Founders’ Letter

In the summer of 2014, I was hiking with my friend Deirdre Holbrook when she excitedly began to relate to me her experience with Impact 100 Sonoma. Deirdre worked for the Sonoma Land Trust, which was a finalist to win $100,000 for its work on the Sonoma Developmental Center transition.

Deirdre was thoroughly impressed by the substantial results Impact 100 Sonoma had achieved in just a few short years. She didn’t realize that I also had been admiring its accomplishments and had been hoping for a chapter to launch in Santa Rosa. “I’m tired of waiting for someone else to start another Sonoma County Impact 100 chapter,” I told Deirdre. “Let’s just start one ourselves!”

In November 2014, we gathered a dozen women in my living room. Would there be enough interest to launch this ambitious venture? The conversation quickly turned to how we would get the concept off the ground, and by the next day, Carol Orme and Vicki Groninga had called with guest lists for two more house parties. We were off and running!

I came to Impact 100 Redwood Circle with nearly two decades of history with Sonoma County nonprofits as a consultant, board member and volunteer. Being well versed in the needs of the community, I loved the idea of bringing women together to make a substantial impact.

In the course of launching this group, however, I’ve discovered something else: How tremendously rewarding it is to meet the many bright, talented women who live in our community. I can’t wait to work with you – all 100 (and more!) of us – to award our grant in May of each year!

Thank you for joining Deirdre and me on this rewarding adventure!

Melissa Kelley
Co-Founder, Impact 100 Redwood Circle