Ukraine-relief leader Kaeti Bailie named Sonoma County’s Woman of the Year by Sen. Dodd

The longtime Sonoma Valley resident was honored for her work supporting Ukraine since it was invaded by Russia.|

Sen. Bill Dodd named Kaeti Bailie, a longtime Sonoma artist, environmental activist and open-water swimmer as Sonoma County’s Woman of the Year for her work to bring humanitarian aid to residents Sonoma’s sister city, Kaniv, Ukraine.

“I’m surprised and grateful — it’s a great honor and as you know, it takes a village and the amazing people on the Kaniv sister cities team deserve this as much as me,” Bailie wrote in an email to the Index-Tribune.

Bailie, chair of the Sonoma Sister Cities Association’s Kaniv Committee, has helped the organization raise over $125,000 in relief efforts since Russian troops invaded the country in February 2022. The funds benefit the Kaniv/Ukraine Friendship Society, an organization that works directly with the city.

The Sonoma Sister Cities Association, which Bailie helped establish in 1985, has raise the money through fundraising events, donations and various other efforts.

The money raised has helped to support efforts to feed, house and clothe over 4,000 displaced people who are staying in Kaniv, or passing through to safer countries. In addition, the organization has provided money for protective gear for their civil defense and generators for local volunteer and refugee centers. Kaniv was bombed in mid-November, causing destruction to critical infrastructure, forcing mandatory electricity conservation such as power shut-offs, shuttered in-person schools and reduced windows for miles to shards of broken glass.

“Kaeti has been a true ambassador for Sonoma who has devoted countless hours to this important work with her community’s sister city in Ukraine,” Sen. Dodd said in a March 23 press release. “At a time when the people of Kaniv needed it most, Kaeti has led significant fundraising efforts that generated money for food, clothing and help repair damaged infrastructure. She’s made a huge difference and I am proud to recognize her for her achievement.”

Bailie moved to Sonoma from Southern California in 1972 to teach art at the former Sonoma State Hospital (which became Sonoma Developmental Center). She had previously attended San Francisco State University and San Francisco Art Institute. She raised three children in the community and was active in the early anti-nuclear and environmental movements, earning a “woman peacemaker” award from the then U.S. Rep. Barbara Boxer.

Bailie also formerly owned Artifax Art-to-Wear, a clothing store on the Sonoma Plaza, for 14 years.

Contact the reporter Rebecca Wolff at

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