Sebastopol service clubs and nonprofits seeking to join forces

By Rollie Atkinson, Sonoma West Times & News, March 11, 2021

service club sign

Service clubs have been a part of life in Sebastopol's since the beginning. Here a sign from 1970 names the clubs active in the town at the time.

Comprehensive survey of community needs is first step toward a community-wide summit

Several Sebastopol area service clubs, in conjunction with the city of Sebastopol and project facilitator CoMission, are embarking on an ambitious and noteworthy community needs survey and assessment. Groups like the local Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, Masons, Lions and nonprofits typically have their own projects, fundraising campaigns and volunteer opportunities but seldom join forces in longer-term partnerships.

The goal is to bring together all organizations in and around Sebastopol that address community needs and all the area’s Service Clubs to identify pressing community issues and better organize how the community responds to them. The tentative schedule for the summit is late April or early May.

After a monthlong consultation, the city and the clubs have decided on a plan of action, according to a statement circulated by CoMission.

Starting in the next week, the city and CoMission will send out a survey to identified community service providers, such as West County Community Health, schools, nonprofits and more. It is designed to ascertain what organizations see as our community’s most pressing problems and invite them to share what they would like to do to improve their programs.

“We know we have real needs in Sebastopol and the greater west county,” said Diana Rich, city council member and former executive director or the Sebastopol Community and Cultural Center. “We are also lucky to have many great organizations that are working to improve things. But, I know, as a member of Rotary and as an admirer of many other volunteer organizations in town, that the clubs and other supporters would really appreciate a more complete picture of our area’s needs.”

Other organizations already contacted include the Active 20-30 Club, Sebastopol Grange, Gravenstein Lions Club, Sebastopol Masonic Center, Order of the Eastern Star, Soroptimist of West County, Veteran’s of Foreign Wars and several local church organizations.

The returned surveys will be summarized and then presented at a summit roughly 45 days later, the CoMission announcement said. The summit organizers intend to invite organizations that have completed the surveys, the service clubs and others interested in supporting efforts to meet the community’s needs. The expected outcome will be partnerships between direct service providers and those who want to support them. The focus will be on projects and ideas that seem to deal with the greatest needs and offer efficient and effective ways to address them.

Fore more information on the summit and survey, contact Crag Litwin of CoMission at 707-849-1622 or craig.litwin@comission.group.

This article was produced by Sonoma West Times & News, the hometown newspaper of Sebastopol and west county since 1889. See more news at sonomawest.com