Valley, Community Foundation staff created a Todd Trust team and initiated an exhaustive, in-depth analysis of the needs of Springs residents. As part of that effort they commissioned a study by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (SCEDB), which revealed demographic and economic data to help guide their planning.
Among findings from the SCEDB study were that the poverty rate in the Springs is more than three times that of the rest of the Valley, that adult rates of illiteracy are much higher in the Springs and that unemployment is substantially higher there than in the rest of the Valley.
Foundation staff also conducted some 75 interviews with community organizations, elected officials and community members.
The data collected convinced foundation staff that, according to a recent press release, "If access to critical services such as health care, adult education and employment training can be made more easily available to residents in this area, the impact will be significant."
In the interim, the Todd Trust revenue has been used to commit $77,000 as a challenge grant for the Sonoma Valley Fund's 2011 Youth Initiative.
Next step for foundation staff is to complete a plan for translating the Todd Trust into future grants to target existing organizations and structures to address Springs needs. The foundation is now working to identify individuals, groups and organizations with which it can partner to address mutual social service priorities.
By the end of 2011, the foundation hopes to have made enough progress on work plans, budgets and evaluation tools to roll out a three-year plan for involvement in the Springs.
For more information about the Community Foundation plans to implement the Todd Trust, contact Robert Judd, vice president for programs, at 579-4073, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.