This is our opportunity to exercise leadership and build a model of true sustainability for others to emulate. If not here, Where? If not now, when?

Act locally to replicate globally!


Sonoma Valley is a thriving, just, sustainable community  a model for Sonoma County, the state, and the nation.

The Challenge:

How do we preserve what’s great about Sonoma while adapting to new pressures and solving the chronic problems facing us?

We Aren’t Sustainable, Equitable, or Thriving. Yet.

  • Local groundwater, our largest source of water, is being depleted rapidly. 1
  • Households in our poorest neighborhoods have median earnings less than $20,000, far less than the poverty threshold in this high-cost region. 2
  • About 1,000 new parcels were created since 2005, most with development rights. 3
  • 43+ kinds of animals and plants are listed as rare, threatened or endangered.
  • Nearly 40% of households spend over 40% of their income on rent. 4
  • 69% of businesses surveyed are concerned about the shortage of housing. 5

Our problems, and their solutions, cross over multiple sectors. For example:

Wildland Management 

  • Reduce Firerisk and economic loss

  • Employ and engage young people

  • Increase water supply

  • Sequester carbon

  • Increase biodiversity


  • Safe, decent housing for all

  • Access to services and community life

  • Protect open space, agriculture and our water supply
  • Support our workforce backbone
  • Better either and education outcomes

Why Do We Need Sustainable Sonoma?

Over 100 nonprofits and agencies work to make Sonoma Valley a better place. Most share a similar vision of a better Sonoma Valley. But we lack a coordinated workplan, common goals, and shared, measurable outcomes that would lead to efficiencies and greater success.

Sustainable Sonoma is an ongoing group of partners that craft a common agenda, promote a shared vision, measure shared performance objectives such as those in the STAR Communities rating system, coordinate actions by multiple actors with multiple benefits, continuously communicate among trusted partners, and are backed by a neutral party with resources and capacity to convene and coordinate.

Process design principles

No single organization has the ability to solve any major social problem by itself. Sustainable Sonoma takes a Collective Impact approach — a cross-sector approach to collaboration that achieves measurable effects on social issues. 

Near-term objectives

  • Hearing from community members, through multiple channels, on their goals and strategies for making Sonoma Valley a better place — add your voice here!

  • A public goal-setting event that answers the questions: What do you want to see in Sonoma Valley’s future? What do you NOT want to see?

  • Adopt a strategic plan written by a broad partnership of community interests.
  • Recruit influential community champions. Suggestions welcome!
  • Use best practices from “collective impact” and “place-making” processes.
  • Establish an independent financial home for Sustainable Sonoma

  • Capacity-building and fundraising

  • Add partners

  • Set priorities for 2018


SS Timeline.jpg

1. Sonoma County Water Agency report to Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Basin Advisory Panel, 2014.
2. Portrait of Sonoma County. Sonoma County Department of Health Services. 2014. The California Poverty Measure. PPIC and Stanford. 2013. Learn more here.
3. Sonoma Ecology Center analysis of Sonoma County Permit and Resource Management Department data. 2015. 
4. Sonoma County Economic Development Board, Community Foundation Sonoma County.
5. Sonoma Valley Economic Development Partnership, 2014.