Kaiser Permanente Funds Park Improvements in Roseland

Community Action Partnership of Sonoma has been awarded a grant in the amount of $75,000 from Kaiser Permanente to perform physical improvements to Roseland Elementary School’s community park facilities. The school will offer programs designed to encourage Roseland area residents to use the park.

“At Kaiser Permanente, we understand that the communities where people live, work or go to school — in some cases down to neighborhood block — plays an important role in health,” says Alena Wall, Regional Community Benefit Manager. “That’s why we have awarded a recent grant to Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County to improve the conditions for the Total Health of the Roseland community.”

Community Action Partnership’s Director of Community Engagement, Vince Harper, adds “We, at Community Action are thrilled to partner with Kaiser Permanente, Roseland Elementary School and Roseland Community Building Initiative resident leaders to build community. Together, we are creating a vital place-based resource for the Roseland neighborhood. The funding from Kaiser Permanente is helping make the dream of a healthy community come true.”

This funding elevates the work of the Roseland Health Action Chapter, a group of resident-leaders, who recently approached Kaiser Permanente with a vision for enhancing the public space at Roseland Elementary School. The school’s park and play area is used during the school day and becomes a community space on weekday evenings, weekends and summers for children, teen, families and other community members. The group of resident leaders hopes to further promote use by the neighborhood children and families.

“Kaiser Permanente’s vision is to support Total Health by establishing safe public spaces in high-need communities,” Alena adds. “Our goals include increasing physical activity, supporting mental health and wellness, promoting community safety, and ultimately building community resilience, which means becoming strong together and providing support for each other.”

Kaiser Permanente’s Grant for Park Village Offers a Creative Solution to Housing Crisis

With housing prices and homelessness both on the rise, the Park Village Housing Project is needed now more than ever.

Park Village is a unique public-private partnership between the City of Sebastopol, the social service nonprofit West County Community Services (WCCS), and the Group of Advocates, a voluntary organization focused on homelessness.

“The Park Village project demonstrates the value of a successful public-private partnership: high impact, community-focused, cost-effective,” says Tim Miller, WCCS executive director. “When we listen to each other and involve all sectors of the community in seeking out a rational approach to homelessness, we can achieve so much for the benefit of all.”

For the 2018-19 year, the city supplied $95,000 in funding to Park Village Housing, down from $98,000 the year before. WCCS raised another $440,000 from additional donors, including a $25,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente, to add a community room, additional housing units and to rehab four vacant apartments on the property. The City of Sebastopol funding largely supports a full-time case manager on site, as well as a resident manager who lives on the property.

Sitting on several acres east of Sebastopol, the city-owned mobile home park was taken under management by WCCS in 2017. So far, 19 previously homeless citizens have been housed, with lighter touch services supporting 66 additional low- and very lowincome park residents. Two previously homeless families have already stabilized at Park Village and moved on to more independent living. Park Village residents benefit from a broad range of human services, including employment, health and education assistance that will help integrate the park and its residents into the broader community.

“We need creative approaches to solve our housing crisis,” Miller said. “Homelessness increases healthcare costs, law enforcement costs and negatively impacts our environment, not to mention the trauma it brings to the homeless themselves. Park Village is an investment in our neighbors, by our neighbors. And it is paying off for all involved.”

This year will see two additional trailer pads completed for the placement of two new homes for four to eight more people, as well as the rehabilitation of the vacant apartments for two additional families. By January 2020, the project will have housed at least 25 previously homeless citizens, or more than a third of Sebastopol’s reported homeless population.

Sonoma Raceway’s Speedway Children’s Charities Accepting Grant Applications

The Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities is accepting grant applications from Sonoma County nonprofit youth groups for its 2019 grant cycle.

According to a press announcement from Speedway, qualified grant applicants must be youth-focused nonprofit groups serving Sonoma County. To focus efforts on Sonoma County youth in need, say Speedway officials, priority will be given to programs that concentrate on education, financial hardship, literacy, medical needs, nutrition, social support and therapy.

Applying organizations should note that Speedway Children’s Charities does not fund first-year programs or organizations, capital campaigns or construction/remodeling projects.

