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Impact 100 Redwood Circle Makes Community Grant to Free Bookmobile
Written by admin, December 24th, 2016   

Impact 100 Redwood Circle

We love the Impact 100 model of philanthropy. So we were enthused to hear last year that community service juggernaut Melissa Kelley had found partners to set up a new chapter to benefit all of Sonoma County. Impact 100 Redwood Circle has already attracted over 150 members and made their first Impact Grant of $100,000 to Voices,  an innovative nonprofit that provides youth with the resources they need to make the leap from foster care to successful, independent adulthood.

How does Impact 100 work? It’s a women’s giving circle hosted by the Community Foundation of Sonoma County, designed to empower and enable local women to serve as philanthropic leaders by collectively funding significant grants that will make a lasting impact in our community. Impact 100 Redwood Circle is comprised of 100 or more women, each of whom makes an annual donation of $1,000. The group assesses critical needs in our community, reviews grant requests for financial support, and awards one Impact Grant of $100,000 each year, as well as additional smaller grants as funding allows.

Fortunately for us, Redwood Circle raised enough in their inaugural year to fund 5 smaller Community Grants. Their membership voted the Free Bookmobile as a recipient from a crowded field of 36 worthy organizations! We plan to put their investment to work immediately toward reaching at least 1,500 more people with our service in 2017. Thank you, ladies! All the best to you as your new endeavor takes shape, and we look forward to the further impact you will make in our community in years to come.


Free Bookmobile Joins Innovative iRead Program with Community Foundation Grant Win
Written by admin, December 15th, 2016   


Education is the bedrock for addressing disparities in our community; it is a human right and essential to ensuring that all children meet their greatest potential. Yet kids growing up in low-income families are exposed to less verbally rich home environments and are less likely to attend preschool, creating a ‘word gap’ of millions of words between them and their more affluent peers before they’ve even entered kindergarten.

Significant research shows that reading aloud to children from day one is the single most important thing a parent can do to help a child enter kindergarten ready to succeed. In Sonoma County, however, only 57% of parents read to their children every day. It’s critical that we equip parents with the knowledge and tools they need to be effective role models and teachers, and remove the obstacles—real or perceived—to engaging their children in reading. Fortunately Community Foundation of Sonoma County, in partnership with Cradle to Career, has launched a funding program for just this purpose.

The Free Bookmobile has won a grant to join the iRead initiative that will allow us to increase our outreach to key demographics of parents with young children in 2017, to supply them with the high quality books that will facilitate this loving and educational activity. Our new routes will include visits to all of the local AVANCE parenting classes and Pasitos playgroups so that primarily Spanish-speaking households are not left behind. That means part of the funding will increase our collection of Spanish-language and bilingual books for distribution. It doesn’t matter what you read or in which language, only that you DO read to your child, every day!

Speedway Children’s Charities Invests In Early Literacy with Third-Year Grant
Written by admin, December 3rd, 2016   

Speedway Children's Charities

The hard working folks at Sonoma’s Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) have come through once again with a strong fundraising year and distribution of important investments in many local children’s programs, including the Free Bookmobile! SCC generates most of their grant monies by hosting fun events at Sonoma Raceway and elsewhere, often with a special competition or racing theme. The Sonoma Chapter will host 12 events during the 2017 season including the Tour de Charity Karting Day, Grand Marshall’s Banquet, Eric Medlen Nitro Night dinner, and Grand Prix Salute of Sonoma.

We are thrilled that the Free Bookmobile’s Children’s Services has again been selected by the SCC’s board to receive crucial support. SCC has distributed more than $5.5 million to Sonoma County youth groups since 2001. Please click here to find out about all the ways you can participate in this creative philanthropy, including the opportunity to drive your own car on a legendary track for charity!

Friends of the Sonoma Valley Library Donates 2,000th Book to Free Bookmobile
Written by admin, November 21st, 2016   

Friends of the Sonoma Valley Library

Our friends and partners around the county help make our program possible, and we have been blessed since last September to have grown our relationship substantially with the Friends of the Sonoma Valley Library (SVFOL), a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to enhancing the presence of their library in the community and supporting its efforts to bring the pleasure of reading, listening, and viewing to their population through traditional media, technological innovations, and diverse programs. Since the Free Bookmobile’s start in 2009, SVFOL stalwart Dave Dobbins has graciously offered us books from their periodic sale leftovers, many of which ended up on our shelves in those early days.

