Healdsburg Forever has delivered its largest grant yet — $445,000 in community impact funds were recently divided out to 13 local nonprofits. The grants were awarded across six impact areas prioritizing food insecurity, health care, housing, senior services, youth/education and support of Latinx communities.
Grantees include the Healdsburg Food Pantry; Farm to Fight Hunger; Farm to Pantry; the Redwood Empire Food Bank; Alliance Medical Center; Food for Thought; Reach for Home; Healdsburg Senior Center; La Familia Sana; Corazón Healdsburg; UndocuFund; the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Marin; and the Healdsburg Community Nursery School.
Healdsburg Forever board chair Carol Beattie said that this is the second round of community impact fund grants that have been awarded and that they decided in this case not to publicly specify individual grant amounts.
According to the Healdsburg Forever website, the Healdsburg Food Pantry will be using its funds to purchase food from the Redwood Empire Food Bank. The food will then be distributed to those in need in Healdsburg and Geyserville.
Farm to Fight Hunger, which grows and donates healthy and culturally appropriate food to community members in need, will use its grant to provide and expand their services to help set up and maintain growing spaces to mentor individuals on growing their own healthy food.
Farm to Pantry will use its grant to provide access to high quality gleaned food to at risk populations. The grant for the Redwood Empire Food Bank will support food bank operations and provide 78,000 meals a month to approximately 2,800 people, including seniors.
The funds for Alliance Medical Center will support the center’s efforts to provide healthcare services to the most vulnerable in the community. The Food for Thought funds will help support the organization’s mission of providing food and home services in English and Spanish to medically-challenged, homebound clients and low-income individuals.
The funds for Reach for Home will support their expanded needs for staff and operating expenses, according to the website. Funds for the senior center will help support the restart of the center’s popular congregate dining group program.
The grant for La Familia Sana will help provide mental health services to underserved Geyserville residents. The grant for UndocuFund will help support their assistance programs. Corazón will use its funds to support its many programs.
Lastly, funds for youth and education will help with the summer after school programs at the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma-Marin and funds for the Healdsburg Community Nursery School will allow the school to extend its school-day to 5 p.m.
“Last year we gave $300,000 to five nonprofits and this year we gave $445,000 to 13,” Beattie said.
Individual grant amounts were provided based on applicant questionnaires. The questionnaires asked what each organization’s biggest needs were. The grants committee then distributed the $445,000 pie based on individual needs.
“We gave them (the grants) to their operations to address the most critical needs of the kind of service that they provide,” Beattie said. “What I’m most proud of, besides this being the largest amount, is the relationship that we’ve built with some major donors.” For instance, one couple donated $100,000 to the cause.
She said she’s also proud of the cumulative amount of money that Healdsburg Forever has been able to raise and allocate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had emergency grants, last year we did $300,000 and this year $445,000,” she said.
The emergency grants totaled $142,000. Combined, that’s $879,000 in less than three years for local nonprofits.
“That’s the part that I’m most proud of. It really takes a board that is engaged, it takes donors and it takes a lot of tenacity,” Beattie said.
Traditionally, getting a grant is a competitive process, however, this round of grants was less competitive as it was invitation only.
“Before COVID, we would have a competitive grants process which means we raise money, nonprofits would have to apply — they have to be serving the Healdsburg and Geyserville communities — and that competitive process goes through and to the grants committee and they drive that process, they read all of the applicationals and then they go out and speak with the nonprofit executives,” Beattie explained.
She said this time around, the process for selecting grantees involved having the nonprofits present their case to the committee. Beattie called this trust based philanthropy where they’re not putting the organizations through a lot of hoops in order to obtain a grant.
“The community impact fund, because it was so narrowed to disaster, they looked at what are the most critical emergent needs of nonprofits so it wasn’t a competitive process. It was an invitation only,” she said.
Also, because the group of Healdsburg Forever folks have been working as a team for over 18 years, they always have their ear to the ground in terms of looking at which nonprofits might need aid.
For instance, member Marie Butler is passionate about the Healdsburg Senior Center and has been an advocate for funds for the center. As part of this grants distribution, the senior center is receiving funds to create a congregate dining program for seniors.
Beattie said when Butler told the senior center they were getting funds for the dining program tears were shed. “That’s how much it means to people, that’s impact,” Beattie said.
Finding ways that work to get donations
For Healdsburg Forever, one of the best methods for getting donations and recurring donations, is by building strong relationships with potential donors.
“We’re very much relational. We don’t do galas, we don’t do big fundraisers because our model is not to compete with other nonprofits. It’s really one individual at a time and keeping them informed. Also, I’m a fundraiser by one of my professions. I just understand the process, you don’t just ask one time of year, you keep them informed ect.” Beattie said.
They also don’t have to pay for staff, which means all of the funds they raise go directly to local nonprofits, “and we have an endowment. We’re one of the few nonprofits that has an endowment and that is how Healdsburg Forever started. The ‘forever’ part is a sustainable fund that will be here forever,” Beattie said.