Believe in the Power of Gratitude

This month, we express our gratitude to our outgoing board members, our Wetzel Award recipients, and all who have supported the Healthcare Foundation in this unprecedented year.

Dear Friends,

Gratitude has proven to be one of the most powerful forces for maintaining our resilience, both on the personal and community levels. The benefits of gratitude as an important mental health principle, according to Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., extend far beyond what we may imagine. Scientific studies have found that gratitude is associated with a host of positive effects, including greater optimism and positive emotions, fewer aches and pains, improved self-esteem, and—crucially—better health.

At the Healthcare Foundation, we have so much for which to be grateful, starting with you: in this issue we are proud to recognize all of our 2020 supporters-to-date. We also wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to those members of our Board of Directors who are stepping down at the end of 2020. In January we will announce a cohort of fabulous new members, but today let’s celebrate those who helped us get here with years of dedicated volunteer service.

And finally, thank you to all the parents, grandparents, teachers, administrators and mental health providers who are working to keep our students safe. We are so grateful to all of you. With promising vaccines now on the horizon, we can begin to envision a brighter 2021.

Giving thanks, remotely,

Kim Bender
Executive Director

Mental Health in Schools in 2020-2021

As we near the end of 2020 and look ahead to 2021, our hearts go out to all the families with students who are unable to physically attend school, or participate in sports and other beneficial activities, or see their friends in person. As reported in the Press Democrat, 7 out of 10 of the more than 4,500 high school students in Sonoma County who participated in a national survey reported that “feeling anxious about the future” was the No. 1 barrier to distance learning. Since 2017, wildfires, power outages, a flood in the west county and now a global pandemic, have resulted in an unprecedented rise in student mental health challenges, and, according to the Healdsburg School District, double the number of suicidal ideation reports.

Through our Mental Health in Schools program, in partnership with donors including the John Jordan Foundation and the Foundation for Global Sports Development, the Healthcare Foundation has funded SOS Counseling Services to support students in Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale since 2018. Please consider making a year-end gift to assist us in continuing to support the Mental Health in Schools program in 2021.

For more on this subject, please see this October 25th article by Kerry Benefield in the Press Democrat.

Celebrating Outgoing Board Members

We wish to express our deepest gratitude for the hard work and service of four board members stepping down at the end of 2020: Denny Martin, Gina Parmeter, Bill Smart and Ross Stromberg. Each made significant contributions, all were generous of time, talent and vision, and all helped make the Foundation what it is today.

We’re grateful to Denny, who chaired the Program Committee and the ED Search Committee. She believes firmly in the importance of listening and learning from the community in every step of grantmaking, and her efforts have made our process more professional for all stakeholders. During her time on our board and throughout her life, Denny has been a champion for the underserved. As our community continues to grapple with the devastating health inequities of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has helped us understand our work in new ways and was a guiding force in establishing our Emergency Healthcare Fund. Denny will continue to serve on the Program Committee as a community member.

Bill has been an incredible advocate for the Healthcare Foundation over the last few years. He has strengthened our relationship with the local wine industry and helped us connect with many new partners. His wine expertise was invaluable as we coordinated wine donations for our fundraising events. He too supported our efforts to find new leadership on the ED Search Committee. His tenure on the board has coincided with a difficult time for our community. Bill always approached these new challenges with an open heart and mind and helped the board pivot time and time again to meet the needs of our region.

A longtime supporter, Gina co-chaired Wine, Women & Shoes for three years, helping us raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, all before joining our board in 2018. Gina is a true connector and has introduced the Healthcare Foundation and our mission to many like-minded people who themselves have become enthusiastic supporters. She also played a key role in securing badly needed funding for Alliance Medical Center’s prenatal education program, a transformative series of classes for low-income mothers-to-be. Gina has always been a steadying force during times of transition.

Ross has been a tireless advocate for dental care access in the vulnerable communities we serve. He also provided us with an important legal perspective during his time on the board. Ross, who has lived in Healdsburg for many years, is deeply connected to the broader community and brought many new supporters to the Foundation. Ross served as pro bono legal counsel to the PDI Surgery Center during his tenure on that board. He was awarded our Spirit of Wetzel Award in 2016.

Service on the Foundation’s board requires dedication, sacrifice and mission focus. Denny, Bill, Gina and Ross have provided these, and much more, for many years. We will miss their presence, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to them.

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Special Thanks to our 2020 Wetzel Award Event Sponsor

Thank You to All Our 2020 Supporters!

Our most sincere thanks to everyone who supported us during this unprecedented year! For a complete, weekly-updated list of our 2020 donors, click here.

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