Why a locally focused community foundation & endowment? Acting as a central point of funding, we capture the collective generosity in our community, and make all of our local nonprofits stronger with efficient use of donor funds while helping build their capacity.
Founded in 2003 to serve the greater Healdsburg area—including Geyserville, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and parts of Russian River Valley – Healdsburg Forever has granted over $1.4 million to local nonprofit organizations since its inception.
Now with an endowment of $1.7 Million, we continue to distribute annually to dozens of grantees. Here’s the inspiring story of our early years by founding community members.
In 2003 a group of community minded residents was committed to ensuring there would be a lasting resource devoted to supporting quality of life in the Healdsburg and Geyserville communities… a local community endowment. As explained by one of the founders, “We chose an endowment process for these funds to be distributed because we wanted a permanent and secure source of money that would always be available for whatever the needs of Healdsburg in Geyserville were in the future. Nonprofits come and go, the needs of the community change over time. We wanted a source of revenue that was available for whatever was most important for the community at any given time.”
The initial organizers gathered a group of people who together spent six months to a year creating the Healdsburg Area Fund (later renamed Healdsburg Forever). Established as an affiliate of Community Foundation of Sonoma County, Healdsburg Forever benefits from the foundation’s fiscal oversight and back office expertise, while a local board and grants committee is knowledgeable about, and connected to, the specific needs of our local communities.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, Healdsburg Forever was offered a $500,000 matching challenge grant over the first three years to build up initial endowment funds. Anyone who made a contribution before May 15, 2004 was included in the Founder’s Circle.
In 2004, Healdsburg Forever distributed $20,000 to local nonprofits serving Healdsburg and Geyserville. Grants awarded grew to $100,000 in 2014, $190,000 in 2019, and totaled $1.3 million throughout the period from 2004 to 2019. During this same period, the Healdsburg Forever Endowment grew to reach $1.6 million. On its 10-year anniversary, Healdsburg Forever launched its “Leave Your Mark” campaign, generating several million dollars in future legacy giving.
Healdsburg Forever formed a Grants Committee consisting of local residents knowledgeable about local nonprofits and local needs. Their expertise and a well- designed annual review process allow Healdsburg Forever to identify the most important needs of our communities each year.
The grants process along with the model of a sustainable community endowment have proven invaluable in helping our community weather the ups and downs of the economy and be in tune with evolving local needs. During the 2009-2010 recession, Healdsburg Forever’s grants were designed to help nonprofits keep the doors open. In the ensuing years, Healdsburg Forever’s strategic grant-making helped incubate nascent nonprofits such as Farm to Pantry as well as support a variety of critical programs across 60 diverse nonprofits serving our communities. As a result of recent wildfires impacting our communities Healdsburg Forever again pivoted to allow 2019 grants awarded to be used for general operations providing nonprofits needed flexibility to withstand these crises.
Healdsburg and Geyserville are built around our greatest treasures: the beauty of the environment, agriculture and those who farm the land, wine, food and hospitality, our cultural heritage and diversity. COVID-19 and wildfires have hit our communities hard. With grapes left unharvested and restaurants, hotels, wineries and shops sitting empty, people who live and work here are struggling to afford food and housing, are juggling childcare shortages and home-based learning, and are facing a health crisis unlike anything we have seen before.
Healdsburg Forever provided two rounds of emergency grants totaling $142,000 to eight organizations providing essential safety net services to the most vulnerable in Healdsburg and Geyserville. However, the demand for services continues to grow exponentially.
In this time of dire need, we have an immediate opportunity to make a significant impact. Community Foundation of Sonoma County has offered a $150,000 challenge grant to launch the Healdsburg Forever Community Impact Fund in response to the disasters affecting our Healdsburg and Geyserville communities. Matching the $150,000 challenge by year end would create $300k in new funds available early 2021. Let’s rise to the challenge!
Sustainability has been a key goal since the inception of Healdsburg Forever and what better way to achieve this than establish a Healdsburg area endowment? Having our endowment invested with the Community Foundation Sonoma County (CFSC) combines the best of fiduciary strength and entrepreneurial agility. Through CFSC we can access systems and an experienced team of a recognized nonprofit leaders, while our all-volunteer board of local residents has on-the-ground knowledge of the unique challenges of our local communities.
Acting as a central point of funding, Healdsburg Forever captures the collective generosity in our community, and makes all of our local nonprofits stronger through efficient use of donor funds supporting both critical programs as well as operational capacity.