Based on designated funds raised following the 2017 Sonoma County wildfires, Speedway will also issue a limited number of “targeted grants” to groups offering additional services or programs to aid with fire-relief efforts. Groups applying for targeted grants must meet all other SCC grant requirements, and the one-year fire-relief funds will be above and beyond the basic grant.

Speedway Children’s Charities, the charitable arm of Sonoma Raceway, hosts events throughout the year to raise funds for distribution to local nonprofit groups. The Sonoma chapter says it has distributed more than $6.4 million to Sonoma County youth groups since 2001, including nearly $448,000 to 55 groups in 2018.

The 2019 SCC grant application and format guidelines can be found at speedwaycharities.org/grants/sonoma. Applications must be completed and returned to Sonoma Raceway by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 2. Applications are not accepted via email or fax.

Chandi Hospitality Group’s Bollywood Restaurant Wins Best Indian Restaurant of 2019 By the Bohemian

Best of the Best

Welcome. We’re once again celebrating the best of the North Bay, with our epic Readers Poll and extensive selection of Writers Picks. It never gets old, putting out these annual issues that celebrate the best of the best of Sonoma and Napa counties. In a world of impermanence, it’s good to know that there’s always another Best Of issue right around the corner—and that each year, new businesses and people always seem to refresh the proverbial aquifer of greatness.

From Best Doctor to Best Winetasting, we’ve got it covered, and then some, across our various categories. Our winners are a reflection of the community at large that chooses them—and represent the day-to-day goodness that makes living around here a Best Of experience in its own right.

This year, Sonoma tattoo artist Shotsie Gorman returns to the Best Of fore to illustrate our cover—may you soar like a hawk through this amazing issue! Rory McNamara was our go-to photographer this year and the Bohemian writers who contributed are Aiyana Moya, Alex T. Randolph, Charlie Swanson, David Templeton, Gary Brandt, James Knight, Jonah Raskin, Stett Holbrook, Thomas Broderick, Tom Gogola and the late Tokey McPuffups. Thanks to all who contributed.


Brett Martinez Honored by National Credit Union Foundation

The National Credit Union Foundation presented the Anchor Award to Brett Martinez at its annual Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner on March 11th during the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in Washington, D.C.

Brett Martinez, President and Chief Executive Officer of Redwood Credit Union was given the award for his exemplary leadership during the 2017 California Wildfires.

“I am honored to be recognized for our fire relief efforts, but wish it was under better circumstances,” said Martinez. “Thousands of members suffered loss, as did many of our employees and the community at large. In the face of that urgent need, we saw no other answer than to help. It’s who we are and what we do.”

Over 900 credit union leaders and supporters attended the National Credit Union Foundation’s annual gala, celebrating the highest national honors in the credit union movement and honoring those who have made a profound impact and difference in the lives of credit union members. This year’s winners join an elite group of 72 individuals and 28 organizations whose efforts over the past 30 years have earned them a Herb Wegner Memorial Award. While the Herb Wegner awards are given annually to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations, the Anchor Award is bestowed only periodically to individuals who have lived out the mission of the Foundation while providing extraordinary support and advancement of the credit union movement.

About Redwood Credit Union
Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, wealth management and investment services, and more. The credit union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through its wholly owned subsidiary. RCU has $4.4 billion in assets and serves over 328,000 members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide and convenient, free online and mobile banking. For more information, call 1 (800) 479-7928, visit www.redwoodcu.org, or follow RCU on Facebook at facebook.com/redwoodcu and Twitter at @Redwoodcu for news and updates.

Sonoma Raceway Hosts the Shell Eco-Marathon

North Bay Business Journal Names Forty Under 40 Winners for 2019 – Congratulations to all NBLC Members Honored!!

