Kaiser Permanente Aids the Coffey Neighborhood Park Rebuild

Kaiser Permanente recently announced a grant of $500,000 to rebuild the community park in the Coffey Park neighborhood. The 5.85-acre Coffey Neighborhood Park, a centerpiece for the Coffey Park neighborhood and surrounding area, was destroyed in the Tubbs Fire in October 2017.

“Not only does this park fit Kaiser Permanente’s preventive health strategy of active living, but it also is part of our fire recovery efforts to rebuild the health and vitality of our community” said Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Manager Alena Wall. “Kaiser Permanente is proud to support these local efforts.”

Coffey Strong, the City of Santa Rosa, and Santa Rosa Parks Foundation are working together to redevelop the park. As part of the predevelopment process, the City of Santa Rosa conducted surveys and engaged residents in listening sessions to ensure community input is included in the design. The local Rotary Club led a play structure design day for fourth graders from Coffey Park’s Shaeffer Charter School. The children recommended fire-resistant native plantings, a dog park, and innovative play structures such as a fire truck seesaw to recognize first responders.

“Coffey Strong is beyond thrilled to be the recipient of this wonderful grant. With the kindness and generosity of Kaiser Permanente our community will be able to rebuild our park faster and more beautiful. We cannot thank Kaiser enough,” said Jeff Okrepkie, Founder and President of Coffey Strong. “The ability to team public, private, andmnonprofit to accomplish such an amazing feat is truly something all resilient communities should aspire to.”

Coffey Strong, Inc., is a neighborhood non-profit organization dedicated to helping residents rebuild their lives and homes in Coffey Park. The neighborhood park has been a cornerstone of recreational activity for the residents of the area for over 30 years. Its reconstruction will not only provide those recreational opportunities again, but also help in the healing process as residents rebuild their lives. The Coffey Park neighborhood park reconstruction is truly a community effort.

Reconstruction of the park is slated for completion in early 2020.

For more information on this joint effort, please visit Coffey Strong, City of Santa Rosa Parks and Recreation Department, and the Santa Rosa Parks Foundation.

Kaiser Permanente’s New Public Affairs Director, Judy James

Judy James accepted the role of Public Affairs director and joined the Kaiser Permanente Marin-Sonoma service area team on March 18, 2019.

With more than 25 years of progressive leadership experience, Judy has demonstrated her ability to foster strategic partnerships with internal customers as well as with local dignitaries, business leaders, elected officials and media outlets across Marin and Sonoma counties. In her role as Public Affairs director, she is responsible for the development and implementation of a diverse portfolio of programs, including Public Affairs, Communications, Community Benefit, Community and Government Relations, Media Relations, and Membership Growth and Retention.

“I’m pleased to become part of the Kaiser Permanente team,” said Judy. “I have been a Kaiser Permanente member and am impressed by their integrated model of care, clinical excellence, the caring and friendly physicians and staff, and the organization’s standing in the community.”

Judy began her career with the California Farm Bureau Federation in Sacramento. After a number of increasingly responsible promotions she earned the position of executive director for the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, the largest membership organization in Sonoma County. After 17 years with the Farm Bureau, she transitioned to the director of Community Relations for Clover Stornetta Farms, and then to manager of Community Affairs for Republic Services, Inc. For the past five years, Judy has served as the director of External Affairs, for the Comcast Corporation North Bay Division covering Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino and Solano counties. Representing all five counties through recent wildfires, Judy has been personally recognized for her outstanding leadership around crisis management and emergency response efforts.

In addition to her extensive professional experience, Judy currently serves on several community boards, including San Rafael Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs, North Bay Leadership Council, Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Council, Sonoma County Alliance, Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa Junior College Ag Trust Foundation, Sonoma County Professional & Business Women, and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. She previously served as Chair of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce Board and was an adjunct instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College for 15 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business Management, with a minor in Marketing, from California
Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Please welcome Judy to Kaiser Permanente. You can reach her at 707-566-5464, Judy.D.James@kp.org.

Catholic Charities receives $1 Million from Kaiser Permanente

Catholic Charities, Sonoma County’s leading provider of homeless services, is advancing its ambitious plans to build a health and housing campus in downtown Santa Rosa and two of the area’s largest health care providers, St. Joseph Health and Kaiser Permanente, have each donated $1 million to the effort.

Called Caritas Village, the project is slated to include a 128-unit affordable housing complex, a family emergency shelter, a childcare center, a drop-in site for homeless services and possibly a health clinic. Set for completion by 2022, the campus managed by Catholic Charities would replace the organization’s family emergency shelter and homeless services center on Morgan and A streets, which serves 2,000 people a year.

