This month we are uplifting big ideas—something we arguably do every month, but what we highlight below includes truly game-changing initiatives for the health and wellbeing in our region.
First, we offer an update on the local Guaranteed Basic Income (GBI) pilot program, which began as an initiative between the Healdsburg City Council and Corazón Healdsburg, and which we first discussed in this newsletter exactly one year ago. The idea—which in recent years has been embraced around California and the U.S.—has grown into a pilot program encompassing Sonoma County as a whole.
In our Mental Health Talent Pipeline (MHTP) spotlight this month, we have a conversation with Eloísa Masror, a MHTP scholarship awardee who is now working as a bilingual, bicultural therapist at the Sonoma County YWCA. Eloísa’s insights are brimming with the importance of mental health access and the inspiring resilience of her clients.
Also below, you’ll find a fascinating conversation with Dr. Gary Barth, my fellow Healthcare Foundation Board member, who returned recently from a trip to Nepal and Bangladesh with his BBH Eye Foundation. His work in Asia offers some unexpected parallels to the work of the Healthcare Foundation here in our region, and is a truly inspiring vision of what’s possible when a few people cross borders to join forces with a big idea.
Speaking of the Board, I am happy to be able to welcome four new colleagues to our team this year. Last month, we introduced Yudith Correa and Ann Elston, and below we introduce you to Mona Hanes and Ingrid Maltrud. I am pleased to acknowledge the Healthcare Foundation’s ongoing effort to diversify our Board to better reflect the north county communities we serve while attracting some of our brightest, most committed local leaders. Welcome to all four!
This month is also, of course, Black History Month, when we celebrate the achievements, gifts, and resilience of our African American family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. I want to take this occasion to highlight the important discussion Los Cien hosted last month, in which I was honored to participate, “An Honest Conversation About Anti-Blackness.” If you weren’t able to join us in January, I invite you to review the recording when you can.
A hard conversation to be sure, but exactly the type of conversation that our society should pursue if we are serious in realizing the dream as described by Dr. Martin Luther King in his landmark “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. As the organizers put it so well: “This conversation was designed to make us feel uncomfortable and open our minds, to change entrenched mindsets that perpetuate racism and anti-blackness within our Latino community and beyond. We hope this topic inspires personal exploration and understanding of one’s self and leads to a stronger and more diverse movement of community champions and change agents who believe in equity building.”
I am reminded that it was already five years ago that Alma and I launched Nuestra Comunidad. That same year, we attended our first Noche de Amor, the Healthcare Foundation’s annual fundraiser and community celebration. I can’t forget how impressed we were by the power of that event to galvanize our northern Sonoma County community behind one simple but big idea: that all who live and work here have an equal chance to live their healthiest, happiest lives through equitable access to healthcare and primary and mental health services.
That big idea is part of Nuestra Comunidad’s mission, too, and it ultimately drew me to serve on the Healthcare Foundation Board, where every day I am energized by a collective movement that uplifts every life as worthy of our respect and compassionate concern.
I want to personally encourage you to save the date (June 3!) and plan to join us for this year’s Noche de Amor. If you’re like me, it could just be a life-changing experience.
Board of Directors
Guaranteed Basic Income Update
A Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot Program launches in Sonoma County: What are the implications for local health and wellbeing?
In addition to supporting frontline community-based organizations, the Healthcare Foundation is focused on successful upstream interventions that improve and sustain health equity in our region.
One year ago this month, we featured in this newsletter a story about an exciting initiative between the Healdsburg City Council and Healthcare Foundation grantee Corazón Healdsburg to plan and instigate a two-year pilot program that would provide—and evaluate the economic and health impact of—an unconditional cash stipend to local families with young children. Over the last year, that guaranteed basic income (GBI) project has grown into a county-wide initiative.
We are happy to share the news that Sonoma County’s own GBI pilot program, Pathway to Income Equity, launches this month. First 5 Sonoma County is leading the program, which will have the participation of 305 local families—defined as pregnant individuals and/or households with a child under six years old, and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Eligibility also included living at or below 185% of the federal poverty line. Over 6,000 Sonoma County families applied, and the 305 participants were selected by lottery.
Pathway to Income Equity is being made possible with funding from the County of Sonoma, City of Healdsburg, City of Petaluma, and City of Santa Rosa American Rescue Plan Act dollars and private investments from Corazón Healdsburg. And the pilot is operating in partnership with community organizations around the county. Social Policy Research Associates, meanwhile, will evaluate the program’s outcomes over its 24-month duration.
Board Member Spotlight: Gary Barth
Battling Blindness in Nepal and Bangladesh
In addition to his local ophthalmology practice, Healthcare Foundation Board member Dr. Gary Barth has long been committed to serving overseas to eradicate operable blindness (most of the world’s preventable blindness is due to cataracts) and improve eye health generally in developing countries in Asia. In 2019, Gary co-founded BBH Eye Foundation with colleague Jack Blanks to continue this work in areas not yet reached by other charities. In December, BBH was in Nepal and Bangladesh establishing free eye clinics in collaboration with local partners.
Gary’s work with BBH Eye Foundation is not only inspiring in itself, but also offers some unexpected parallels with the work of the Healthcare Foundation here in northern Sonoma County. Gary kindly agreed to speak with us recently about his December mission with BBH in December, and share his insights into how to best support local initiatives for community health.