More recently, powerhouse SVFOL volunteer Tony Pisacane reached out to see if he could find a good home with us for even more material that was coming in between sales and overloading their storage capacity. Tony is no stranger to building community relationships: he’s the force behind SVFOL’s local Books to Schools program, which affords area schools the opportunity to request certain types of titles and then have them delivered with a smile, completely free of charge!

Over the past 15 months, Tony’s customized loads for the Free Bookmobile have significantly boosted our overall quality and filled gaps in certain key categories. By October, he had contributed 2,000 books to our program — thank you! Tony’s efforts highlight both what can be accomplished when non-profits work carefully together, and the joys of those kinds of collaborative relationships. If you are a Sonoma Valley-area school or human services provider in need of books, please click here to be in touch with Tony via this web form.

Healdsburg Forever Pledges Sixth-Year Support to Free Bookmobile
Written by admin, November 16th, 2016   

Healdsburg Forever

We love working in Healdsburg and Geyserville, and our good friends at Healdsburg Forever feel we are bringing good value to those residents. Their confidence in our north county services has been extended in the form of grant support for the sixth year running. Far from idling through the same set of stops month after month, the Free Bookmobile diligently seeks out the most effective partners and locations toward delivering maximum impact with our award-winning service. Recent additions to those routes include Alliance Medical Center, Fitch Mountain Summer Camp, and West Side Elementary School after we learned they had lost their library. Free Bookmobile to the rescue!

Healdsburg Forever (formerly the Healdsburg Area Fund) is a community endowment created by local citizens in 2003 to provide a dependable income stream for annual grants to support nonprofit organizations serving community needs in Healdsburg and Geyserville. An affiliate of Community Foundation Sonoma County, the Healdsburg Forever Fund has grown to over $1 million and secured pledges that will sustain their mission for generations to come. To date, they have granted more than $630,000 to over 50 applicants to help manage program and operational costs for nonprofit organizations. Huge thanks to the thoughtful philanthropists and board members who make this enrichment possible!

Bethlehem Foundation Powers Expansion in Free Bookmobile Senior Services
Written by admin, October 29th, 2016   

The Free Bookmobile will roll to an additional 400 low-income seniors over the next 12 months thanks to generous expansion of support from Bethlehem Foundation! In fact they are helping guarantee the gains we made in 2016 as well with this second-year award to our friendly outreach program. Bethlehem Foundation was established  locally in 2013 with the sale of the high-rise Bethlehem Tower near in downtown Santa Rosa. The building and its new owners, Reiner Communities, will continue to serve low- to very low-income seniors and proceeds from the sale are at work promoting an enhanced quality of life for elder adults throughout Sonoma County.

We are deeply committed to helping these citizens live as fully as possible for as long as possible in their setting of choice. Many face challenges in accessing public resources like the library and so we just drive it right to their doorsteps. We offer large print and audiobook titles for the vision impaired, and our enthusiastic staff bring a wide selection of material in categories of choice out to the ground level for anyone unable to climb our vehicle steps. The Free Bookmobile also offers the elderly a unique and easy way for them to participate, to give back. We are always in need of fresh books for our shelves and delight in receiving contributions lovingly selected from our patrons’ homes. We look forward to building more of these energizing reciprocal relationships in the months to come!

Sonoma County Public Library Foundation Supports Ballot Measure Y
Written by admin, October 1st, 2016   

The Free Bookmobile’s parent organization, the Sonoma County Public Library Foundation (SCPLF), is a strong proponent of local ballot Measure Y, a proposal to boost funding to Sonoma County’s library system via a 1/8-cent sales tax increase. SCPLF’s core mission includes support of library facilities and promotion of their use, both of which will receive a big shot in the arm if the measure passes this November. The initiative has received broad endorsements from community groups, media outlets, and local politicians, including all five county supervisors.