The village has been the longtime vision of dozens of people working in the health field and those who take care of the local homeless population, said Jennielynn Holmes, director of shelter and housing for Catholic Charities of Santa Rosa.

“Understanding how we solve homelessness means we need to understand the health aspect,” said Holmes, who has worked locally assisting homeless people for over 10 years.

It will cost $90 million to complete the village, and that money will come from public grants, private donations and tax credits, Holmes said. Nonprofit Burbank Housing is a partner in the project.

The $1 million donations from St. Joseph Health and Kaiser Permanente were a welcome surprise to Holmes and her team, she said, and serve as validation of their vision to take care of the county’s burgeoning homeless population. Last year, Sonoma County had one of the nation’s largest homeless populations among largely suburban communities, according to an annual homeless assessment report prepared by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The donation by St. Joseph Health was its largest single gift to a local organization, said health investment manager Daniel Schurman.

“I cannot overemphasize how much of a need it is to have this project,” Schurman said. “We have a lot of confidence in them (Catholic Charities) since they have been leading this effort for quite a while.”

The North Bay health care provider has a long history of partnering with Catholic Charities on mobile dental and health clinics and placing social workers from the nonprofit in hospital emergency rooms, Schurman said.

Recently, St. Joseph Health recognized the need to tackle the related challenges of homelessness and chronic illness, rather than treating them separately.

Kaiser’s community benefit manager Alena Wall said the Caritas project’s focus on permanent and affordable housing aligns with Kaiser’s work to support homeless people. The health care system’s donation is specifically for the planned family emergency shelter on the Caritas campus, Wall said.

“Our conversations around donating to this project started late last year because we believe that the first step in living a healthy life is being housed,” Wall said.

During the past several years, health providers have been focusing on what is driving homeless people to seek treatment in hospitals, Schurman said.

“There are many social determinants that hospitals failed to look at for so long in regards to homelessness,” he said. “Education, immigration status and things like that can cause stress in people’s lives, which manifest in health issues, and that’s what we’re trying to address.”

For years, Holmes has been discussing the effects of homeless on every aspect of society — from law enforcement and neighborhoods to affordable housing and health care. She noted the 2017 fires added to the county’s homeless population, estimated at more than 3,000 people at the beginning of this year.

Life expectancy of homeless individuals is well below the average adult life span, Holmes said, because common illnesses and minor injuries often are life threatening for those living on the street.

“A homeless person’s life expectancy is 40 years and they are dying prematurely because they don’t have the resources they need to survive,” she said.

BioMarin 4th Best Midsize Employer in America Named by Forbes

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:BMRN) announced today that it has been ranked fourth on Forbes magazine’s 2019 list of “America’s Best Midsize Employers,” increasing from 51st on last year’s 2018 list. BioMarin was ranked first among its peers in the ‘Drugs & Biotechnology’ industry.

“We are honored to again be named one of Forbes Best Employers. It’s a point of pride for all of us at BioMarin that we only develop medicines that are the first or the best of their kind.  The medical and scientific firsts in rare diseases that BioMarin has achieved over the last two decades would not be possible without the commitment and passion of the more than 2,900 people who work here,” said Jean-Jacques Bienaimé, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BioMarin. “Our deep connection to patients with rare diseases gives meaning to our work and motivates us to tackle tough scientific problems.”

“Our pioneering spirit is infused throughout the organization and appeals to people who love doing what’s never been done before,” said Amy Wireman, Group Vice President Human Resources. “Our greatest assets are our people.  We consistently evaluate how we operate, so that our work environment evolves and continues to foster individuals and teams coming together for one common purpose—making a big difference for small patient populations.”

The survey was conducted using an online access panel, providing a representative sample of ~50,000 employees working part- or full-time for companies and institutions employing more than 1,000 employees in the U.S. Participation in the survey was voluntary, and respondents were recruited from thousands of sources to maximize reach and representation.

Forbes has previously recognized BioMarin on its “Most Innovative Companies” and “World’s Best Employers” list. To view the complete list of Forbes Best Midsize Employers, click here.

Methodology
The survey was conducted using an online access panel, providing a representative sample of ~50,000 employees working part- or full-time for companies and institutions employing more than 1,000 employees in the U.S. Participation in the survey was voluntary, and respondents were recruited from thousands of sources to maximize reach and representation.

