Healthcare Foundation

Introducing Healthcare Foundation’s New Strategic Plan

By Jean Lalla, Chair of Strategic Planning Committee

Since the beginning of the ’20s decade, we’ve been inundated with change and turmoil – COVID, social injustice, and political disruptions have fundamentally changed how we live our lives. Although change can be hard, it does allow for us to reflect, review, and adjust how to move forward being the best version of ourselves and our community. This conscious view toward improvement and advancement is reflected in the Healthcare Foundation’s new strategic plan.

As a member of the Board of the Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County and Chair of its Strategic Planning Committee, I am happy to report that we have developed a new Strategic Plan with a strong collective Vision, Mission, Guiding Principles, and Strategies, supporting the efforts in our community to eliminate health inequities in northern Sonoma County. We believe our strategic plan best positions us to support the changes in our community while making the greatest positive impact in our diverse region’s overall health and wellbeing.

We believe the Healthcare Foundation’s Mission as a connector of people and resources uniquely positions us to make significant positive impacts in our region. This is deeply rooted in our guiding principles of Collaboration, Community and Equity – by listening, integrating, trusting, and advocating for our community, we are directly influenced by the perspectives of our nonprofit partners and those they serve. In addition, our supporters are integrated into the plan, allowing us to draw on our community while ensuring alignment of our work with those that will benefit the most, including low-income and people of color, and families with young children.

Our Strategies are laser focused on achieving our Vision and Mission by intentionally directing our resources and efforts. Our two strategic areas of focus are: 1) Health Education and Professional Development; and 2) Community Resilience, Engagement and Support. We will align with partners who share our values to guide our community to a healthier and prosperous future. We believe investments in these strategic areas will help address the larger, systemic issues associated with health inequities by focusing on workforce and professional advancement and community empowerment, while continuing shorter-term, critical initiatives such as emergency grants and representation in collaborative COVID-mitigation efforts. All of our strategies support equitable access to culturally sensitive healthcare and mental health services, and promote overall community wellness.

I deeply appreciate all of you who have supported this process either directly or indirectly. Thanks to you, the Healthcare Foundation is well set on a Strategic Plan aligned with our community, and prepared to deliver the greatest impact.

Please read more about our new strategic plan below.

Summary of Plan


To eliminate health inequities in northern Sonoma County.


We connect people and resources to promote wellness in underserved communities.

Alliance Medical Center staff and ED Kim Bender at the first vaccine clinic in Healdsburg in February 2021

Guiding Principles:

Our guiding principles inspire our actions, including grantmaking, board membership and hiring, strategies, and interactions with one another.

  • Community: We continuously build and sustain meaningful relationships as members of our community. We are dedicated to listening to, respecting and empowering the community, while honoring the diversity of each other’s experience.
  • Compassion: We fully immerse ourselves in the human experience, with sincerity, active listening and kindness. Everyday we strive to embody the words of Coretta Scott King: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
  • Equity: We create solutions together to support those with the greatest needs and the fewest resources including families with young children. Through an authentic exchange of ideas and community, we understand all voices are necessary for change and acknowledge our blind spots.

Strategic Areas of Focus:

To support equitable access to culturally-sensitive healthcare and mental health services, and promote overall community wellness.

Health Education and Professional Development

Current Strategies and Initiatives as of April 2022:

Mental Health Talent Pipeline Project: Full-tuition scholarships for bilingual/bicultural candidates for graduate degrees in mental health professions who commit to their traineeships in northern Sonoma County.

Community Health Workers/Promotores: Support and training for Community Health Workers and Promotores de Salud for their work in both community-based organizations and clinical settings to promote vaccine equity and community health.

HOPE Program at Santa Rosa Junior College: Scholarships for first-generation and disabled students in medical career programs at SRJC.

Community Resilience, Engagement and Support

Current Strategies and Initiatives as of April 2022:

Community Wellness Convenings: Facilitated discussions with individual community members and local organizations about community wellness, and future community wellness centers in Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale.

Responsive, Strategic and Emergency Grants: General operating grants to frontline organizations providing access to physical and mental health services.

Health Equity Communications: Panels, newsletters, social and other media promoting health equity awareness, community resilience and well-being.

County-Wide Collaborations: Participation in collaborative initiatives including Vaccine Equity Committee, Health Action Network, Committee for Health Improvement, Sonoma Connect, Sonoma Funders Circle, Community Health Investment Committee, and more.

Related Articles

Refining and Advancing Our Strategic Vision

Applying a deeper understanding of equity—and the structural barriers to achieving it—to the Foundation’s planning framework has led us to think more expansively and creatively about our work. We have been guided in this process by community listening sessions with local leaders, health advocates and the people who rely on the services provided by our grantees.”

—Board of Directors Vice Chair Peter McAweeney

Read more from Peter on "Strategic Planning in Times of Crisis"

Leading by Listening

“Executive Director Kim Bender and I convened several partners in north county to understand what the needs are, what they’re hearing from the people they’re serving. We brought a lot of cross-sector agencies together. We made sure we had someone representative of our shelter-less population, our Latinx population, someone [focused on] mental health, and so on. Our plan was to engage with the partners and to ask how we can best learn from the folks they serve.”

—Planning Committee member and Community Partner Montserrat Archila

Read more from Montserrat on the strategic planning process

Partnering for Health Equity

“So many in our region have great fortune and wealth. Others don’t have the same resources and find themselves struggling, sometimes with life‐threatening conditions and situations. . . . The pandemic shined a light on dramatic health disparities in our area. We need to focus our efforts in an intentional way on people who don’t have as much; people who are on the margins of our society and need better access to mental health services and health care.”

—Executive Director Kim Bender

Read more from the Press Democrat's coverage

Mental Health Talent Pipeline: Supporting the Development of Community-Based Mental Health Professionals

“When I first moved here, I was looking for a bilingual therapist, someone who could relate to me on a different level, and I couldn’t find one. . . . There’s a need there, and it has only gotten greater because we had the fires and now the pandemic. Now you have this compounded effect on people emotionally.”

Eloísa Masror

Read more about our Mental Health Talent Pipeline Project and the perspectives of our scholarship awardees

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