Founded in 1993, the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation assists in funding Sonoma County’s public education system with programs changing the way students attend school. Ranging from preschool to high school, the organization helps students find success in school so that they graduate prepared for college and a career.
I spoke with executive director Laura Zimmerman about the foundation and she said, “We truly want Sonoma Valley to be known as a great town with great schools. We especially want to enrich the school day so that school is inspiring, and never bland. We fund programs for every age, from preschool through high school."
The organization is able to raise nearly $2 million a year to fund various programs throughout the school district. One program in particular, Bridge to Algebra, has helped change the math paradigm for children. The summer program focuses on helping kids understand growth mindset, teaching them that struggle does not equal failure, rather, it equals self-growth!
Laura also mentioned a program that was started by the SV Ed Foundation, but is now funded by the School District, called ‘Freshmen Teams’. The program was started as a way to give incoming freshmen a solid support system within the school to last them throughout their entire high school career. Laura says that the program helps make high school accessible and comfortable for incoming students, and gives them the opportunity to develop close relationships with peers and teachers.
The Sonoma Valley Education Foundation believes that helping the children in the community is what will ultimately change the world. With 80% of the community’s children enrolled within the public school system, the foundation aims to give children a sense of place at school at all levels of the education system.
Laura mentioned just how important T-K and pre-school are for the community, saying that children who have experienced an educational environment prior to the first day of kindergarten are set up for success much more than those who haven’t.
The Sonoma Valley Education Foundation raises money for its various programs throughout the year through dinners, fundraisers, generous donors, and of course, the Red & White Ball. The annual event takes place each year at the plaza, and is the organization’s biggest fundraiser. Kelly is heavily involved in the planning of the event, and it has become the SV Ed Foundation’s most well known fundraiser.
Through the support of the small Sonoma community, the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation has been changing the way children are educated for 22 years. From agricultural programs to engineering programs, and everything in between, the foundation in close partnership with the school district, is helping children graduate with the tools for success.
If you are interested in donating to the foundation, or would like more information about getting involved, please visit www.svgreatschools.org!