Each employee has been asked which firm or institution he or she works for, in an open-ended question with an autofill-option. Where appropriate, subsidiaries of larger entities have been combined for evaluation. The survey has been conducted on companies from all industry sectors employing more than 1,000 employees in the U.S. The recommended employers have been grouped into one of the 25 industry sectors.

The evaluation was based on two distinct criteria: direct and indirect recommendations.

Further, the employees were asked 35 questions about work related topics. Employees were asked to give their opinions on a series of statements surrounding work-related topics of working conditions, salary, potential for development and company image regarding their current employer.

About BioMarin
BioMarin is a global biotechnology company that develops and commercializes innovative therapies for patients with serious and life-threatening rare and ultra-rare genetic diseases. The company’s portfolio consists of seven commercialized products and multiple clinical and pre-clinical product candidates. For additional information, please visit www.biomarin.com.

Redwood Credit Union Ranks 4th in Nation

Redwood Credit Union (RCU) has recently been ranked the 4th healthiest credit union in the United States (out of approximately 5,400 credit unions), according to Glatt Consulting’s Credit Union HealthScore, which measures credit union strength and growth.

Glatt Consulting, an independent firm that studies the financial health of credit unions, uses 17 performance metrics to calculate its Credit Union HealthScore, including financial and operational strength and growth, asset quality, asset/liability management, and productivity. RCU is the only credit union to have been ranked in the top five in each of the last five years.

“Financial strength and stability are key factors for any financial institution. As a credit union, our continued strength and growth allow us to return even greater value to our Members and community, and further help them succeed,” says Brett Martinez, President & CEO.

RCU experienced strong growth in 2018, reaching more than $4.5 billion in assets and over 335,000 Members. In addition to traditional banking services such as checking, savings, and loans, Redwood Credit Union also offers wealth management and financial planning services, insurance, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, and auto sales. RCU is currently the 42nd largest credit union in asset size in the United States, and 8th largest in California.

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 over $4.5 billion in assets and serves more than 335,000 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.

High School Students and Law Enforcement Officers Prepare to Burn Rubber at Sonoma Raceway

High school students and Bay Area law enforcement officers will compete head-to-head on Sonoma Raceway’s quarter-mile drag strip, as the Top the Cops™ program returns for its 25th season next Wednesday, April 17.

Top the Cops runs as part of the raceway’s popular weekly program, Wednesday Night Drags & Sonoma Drift, powered by Universal Technical Institute (UTI). Top the Cops offers an alternative to illegal street racing and gives teens the chance to race against local law enforcement officers, who compete in full uniform in their official vehicles. The program also provides a unique environment for the officers to talk with teens about safe driving and the rules of the road.

“The Top the Cops program has continued to be an incredible and unique platform for young drivers and local officers to connect with one another,” said retired Santa Rosa police officer and program founder Kevin McKinnie.

Top the Cops will run in conjunction with the Wednesday Night Drags program at Sonoma Raceway, April 17-Aug. 28. Participants must have a current high school identification card and driver’s license, and a car that passes a simple technical inspection. Students are given practice runs, which then lead to head-to-head competition against an officer in his/her patrol car.

The five participating law enforcement agencies for 2019 are:

  • Sonoma County Sherriff’s Dept.
  • California Highway Patrol
  • Novato Police Dept.
  • Fairfield Police Dept.
  • Petaluma Police Dept.

Gates open at 3:30 p.m. each day, with racing from 5-10 p.m. Time trials for Top the Cops begin at 4 p.m. with eliminations at 7 p.m. Cost is $15 for students (with high school ID card), $10 for spectators and FREE for kids 12 and under.  For more information about the Top the Cops or Wednesday Night Drags program, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or visit www.SonomaRaceway.com/WND. For track weather conditions, please call 800-870-RACE ext. 209.

Redwood Credit Union Celebrates Credit Union Youth Month

Redwood Credit Union (RCU) is celebrating Credit Union Youth Month in April with giveaways and two contests that promote good savings habits for children and teenagers.

Jr. Rangers (RCU members ages 12 and under) are invited to participate in a coloring contest that features Reddy the Redwood picturing his future (a brand new bike). One winner from each branch will receive $100.

Jr. Partners (RCU members ages 13-17) are invited to show how they picture their futures by submitting a photo, drawing, painting, or collage. One winner will be selected to receive $250.

In addition, youth who open a new RCU savings account or deposit $100 into an existing savings account during April will receive:

  • Reddy drawstring bag with water bottle (Jr. Rangers)
  • RCU green notebook with pen (Jr. Partners)

“We love helping our young members learn about financial wellness at an early age,” said Matt Martin, senior vice president of community and government relations. “We’ve learned that helping them set positive savings habits when they’re young sets them up for success throughout their lives.”

