Sonoma County Medical Association Alliance Foundation

Physician families connecting to create a healthier Sonoma County by improving the lives of those in need

"We should dream of and plan for a day when fewer children require foster care. But until that day comes, we have a moral responsibility to prepare young people leaving foster care ..."

                                                     —  President Jimmy Carter

Give-a-Gift Program        
Support a child in need & invest in the youth of our community

The 2019 Give-a-Gift Program campaign has begun!  The perfect time to help support our local foster youth is NOW!

Your investment will make an immediate impact in the lives of foster youth in Sonoma County.  We provide holiday gifts to over 250 foster children who may otherwise not receive a gift at all. Additionally, we provide laptop computers to college-bound foster youth - a vital tool for their academic and career endeavors.

This year's sponsor and donor levels include:

Buy a Computer Sponsor         ($700) Launch to college Donor ($200)
Change a life Sponsor                          ($500) Brighten the holidays Donor  ($100)
Invest in our youth Sponsor   ($300) Give-a-Gift Donor          ($75)

Donate by Credit Card: Click the green "Give-a-Gift Donation" button above and select the contribution of your choice.

Donate by Check: Please download this donation form and mail it to:

The Sonoma County Medical Association Alliance Foundation
Attention: Give-a-Gift c/o Liz Restel
1444 Nighthawk Drive
Santa Rosa, CA 95409

Impacts of Giving: Here is what your donations have helped us achieve this past year

"Like all young people, foster youth deserve the opportunity to pursue their dreams of attending college and have a successful career"

On July 11th, 2019 our program was pleased to award 26 laptop computers to foster youth attending the SRJC, Northern California Community Colleges, vocational school, and even CSU Channel Islands.  17 of the 26 laptop recipients attended the Bear Cub Academy held at the JC; this program is put on by the Bear Cub Scholars and NextUp Programs.  These programs are vital to the success of foster youth pursuing post-secondary education.  They offer a wide array of services and supports to ensure that foster youth can be successful.  Some of the services they provide are counseling services (academic, personal, career), assistance with financial aid, transportation assistance, access to school supplies and food pantry, college transfer assistance, graduation cap/gown/stole, academic success recognition, and access to emergency funds.  Bear Cub Academy is offered every summer for new incoming students, and is one of the requirements from our program for foster youth applying for a laptop.  This two-day program acts as an orientation opportunity for students to become familiar with the campus and all of the support services available, to help them make a successful transition to college. 

Best Buy and Microsoft remain important partners in our efforts. Best Buy continues to provide us with discounts on the latest laptops, software and warranties, donated laptop accessories, as well as Geek Squad members who provide on-site installation support. We are grateful for their steadfast support of our mission and always look forward to partnering with them each year.

The statistics for foster youth success rates in college are bleak; “foster youth graduate from high school, enroll in community college, and persist in community college for a second year at lower rates than not only students in the general population but also other disadvantaged students”[i]. Programs like Bear Cub Scholars, NextUp, and Give-a-Gift help fill in the gaps which deter these students from succeeding. We thank you, our donors, for helping us give these students a vital tool for the academic endeavors. We are excited to see what these wonderful youth do in the future!

-Liz Restel, Co-Chair, Elizabeth Bauer, Co-Chair, Laura Robertson, Carol Lynn Wood, Kathryn Koh, Sally Ebrahim, Emily Pope, Karissa Sugar
Give-a-Gift Program

[i] AT GREATER RISK California Foster Youth and the Path from High School to College, The Stuart Foundation, March 2013

[ii] California College Pathways Progress Update, October, 2018, California College Pathways and John Burton Advocates for Youth

Program History

The Give-a-Gift program is proud to connect with our community to help improve the quality of lives for youth in our Foster Care System. The support we provide benefits children of all ages in the system. We focus on two initiatives:

  1. Lifting the spirits of children's lives during the Holiday season with cherished holiday gifts, including well needed winter coats and school supplies.
  2. Supporting education for transitional age youth with laptop computers, textbook funding and advisory support for foster youth programs.

Holiday Gifts

For over 60 years the SCMAA has coordinated directly with Sonoma County Family, Youth and Children's Division to provide holiday gifts during the Holiday season for children in foster care. Sonoma County Human Services Department

These children have entered the Foster Care System as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment. They have been separated from their families through no fault of their own. This separation is particularly difficult during the holidays. The generosity of our supporters helps lessen their sadness during this season by providing gifts matched directly to their wishes. These gifts often provide essentials such as winter coats, clothing, books and school supplies. The SCMAA takes great pride in supporting these children who might otherwise not receive a gift at all.

A Growing Need

In 2007 we expanded the Give-a-Gift program in an effort to address some of the significant challenges faced by transitional age youth. (16-24 years old.) Between the ages of 18-21 years old, young adults age-out of the Child Welfare System. They lose funding and benefits that allow them to stay in foster family or group homes. Many of these youth never reunite with their families. Without housing, educational or emotional support, the future is challenging. The Give-a-Gift Program is dedicated to helping these transitional age youth in Sonoma County. We believe by continuing their education, our local foster youth have the greatest chance for success. Laptop computers are essential to help keep educational opportunities alive.

Fostering Futures

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