Sonoma County Vintners Foundation opens grant program

Pamela Hamel, left, and George Hamel Jr. of Hamel Family Wines being generous at the Sonoma County Wine Auction in 2017. Those proceeds are being distributed now.(Photo: Erik Castro/for The Press Democrat)

The Sonoma County Vintners Foundation launched its 2018 Community Grants program on March 5 with the proceeds of the Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction. The program is designed to address the most pressing needs in communities across Sonoma County.

The Foundation focuses primarily on four program areas: health and human services, education, environment, and arts and culture.

Health and human services: Supporting the most fundamental needs around behavioral health, housing, homelessness, and hunger, funding will target organizations whose mission specifically addresses one of these four areas.

Education: Aligning with Cradle to Career Goal Area 3: “Every young adult is prepared for and completes the highest level of postsecondary education or training to achieve their career goals.” Community Grants funding for education will focus on programs or projects that provide opportunities for workplace, career and postsecondary learning for youth.

Arts & culture: Knowing that access to arts education can foster a love of learning, improve personal dignity and enhance creativity, funding for the arts will focus on educational experiences for both youth and adults.

Environment: Recognizing the unique beauty and vulnerability of our natural resources, funding will target programs or projects that conserve and/or restore environmentally significant land, waterways and wildlife habitats.

In order to provide broad community-wide support, the Foundation will consider only one proposal from any one nonprofit organization and the maximum funding amount is $10,000.

When evaluating proposals the Foundation will evaluate projects or programs based on how the organizational mission aligns with the Community Grants’ funding priorities; whether the goals, implementation timeline and staffing are clearly defined and achievable; and whether any proposed collaboration with other organizations has been formalized.

The grant timeline is as follows:

Nonprofits are encouraged (but not required) to attend a grant workshop to be held at the Finley Community Center from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on March 1 or on March 6.

Application opens online at on Monday, March 5.

On Thursday, April 12, health and human services/arts and culture grant applications are due by 4 p.m.

On Friday, April 13, education/environment grant applications are due by 4 p.m.

Applicants will be notified the week of May 21.

Community Foundation Sonoma County is the grantmaking partner to the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation. For questions about the online application or grant workshop, contact Annette Williams at 303-9639 or