The Healthcare Foundation is the only funder exclusively focused on health for the northern region of Sonoma County. We lead, convene, connect, and invest in healthcare service providers and nonprofit organizations, as well as create our own initiatives, to support strategic goals in our three focus areas: Mental Health, Early Childhood Development, and Access to Healthcare. Thanks to the incredible generosity of our donors, we can identify issues and collaborate with other nonprofits and funders to build solutions to our community’s greatest challenges. Unrestricted gifts give us the flexibility to respond quickly to the areas of greatest need, and provide the greatest impact towards the health of our friends, neighbors, colleagues and loved ones.
For detailed information on our grantees, check out our annual report.
The Healthcare Foundation’s legacy of supporting health access in our community began in the late 1990s with fundraising to save Healdsburg District Hospital (HDH) from closing its doors. In subsequent years, we provided grants to our local clinics to support uninsured and underinsured residents in our area, and raised funds to expand the HDH Emergency Department, CT radiology suite, Certified Stroke Center, and a new MRI.
In 2018 and 2019, we continued our investment in local healthcare through our scholarships to nurse practitioner students at Sonoma State University. We’ve awarded $15,000 in scholarships to students Anna Brunn and Charys Hayden. These scholarships reinforce our commitment to keep quality healthcare close to home, and bring much-needed healthcare professionals to our hospitals and clinics. These students will leave a lasting impact on the health and well-being of everyone who lives, works and plays in our beautiful region.
Mental Health Resilience in Schools
Regular meetings with north county school superintendents provided sobering feedback that children of all ages lacked the social and emotional coping skills necessary to manage life’s disappointments and trials—a situation that has only grown worse after the 2017 wildfires. Yet, in 2018, Sonoma County made decimating cuts to mental health budgets which essentially eliminated all funding for prevention and early intervention services in public schools from Windsor to Cloverdale. The Healthcare Foundation, with a grant from the John Jordan Foundation and matching contributions from other donors, stepped in to fill this critical gap. Through this program, schools are now receiving much needed counseling and emotional support and we have supported over 2,500 high school students through trauma informed prevention and intervention programs.
The Healthcare Foundation is accepting donations to close out funding for this program. If you would like to give to this program, please Donate Today and select Mental Health in the drop down box. All donations will be matched dollar for dollar by the John Jordan Foundation.
Mental Health Talent Pipeline Project
In 2016, we learned about our region’s critical shortage of bilingual/bicultural mental health professionals, and the challenges our Latinx neighbors have in accessing therapy. To address this crucial need, we launched the Mental Health Talent Pipeline Project to provide scholarships to bilingual/bicultural students in approved master’s level programs, along with stipends to help them overcome the financial stress of getting professional hours, licenses, and their first jobs in northern Sonoma County.
Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative
When the devastating 2017 wildfires hit, we immediately knew that access to mental health counseling and wellness programs would be more important than ever. Almost one-fourth of wildfire survivors experience post-traumatic stress, and one-third experience depression. Accordingly, we’ve partnered with local mental health professionals and national disaster relief experts to establish the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative, with the goal of building short- and long-term resiliency. Since the Collaborative’s inception, 450 mental health professionals have been trained in post-trauma recovery; 400 people have benefited from individual and group therapy; 2,600 people have taken our trauma-informed yoga and meditation classes; and 4,200 people have benefited from the resources in the mysonomastrong.com website and Sonoma Rises app.
Stanford University's final report on the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative is available here.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Early Childhood Council
In 2018, the Healthcare Foundation learned that less than 40% of children were entering kindergarten “ready to learn.” Children who aren’t ready to learn by kindergarten start life at a disadvantage, and this gap only grows wider as they get older. In response, our board of directors set an ambitious goal of ensuring that all children in northern Sonoma County would be kindergarten-ready by 2025.
In 2019, we started a pilot program in Healdsburg with the launch of the Early Childhood Council. The council’s purpose is to convene community partners and connect isolated programs into a coordinated, community-wide approach to supporting young children and families. We’ve also made a three-year $50,000 per year capacity-building commitment for local north county nonprofits through the ROSIE collaborative with other funding partners such as First Five Sonoma County.
This is a long-term programmatic approach to a significant community issue, and the true impact will take years to realize. The payoff, however, is tremendous: if we can prepare our youth to succeed in school, we will ensure they can reach their full potential as healthy and prosperous adults.