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Local nonprofits receive $125,000 from Community Health Foundation

The Community Health Foundation of Greater Petaluma awarded 10 community organizations grants totaling $125,000 this month.

These grants are the first to be given under the new name of the foundation, previously known as the Community Health Foundation of Greater Petaluma, and reflect its broader mission.

"Our focus now, as the Petaluma Community Foundation, will be to expand our community and philanthropic outreach, while embracing a broader range of social needs and potential charitable giving in the greater Petaluma area," said Marilyn Segal, the foundation's executive director.

The grants were given to Boys & Girls Clubs of Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties, $17,072 for the Smart Moves summer program for youth; Committee on the Shelterless, $20,000 for the children's program in Family Transitional Housing; Giant Steps Equestrian Center, $10,000 for a riding program for at-risk children from southern Sonoma County; Hope Counseling Services, $10,000 for free or reduced-fee counseling services; and Mentor Me Petaluma, $10,000 for the mentor center at La Tercera Elementary School;

Grants also were awarded to National Alliance on Mental Illness, $5,000 for support groups and education courses for people in Petaluma with mental health challenges and their families; Petaluma Bounty, $10,000 for general operating expenses for the Bounty Farm and programs; Petaluma Educational Foundation, $5,000 for a collaborative partnership to fund the Fitness for Life: Healthy Lifestyles program at Petaluma Junior High School; PEP Housing, $13,928 for general operating support for affordable housing, supportive services and emergency aid for low-income seniors; and Petaluma People Services Center, $24,000 for general operating support for its network of services to seniors and to replace a water heater.

The foundation will host a community celebration to honor the 2011 beneficiaries from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on April 8 at the Petaluma Golf & Country Club, at 1500 Country Club Drive. At the awards presentation, success stories will be told by each grantee and the organization selected to receive a new honor, the Daymon Doss Award, will be announced.

The 2011 grants support the foundation's mission, Segal said.

"We continue to build upon our knowledge base about the growing need for social services in each of our focus areas —?youth, family and seniors — and meet with nonprofits and their staff and volunteers, in making our decisions. We expect to grow our funding base and continue to target specific areas of need to support those organizations that demonstrate they are making meaningful change in the community," she said.

The foundation will remain in partnership with the Petaluma Health Care District, which supports its expanded focus on trying to measurably improve the lives of local residents through the grant program.

"The needs of our community have grown dramatically over the years, and the need for a community foundation solely focused on supporting a wider range of social and philanthropic efforts in Petaluma and south Sonoma County is more important now than it has ever been," said Dr. Fred Groverman, a founding member of the foundation's board of trustees.


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