The 2019 Class of the most influential business people under the age of 40 is out. The Business Journal’s selection of this year’s Forty Under 40 honorees for the North Bay covers a wide swath of businesses. Each one will be recognized May 2 at the Forty Under 40 awards presentation, 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa. Here are this year’s recipients:

Alan Alvarez, 33, senior manager, BPM, Santa Rosa

Codi Binkley, 39, owner, BV Whiskey Bar and Grille, Sonoma

Joshua Bruder, 33, senior manager, Moss Adams, Napa

Sunny Chandi, 30, senior vice president, Chandi Hospitality Group, Santa Rosa

Joanie Claussen, 39, CEO, Taylor Lane Organic Coffee, Sebastopol

Lisa Fatu, 37, director of youth crisis services, Social Advocates for Youth (SAY), Santa Rosa

Katy Fishman, 33, marketing director, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, Santa Rosa

Kevin Ghilotti, 30, president, Team Ghilotti, Petaluma

Ross Guehring, 38, partner, Lighthouse Public Affairs, San Rafael

Enguerrand Guilloux, 37, program director, Icore International, Santa Rosa

Derek Hansel, 33, supply chain manager, Kaiser Permanente, San Rafael

Thai Hensch, 35, ambulatory care pharmacy services supervisor, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa

Matthew Hunstock, 38, financial adviser, Ameriprise Financial Services, Santa Rosa

Maria Alondra Jasso, 32, lead teacher, Educare Children’s Center, Corte Madera

Summer Jeffus, 39, regional marketing manager, American AgCredit, Santa Rosa

Janine Johnson, 39, director of accounting advisory services, Pisenti & Brinker, Santa Rosa

Tara Johnson, 34, assistant vice president and branch manager, Bank of Marin, Healdsburg

Lindsay Jones, 33, regional vice president for branch experience, Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa

Ariel Kelley, 36, Sonoma County planning commissioner, Permit Sonoma, County of Sonoma, Santa Rosa

Rachel Kuykendall, 32, senior program manager, Sonoma Clean Power, Santa Rosa

Stacy McKee, 39, assistant controller, Exchange Bank, Santa Rosa

Landon McPherson, 35, founder, Harvest Card, Santa Rosa

Neil Pacheco, 38, casino host at Graton Resort & Casino and director of community engagement for Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Rohnert Park

Ashish Patel, 37, owner, Olea Hotel, Glen Ellen

Ann Petersen, 38, executive director, Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg

Deva Proto, 37, Sonoma County Clerk-Recorder-Assessor-Registrar of Voters, Santa Rosa

Cameron Ramos, 36, operations manager, Trope Group, Santa Rosa

JayJay Rico, 35, director of social enterprise, Becoming Independent, Santa Rosa

Stephanie Rothberg, 39, attorney, Spaulding McCullough & Tansil, Santa Rosa

John Serres, 35, owner, Serres Corporation, Sonoma

Mariah Shields, 30, principal, Arrow Benefits Group, Petaluma

Hilary St. Jean, 39, attorney, Rogoway Law Group, Santa Rosa

Viviann Stapp, 39, general counsel, Jackson Family Wines, Santa Rosa

Michael Tavis, 39, business development manager, Alliance Property Management, Santa Rosa

Magali Telles, 37, executive director, Los Cien, Santa Rosa

Dawit Tesfasilassie, 33, assistant administrator, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, Santa Rosa

Brandon Trammell, 39, founder, Purpose Financial Insurance Services, Novato

Yudith Vargas, 32, associate director of nursing, Santa Rosa Community Health, Santa Rosa

Sky White, 39, minister of creative harmony, The Republic of Tea, Novato

Ernest Wuethrich, 39, accessibility program manager, PM Design Group, Santa Rosa


Kaiser Invests $3 Million to End Homelessness in Sacramento, 14 Other Communities

Kaiser Permanente announced Monday that it will invest $3 million over the next three years in an effort to end chronic homelessness in the Sacramento region and 14 other communities around the United States.

“Kaiser Permanente is investing in efforts to reduce homelessness and housing insecurity because there is a proven link between housing and health,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “Addressing affordable housing and homelessness is crucial to Kaiser Permanente’s mission to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve, and to advance the economic, social and environmental conditions for health.”

As part of the effort, Kaiser will be working with New York-based Community Solutions to apply problem-solving tools that the organization said has ended chronic homelessness in Bergen County, N.J.; Lancaster, Pa.; and Rockford, Ill. It also said that nine U.S. locales, including Riverside, Calif., and Abilene, Texas, have ended homelessness among veterans.

Rosanne Haggerty, president and co-founder of Community Solutions, said: “Together, we will use data and analytics to help these communities adopt the tools they need to end homelessness and address the conditions that create it.”