As part of the Jr. Rangers and Jr. Partners program, young members receive dividends on the funds they save (on balances of $10 or more), a quarterly newsletter, online banking, and access to an educational website with games and articles that teach about money. They also get free gifts at $100 (Jr. Ranger) and $250 (Jr. Partner) savings milestones.

Credit Union Youth Month contest rules and a downloadable coloring sheet are available at redwoodcu.org/youth.

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 over $4.5 billion in assets and serves more than 335,000 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.

TekTailor Retail Store Opening

After the launch of our upcycling brand Sonoma-USA  in 2016 and the integration of the more than 28-year-old family owned protective gear brand BPE-USA in 2017, we are now getting ready to open our onsite TekTailor factory store here in Santa Rosa.

Swing by, say hello and shop some fun overstock materials and unique upcycled products!

Grand Opening April 13th from 11 am – 6pm

Our new factory store offers a wide variety of affordable and fun overstock materials for your next fashion, arts or craft project. You will find everything from fabrics to webbings, elastics, buttons, zippers, hook & loop, thread and many plastic and metal hardware accessories. The store will be open Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 5pm with our Grand Opening Sat, April 13th from 11am to 6pm. Come and join us for special offers & tax free shopping (4/13 only)!

You will find a wide selection of fun products made from reclaimed materials like banners, billboards, burlap sacks, grain bags, overstock fabrics and scrap leather – all diverted from local landfills. Every duffel bag, tote bag, messenger bag, laptop sleeve, wine carrier or toiletry bag is truly one of a kind.

Kaiser Permanente Names Judy James Marin – Sonoma Public Affairs Director

Judy James has been named public affairs director of Kaiser Permanente’s Marin-Sonoma region, according to the health care system’s March 27 announcement. She assumed her new role on March 18.

James is responsible for the development and implementation of many of Kaiser’s programs, including public affairs, communications, community benefit, community and government relations, media relations, and membership growth and retention, according to Kaiser’s announcement.

James, who brings more than 25 years of experience to her new role, most recently served for five years as director of external affairs for the Comcast Corporation North Bay Division, covering Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Mendocino and Solano counties, according to Kaiser.

Earlier, she served as director of community relations for Clover Stornetta Farms (now Clover Sonoma), then moved to Republic Services Inc., where she served as manager of community affairs, according to Kaiser.

James began her career with the California Farm Bureau Federation in Sacramento, where she held increasingly responsible roles, culminating with her being named executive director for the Sonoma County Farm Bureau. James spent 17 years with the Farm Bureau, Kaiser said.

She continues to serve on many community boards, including the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs, North Bay Leadership Council, Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Council , Sonoma County Alliance, Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa Junior College Ag Trust Foundation, Sonoma County Professional & Business Women.

She previously served as Chair of the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce Board, and was an adjunct instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College for 15 years.

James holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management, with a minor in marketing, from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.

Kaiser Permanente’s Marin-Sonoma service area includes two hospitals: Santa Rosa Medical Center (3,008 employees) and San Rafael Medical Center (2,014 employees). Kaiser also has two medical offices in Santa Rosa (Old Redwood Highway and Mercury Way), along with medical offices in Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Novato, Mill Valley and downtown San Rafael. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Becoming Independent IPA In Stores Now!

Brothers Barrel and Becoming Independent have teamed up to bring you iPA, a Becoming Independent India Pale Ale. In stores now at the following locations:

Oliver’s Market

Big John’s Market – Healdsburg

Healthy Spirits – Courtland & Clement locations, SF

Pat Holden’s Liquor and Gifts – Oxnard, SoCal

Craft Beer Kings – El Monte & La Habra, SoCal

A portion of the proceeds from each sale supports Becoming Independent!

This delicious BiPA can also be purchased at the Barrel Brothers Brewing Company Tap Room and on board the SMART Train!

About Becoming Independent

Becoming Independent is a community based service organization established more than 50 years ago to help people with developmental disabilities live meaningful and productive lives through Innovative Education, Elevating Independence, and Employing Abilities.

At Becoming Independent We Believe:

We inspire others through our actions.

It is our responsibility to be active citizens.

In the power of authentic human connection.

That beauty and potential exist in each of us.

That every social investment has the potential to be broadly transformative.

In standing for the rights of all people, the right to a life of dignity and fulfillment.

We are all connected and our community is enriched when we invest in one another.

Our pioneering model has and always will break barriers for people with disabilities.