Elizabeth Brown of Santa Rosa’s community Foundation Sonoma has won one of North Bay Business Journal’s Nonprofit Leadership Awards.
Describe your organization
Community Foundation Sonoma County is the hub of philanthropy, connecting people, ideas, and resources to benefit all who live here. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we’ve given away over $200M in our 34 year history to hundreds of amazing organizations in the areas of education, arts, health and human services, environment, and animal welfare.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Atlanta is my hometown, and I came to California in 2001 after a decade in Washington, D.C. When I’m not working, you can find me at yoga or hiking. I am also newly engaged and love spending time with my fiancé.
What achievement are you most proud of?
One of my proudest achievements is a very recent one, creating the Sonoma County Resilience Fund in response to the wildfires. We raised $2 million in one week with lots more to come. I’m proud of this achievement because it is teamwork at its best during the most challenging time.
What is your biggest challenge today?
We’re in a “building the plane while we’ve flying it mode.” As the pilot, I know my decisions are based on imperfect information, but at least we’re off the ground and headed in the right direction.
What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon:. Our philanthropic investment in disaster recovery and rebuilding.
What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?
Two of my most helpful resources: an executive coach and a meditation app called “Calm.”
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
More and more sophisticated tools for online philanthropy and younger and more diverse leadership.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization:
I admire woman who are excellent businesspeople who use their influence to encourage personal transformation. Two at the top of that list are Oprah Winfrey and Sheryl Sandberg. Closer to home, I really admire Barbara Banke because she is a powerful businessperson and philanthropist and she fuses these two aspects of herself and her company in a really integrated and meaningful way.
Current reading: Unbelievable by Katie Tur and Dreamland by Sam Quinones
Most want to meet: Barak Obama. I bet everyone says that.
Stress-relievers: laughing, yoga, taking way too many pictures of my dog, POTUS.
Social media you most use: I really don’t. Growth area for me.
Buzzword from your industry you hate the most: “Stakeholder
Typical day at the office: Most days are some combination of coaching staff, meeting with donors, learning from our nonprofit partners, and trouble-shooting..
Best place to work outside of the office: My desk in my favorite room at home, especially in the wee hours of the morning.
Words that best describe you: Kind, funny, enthusiastic, futurist, concerned
Anything you want to add?: I’m so honored to be among the amazing community leaders receiving this award
President and CEO
Community Foundation Sonoma
120 Stony Point Road, Suite 220, Santa Rosa 95401
Professional background: Philanthropy for 20-plus years
Education: B.A. political science, Davidson College. M.A. creative writing, Johns Hopkins University.