Uplift Partnership

We're excited to share the latest news about the Nepantlah bicultural clinical training program, and to begin introducing you to our latest Mental Health Talent Pipeline students. We also highlight our supporters Gene and Suzanne Valla, and our new board member Anne Morrison Rousseau.

Kim Bender

Hello Friends,

As someone who has worked in the nonprofit sector for most of my professional life, I find the readiness of people in Sonoma County to support and collaborate with one another a distinguishing feature of our region. 

As we Uplift Partnerships this month, it’s in recognition not only of some exciting new initiatives the Healthcare Foundation has joined (more on this below) but in recognition of the spirit of partnership behind advances in health equity county-wide. 

This spirit informs the Healthcare Foundation’s mission, and it animates the “community power building” approach helping to transform philanthropy nationally toward a more egalitarian, truly transformative endeavor: creative partnerships in which once-marginalized communities gain the resources to create the viable solutions and innovations they need and want.

A case in point is the seed funding the Healthcare Foundation helped to secure for the online program Nepantlah, described below in our conversation this month with On the Margins’ Daniela Domínguez.

Truly addressing a crisis in mental health towards greater health equity means supporting future community leaders, and we do that by lowering barriers to education and training. To learn more about the human stories behind these concepts, please see our conversation below with Sophia Flores, one of our three latest scholarship awardees.

This month we also highlight our wonderful partners Gene and Suzanne Valla, who have generously offered to amplify community support for the Mental Health Talent Pipeline program with a $40,000 match of all new donations. I hope you will partner with us in this proven-successful and ongoing effort at community power building by following the donation link here.

And I am thrilled to welcome our new Board member Anne Morrison Rousseau! Anne started with us in June and is already a powerful voice helping to steer us into the future of health equity. Read on to hear from Anne about joining the mission of the Healthcare Foundation.

Thank you for reading about what we are accomplishing together in partnership, and for being a part of this gracious community.

With appreciation,

Kim Bender
Executive Director

The Mental Health Talent Pipeline program is in the Press Democrat this month!

We are thrilled and honored to see our Mental Health Talent Pipeline spotlighted in the Press Democrat! The article by Martin Espinoza is testament to the remarkable strides we’re making in closing the gap in access to quality mental health care by empowering local bilingual and bicultural students to pursue their master’s degree in counseling psychology. You can read the article here.

Dra. Daniela Domínguez on the Launch of Nepantlah

The online workshop is a component of the new Bicultural Clinical Training Program

Dra. Daniela Domínguez of On The Margins (photo by Christopher Chung, The Press Democrat)

Last month the Healthcare Foundation announced grants from Kaiser Permanente and Peter E. Haas Jr. Family Fund to support a new Bicultural Clinical Training Program designed to strengthen the pipeline of local bilingual/bicultural mental health practitioners and increase access to mental health services for Spanish-speaking residents. A collaboration with Humanidad Therapy & Education Services and On the Margins, the Bicultural Clinical Training Program has two components, both of which launch this month.

The first component comprises two new traineeships in Cloverdale, sponsored by Humanidad, that will provide professional supervision in Spanish for bilingual graduate student trainees—a rare but important asset to bilingual trainees serving a Spanish-speaking population. You can read more about this component in our recent conversation with Humanidad’s executive director, Juan Torres.

The second component is also a rare and much needed offering: a culturally responsive online curriculum, developed by On the Margins, open to trainees as well as already licensed therapists serving bicultural and/or Spanish-speaking clients in Sonoma County as well as around the country. 

Nepantlah, as the online program is called, “exists as a virtual space where mental health practitioners can share knowledge, deepen skills, and nurture connections with others who are working with Latine populations and striving to be socially, culturally, and linguistically responsive.”

We spoke recently with On the Margins CEO Doctora (Dra.) Daniela Domínguez about the inspiration and need for the program, which draws in part on her own experience as a bilingual student and counselor and, later, a professor and clinician supporting bicultural students, trainees and early career clinicians serving Spanish-speaking clients.

Full Article (5 min read)

Meet Mental Health Talent Pipeline Scholarship Awardee Sophia Flores

Sophia Flores

Sophia Flores is one of three new students entering USF Santa Rosa’s graduate program in counseling psychology this fall with support from the Healthcare Foundation, in the form of a  Mental Health Talent Pipeline scholarship. 

The scholarship covers full-tuition and traineeship stipends for bilingual, bicultural students pursuing a Master of Arts degree in USF’s counseling psychology department with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) who commit to working in the mental health field in north county. 