Haggerty worked in the field of affordable housing for 20 years, according to the nonprofit’s website, but she left to found this organization in 2011 because homelessness and poverty were expanding faster than she could turn out new homes. In the first four years of her organization’s existence, the company said, the leadership team helped 25 times as many people as they did in their combined 20 years of prior work.

People experiencing homelessness usually end up seeking care in emergency rooms, often because the lack of safe, stable housing makes it difficult for them to store medication and recover from illness. Statistics also show that people experiencing chronic homelessness are three to four times more likely to die than the general population.

In California, Kaiser and Community Solutions are working with the city and county of Sacramento; Bakersfield and Kern County; Fresno and Madera counties; Marin County; Santa Cruz, Watsonville and Santa Cruz County; and Riverside County. In other parts of the nation, they will team up in Baltimore, Md.; Montgomery County, Md.; Arlington County, Va.; Fairfax County, Va.; Denver, Colo.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Honolulu.

The health care giant and Community Solutions announced their partnership at the SXSW (South by Southwest) Conference in Austin, Texas. Last year, Kaiser created a $200 million impact investment fund known as the Thriving Communities Fund aimed at addressing homelessness, affordable housing and other issues related to the housing crisis.


Star Staffing’s Nicole Smartt Serres Sees Power in Service

Nicole Smartt Serres extends her personal conviction for community work to her business.

The president and co-owner of Star Staffing, which is based in Petaluma but with an office in Fairfield, encourages her staff to get involved in their communities and gives each employee one paid day off to do volunteer work.

“I’ve always believed in paying it forward. From an early age while on a sports team, we did charity work to support our community and make it better. Those values were instilled at a young age and I’ve continued to volunteer and sit on boards that help make a difference,” Serres said in an email response to questions from the Daily Republic.

Her partner is Lisa Lichty, co-owner and the chief executive officer of Star Staffing.

The company also gets involved as teams in such activities as Heart Walk, Relay for Life and food drives.

Additionally, there are special occasions when “we take cookies and flowers to senior living facilities (on) Valentine’s Day or donate clothes and food for different drives. And during Christmastime, each member donates a gift to underprivileged homes,” Serres said.

“The most satisfying work is helping people get ahead in their careers, which is why I wrote my book, ‘From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead at Work,’ ” she said.

“We also have partnered with Sonoma State University School of Business & Economics to help students with their job search, resume help and career tips. We speak on campus to students from utilizing social media to get noticed to one page resume templates and getting your dream job.”

In fact, Serres oversees the CSU Sonoma School of Business & Economics Career Center.

Serres also sits on the boards for the North Bay Leadership Council and Friends of the Petaluma Campus, which works under the umbrella of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation.

She said ultimately she would love to develop a foundation or some other kind of organization – or perhaps just an annual event – to help girls achieve their success and “conquer their dreams.”

Among the lessons she would teach is a personal philosophy of working hard, because that will always trump talent if that talent is not working hard.

“I’d love to do more for women’s rights and equality. I believe that when women and girls rise, we all rise,” said Serres, who is a contributing columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, North Bay Business Journal and Forbes.

Redwood Credit Union’s Career Exploration Day

As part of a career exploration day, 33 students visited the Santa Rosa headquarters of Redwood Credit Union (RCU) on Tuesday, March 5.

From 9am until noon, students learned what a career with a credit union is like. They were welcomed by Brett Martinez, RCU’s President and Chief Executive Officer, and Matt Martin, Senior Vice President of Community and Government Relations. Next, they took part in a workshop, toured the building, and participated in a discussion with featured panelists and departments.

“Education is one of the pillars of our community efforts,” said Martin. “Learning about the world around us and gaining the ability to change it into something better is vitally important. We’re proud to support education, including days like this that help young adults begin to envision their futures.”

When asked “What would you like to see next time?” one student shared, “A job application and a bright future for myself!”

About Redwood Credit Union

Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, wealth management and investment services, and more. The credit union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through its wholly owned subsidiary. RCU has $4.4 billion in assets and serves over 328,000 members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide and convenient, free online and mobile banking. For more information, call 1 (800) 479-7928, visit www.redwoodcu.org, or follow RCU on Facebook at facebook.com/redwoodcu and Twitter at @Redwoodcu for news and updates.