SCPLF and the Free Bookmobile are proud to spread awareness of this opportunity for critical library funding. Currently our library system is operating at a deficit, even after the most recent reduction in operating hours, and will soon run into trouble due to diminishing reserves. Some of the branches are desperately in need of repairs and new equipment. Passage of Measure Y, which will require a 2/3 majority “yes” vote, will allow library management to increase available hours, expand important programs and modernize the facilities and collection.

Free Bookmobile Director Glen Weaver is particularly passionate about literacy and cultural centers being open when families have the time to visit them. “Success on Measure Y will mean that all of our libraries can be open on Sundays,” he explained, “which is often the only day that working parents can bring their children in to explore all that libraries have to offer.”

For more information, please visit, and remember to vote YES on Measure Y!


Measure Y


First 5 Sonoma County Doubles Free Bookmobile 0 – 5 Outreach with Matching Grant
Written by admin, September 15th, 2016   

First 5 Sonoma County

We are tremendously grateful for our long-term partnership with First 5 Sonoma County! Thanks to the availability of funds via the 1998 California Children and Families Act, First 5 has been a Free Bookmobile supporter from the beginning, even in acquiring our purpose-built 24′ Maroney Freightliner back in 2010. Now we have just received news that they will be doubling the impact of other recent applicable grants so that we can do twice as much to reach our littlest new readers, Sonoma County’s 0 – 5 year-olds.

This is a crucial boost to one of the most important aspects of our program, covering not only the children themselves but the parents and other family members who read to them, who engage them in the fun and educational opportunities of books at this impressionable age. We look forward to not only maintaining our strong presence in local preschools and child development centers, but finding those lowest-income toddlers who have access to even fewer services. Everyone deserves a chance to grow up with books!


United Way & Exchange Bank Hosting Annual Children’s Book Drive Through August 31
Written by admin, August 1st, 2016   

United Way Children's Book Drive


It’s that time of year! Our good friends at United Way of the Wine Country and Exchange Bank are once again teaming up for the annual Children’s Book Drive. And we are delighted to have new friends joining the collection effort this year, including Kaiser Permanente, The Press Democrat, Sonoma Media Group, and more! Please scroll down or click on the graphic above for the full list of locations to which you can bring us your new and gently used children’s books. After a heavy summer schedule reaching out to schools and camps, the Free Bookmobile’s shelves are in need of new reading material. Please help us restock so we can get back into action for a successful fall campaign  :)

From the UW site: United Way of the Wine Country Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) is proud to present the United Way Children’s Book Drive. During the book drive, community members rally in support of education and childhood literacy by donating new and gently used English and Spanish children’s books. Books are collected during the drive and distributed to kids for free through United Way’s education initiatives and the Free Bookmobile of Sonoma County.  WLC has committed to make a difference in early childhood education in our community, and with your help, we can give all kids a chance to learn and be successful throughout school and life.

Join us to get free books to our area’s kids!  The magic begins as kids choose their books and young minds are opened up to possibilities and worlds which come alive through words on the pages. We need your support to rewrite the story of education for so many in the community.

Book Drive Sponsors

Local Rotary Clubs Come Up Big for Free Bookmobile
Written by admin, July 25th, 2016   

RR Rotary HS Rotary SRW RotarySRE Rotary  PF Rotary

Service above self. This is what more than 1 million Rotarians put into action across the globe. It’s a powerful creed and one that has inspired many Free Bookmobile volunteers and supporters, including program founder Glen Weaver. Glen remembers all the work local Rotary clubs did in partnership with homeless service organizations throughout Sonoma County during his time with Committee on the Shelterless (COTS). Now he is fortunate to have their support for literacy outreach, and have they ever come through in 2016!

In addition to investments made by other clubs mentioned in this News blog, generous donations have recently been made by:

Rotary Club of Petaluma Foundation — For our extensive monthly outreach to Petalumans of all ages

Rotary Club of Russian River — For service to rural communities from Guerneville to Jenner

Rotary Club of Santa Rosa West — For prioritizing a large underserved population west of downtown, including Roseland

Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East — For bring great books directly to east Santa Rosa seniors at their homes

Rotary Club of Healdsburg Sunrise — For our comprehensive service to all corners of greater Healdsburg

Thank you, Rotary, for setting the local standard for community service, and for your help with our important mission!


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