Sophia, who describes herself as “a proud lifelong resident of Sonoma County,” grew up in Santa Rosa. “Which means I spent my summers playing at Memorial Beach in Healdsburg and picking out treats from the candy store on the Town Green in Windsor,” she relates in a recent exchange with the Healthcare Foundation. “Sonoma County has always been my home. It was never a question of ‘if I would come back’ after finishing my undergraduate degrees.”

After college, Sophia took a job as a traveling medical case manager, working mostly in Cloverdale and its underserved Latine community. “I became familiar not only with the tight-knit community there, but also the great needs of some of the most isolated residents,” she recalls. The experience convinced her she could do more as a bilingual licensed therapist.

“I spoke with clients at length and found myself grasping for understanding of their situation. Having no one else to regularly rely on for healthcare, I often took the brunt of the emotions and fears the clients felt but were rarely able to express. I felt ill-prepared to address their emotional needs but an immense desire to do more to help. That led me to pursue a degree in Marriage Family Therapy. While I felt discouraged by what I saw, I also felt more determined than ever to pursue the opportunity to further my education.”

Below, Sophia expands on the experiences and values that have led her to pursue a career as a mental health professional serving northern Sonoma County.

Full Article (3 min read)

Donor Spotlight: Gene and Suzanne Valla

Gene and Suzanne Valla

Beginning this summer, Healthcare Foundation supporters Gene and Suzanne Valla are generously matching up to a total of $40,000 all new contributions to the Healthcare Foundation’s innovative Mental Health Talent Pipeline (MHTP) scholarship program—this includes contributions by first-time donors or donors whose last gift was at least 24 months ago, as well as any further contribution added to an existing donation.

For well over a decade, the Vallas, who have made their home in Dry Creek Valley since 1981, have been active supporters of local nonprofits serving Sonoma County. It was through their association with the Community Foundation Sonoma County that the Vallas came to learn of the Healthcare Foundation, and the Valla Family Foundation soon became one of our Healthcare Hero sustaining donors to the work of eliminating health inequities in northern Sonoma County.

The Vallas remain particularly enthusiastic about the Healthcare Foundation’s MHTP program, as they stressed in a recent conversation.

Full Article (1.5 min read)

To make a donation in support of the Mental Health Talent Pipeline that will be matched
dollar-for-dollar, click DONATE below or contribute by mail to
PO Box 1025, Healdsburg, CA 95448.

Welcoming new Board Member Anne Morrison Rousseau!

Anne Morrison Rousseau

We are delighted to have Anne Morrison Rousseau join us as a member of the Healthcare Foundation’s Board of Directors. Anne stepped onto the Board in June, bringing her experience, acumen, and a strong desire to support her adopted home of Sonoma County to the work of advancing health equity.

A native Californian who moved to the Bay Area from Southern California in 2009, Anne is a graduate of the UCLA School of Law and the Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer, General Counsel and Secretary of Essex Property Trust. She and her husband Chris had been coming up to northern Sonoma County with family and friends for years, marrying in Healdsburg in 2015 and continuing their love affair with the region by investing in a place of their own on Dry Creek Road in 2019.

“And then the pandemic hit,” recounts Anne in a recent conversation. “We have twins, a boy and a girl. They’re now almost six. We found real solace up in this area during Covid, where the kids could run around. My husband and I were working remotely at this point. We finally looked at each other and said, ‘Why are we doing this only on weekends?’ So here we are.”

Anne met Healthcare Foundation Board Chair Courtney Cochran as a fellow parent with kids at the same daycare her twins attended. “We connected over kids and career and also philanthropic desires,” recalls Anne. 

Eager to deepen their roots in Sonoma County through community service, Anne and her husband were soon attending Healthcare Foundation events and hearing directly from those working on the frontlines of the local health safety net. 

“Among all the friends we made in the community, everyone spoke so highly of the Healthcare Foundation’s mission,” says Anne. “And then attending the events, hearing from the recipients of the grants, and seeing the drive to provide health equity and mental health services to the underserved in our community, all this really drew me in.”

Full Article (2 min read)



Thursday, November 2nd 8:30-10:00am
Dry Creek Kitchen, Healdsburg
Event Tickets Available Starting Monday, September 11th

Please join us for a celebratory breakfast reception and ceremony honoring this year’s recipients of the annual Wetzel Community Leadership Award and the Spirit of Wetzel Award.

The Wetzel Community Leadership Award and Spirit of Wetzel Award are named for the late Maggie and Harry Wetzel, longtime friends of the Healthcare Foundation and generous members of our community. The memory of the Wetzels lives on through award honorees who exemplify humanitarian leadership values in action on a daily basis, with an impact on our community that is truly beyond measure.

Related News + Stories