Abroad and at home, Gary continues to inspire others in support of equitable health access. Through Barth Vision & Optical in Healdsburg, Gary supports the Healthcare Foundation’s mission as a Healthcare Hero Community Partner and invites community members to join him at ANY AMOUNT as a Healthcare Hero.
Mental Health Talent Pipeline Spotlight
Recent Graduate and Practicing Therapist Eloísa Masror
The Healthcare Foundation launched the Mental Health Talent Pipeline (MHTP) in 2018 to address the dire shortage of Spanish-speaking and bicultural therapists in northern Sonoma County. Today, in partnership with University of San Francisco, Santa Rosa campus, and with the support of our generous donors, MHTP is expanding equitable access to mental healthcare by providing full-tuition scholarships—and supporting paid traineeships—to aspiring bilingual, bicultural mental health professionals with a commitment to serving north county’s Latinx and Spanish-speaking residents.
Recently, we caught up with Eloísa Masror, an MHTP alum who received her master’s degree from USF Santa Rosa in May 2022. Eloísa is now working full-time as a bilingual, bicultural therapist at YWCA Sonoma County, where she spent her traineeship during her third year of graduate school. Eloísa serves a diverse set of clients including survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence, a population that the YWCA Sonoma County has long specialized in supporting. Before pursuing her career as a mental health professional, Eloísa was deeply engaged with local communities as a journalist at Santa Rosa’s Press Democrat, where she covered education, government, and the Latinx and immigrant communities and later served as a local news editor.
We began our conversation by asking Eloísa about the nature of her work at the YWCA.
Welcoming Our New Board Members
The Healthcare Foundation is steered by a dedicated Board of Directors and small but mighty staff. We are pleased and deeply grateful to welcome four new members to our Board this year. Having last month introduced Yudith Correa and Ann Elston, below we introduce our colleagues Mona Hanes and Ingrid Maltrud.
The Healthcare Foundation Board strives to reflect the diversity of the region we serve. The thoughtful leadership, volunteer labor, and material support of our Board members have made possible over two decades of impactful service to the health and wellbeing of our northern Sonoma County region’s most underserved and vulnerable neighbors. We thank all of our Board members past and present for their compassionate service to the community, and bid a hearty welcome to our new colleagues!
Mona Hanes was born and raised in South Carolina and enjoyed being part of a large family. Mona and her husband, Kevin Gay, moved to San Francisco in 2007 and purchased a home in Healdsburg in 2011. Since moving to Healdsburg, they have both been active contributors broadly within the community through donations of time and money.
Mona attended Winthrop University, obtaining a BA in Economics. Beginning her career at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta as an economic research assistant, Mona spent over 40 years at various financial institutions. Since retiring in 2018, Mona has spent her time enjoying the Sonoma County lifestyle, as an active member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and as an enthusiastic volunteer in her Healdsburg community. Mona also served as a Board Member for Reach for Home, including as Board Chair from 2018 to 2020. She continues to stay active at Reach for Home through the Finance Committee, which she and her husband co-lead.
Mona and Kevin enjoy travel, hiking, music of all types and, most of all, are voracious readers.
Ingrid Maltrud is a brand marketing, research and communications expert with more than 25 years of experience working with clients in financial services, technology and healthcare. Her expertise and leadership allow her to bring together the vision of strategy, the power of brand, the insights of research, and the potency of human-centered marketing experiences to activate unique strategies for her clients. Ingrid also has a background in bodywork and various healing practices, and has worked in the corporate space to support the financial, mental and physical wellbeing of employees. As a leader, she is adept at bringing together diverse groups or teams to inspire creative collaboration that leads to actionable ideas.
Originally from New Mexico, Ingrid received her BA in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and was first drawn to the Healdsburg, Russian River area in the mid-1990s, settling full-time in Healdsburg over ten years ago. She began her relationship with the Healthcare Foundation not long after, working in 2016 with then Executive Director Debbie Mason on strategic planning during a period of evolution for the organization, in which mental health entered as a priority focus of its mission pursuing health equity for northern Sonoma County. Ingrid also partnered in the early canvassing of community members and healthcare providers that laid the groundwork for the Healthcare Foundation’s increasing role in supporting greater equity, access, and coordination across the region’s health networks.
In addition to the Healthcare Foundation, Ingrid has applied her wide-ranging expertise as a board member of Z Space, a performing arts organization in San Francisco. Passionate about inclusivity and the power of diversity, Ingrid looks forward to finding ways as a member of the Healthcare Foundation Board to engage north county residents of all backgrounds and abilities in the support of community health.
Your legacy gift can be one of the easiest and most thoughtful ways to leave a lasting tribute to your belief in equitable access to physical and mental health in northern Sonoma County. If you are considering leaving a legacy gift to the Healthcare Foundation, we invite you to contact Development Director, Mary Ott at 707-395-4928 or email@example.com to
If you have already chosen to leave a legacy gift to the Healthcare Foundation, please let us know so we can recognize you along with our other Legacy Circle donors. As an added incentive, a generous anonymous donor will contribute $5,000 for new or newly disclosed commitments to the Legacy Circle in 2023. Contact us today and multiply your impact!
Save the Date
We invite you or your business to join our community of Noche sponsors!
To make your pledge click the link below or contact Mary Ott, Development Director at (717)542-4625 or mott@healthcarefoundation.