2017 Annual report

Letter From Executive Director

Lisa Wittke Schaffner

Foundation Goals

  • Identifying and closing the gaps in the educational system
  • Improving school performance and career readiness
  • Decreasing the negative health impacts associated with poverty, especially pediatric dental health
  • Creating opportunities for the most vulnerable populations to improve their quality of life and career opportunities

Last year was a year of successes, challenges and a disaster we had never considered could happen in our area. The Foundation worked through 2017 to fill gaps in the community towards equity in education, health and income stability. The fires in October compounded some of the biggest problems...

Last year was a year of successes, challenges and a disaster we had never considered could happen in our area. The Foundation worked through 2017 to fill gaps in the community towards equity in education, health and income stability. The fires in October compounded some of the biggest problems.

As I reflect on the last six years, I realize that the work from 2012 was very important and the investments were impactful. Our first multi-year investments are now part of sustainable programs that have expanded and improved outcomes. But the Foundation is now targeting the most impactful ways to change systems. On our sixth anniversary, our focus on investing still follows the original goals listed below, but we have refined the work to support programs and organizations with matching, multi-year and capacity building investment.

In 2017, we partnered with organizations to enhance programs, grow the services they offer to their clients and stay focused on data to prove outcomes and leverage more resources. We also continued our investments and provided support and leadership on countywide initiatives.

The foundation worked through the Health Action and Cradle to Career frameworks to target programs in education. We worked to change the health outcomes of the most challenged children and empower families to be economically stable. There is a continuing need for focused investments, we encourage collaboration between entities and are granting based on these considerations. I look forward to building on this important work in 2018. Thank you for your interest in the John Jordan Foundation.

Lisa's Signature
Lisa Wittke Schaffner

Who We Are

Lisa Wittke Schaffner

Lisa Wittke Schaffner

Executive Director
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Lisa is the Executive Director of the Foundation, prior to this position she was Chief Executive Officer of the Sonoma County Alliance for seven years, the Alliance is a coalition of business, agriculture, labor and individuals organized to protect private property rights, to encourage a healthy economy, to maintain a sound environment, and to promote responsive political process. Lisa worked with organizations such as the SCOE, the Sonoma County EDB and the Business Consortium of Executive Directors to promote economic development in Sonoma County.  In 2012, Ms. Schaffner was elected to the Sonoma County Board of Education and re-elected in 2014.

Lisa is Co-Chair of Health Action Sonoma County, sits on the boards of the Sonoma County Fair, United Way of the Wine Country, Family Justice Center, Redwood Credit Union, Social Advocates for Youth, 10,000 Degrees Advisory and is on the Career Technical Education Foundation. She is the also on the Operational Team Member for Cradle to Career, the policy team for the Violence Prevention Partnership and the Healdsburg Redevelopment Oversight Committee. Lisa Schaffner was born and raised in Healdsburg, California. She graduated from California State University Sacramento in 1991 with degrees in Government and Journalism.

In 1999 Lisa was elected to Healdsburg City Council. She was Vice-Mayor from December 2002 until December 2003 and again in 2007. She became Mayor of Healdsburg in December of 2003 and again in December 2007, retiring from Council at the end of 2008. In 2010, Lisa as appointed to the Council to serve out an existing vacant term.  Most importantly, Lisa is a mother of two amazing young adults McKenzie, 21 goes to Johnson and Wales Miami and Malloy, 18 attends California State University, Sacramento.

John Jordan

John Jordan

Founder and Board Chair
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John is Chief Executive Officer of Jordan Vineyard & Winery and co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Labrador OmniMedia. An avid pilot, during college he continued to feed his passion for flying and received his Airline Transport Pilot License at age 23 (minimum age requirement). John is a graduate of Occidental College in Los Angeles and holds a JD from Empire College School of Law. While studying law, John also attended graduate school and received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of San Francisco.

After passing the California Bar Examination in December 2002, John joined the Santa Rosa-based law firm where he'd worked as a clerk in college, then opened his own private firm in Sonoma County in 2004. John enjoys flying his Piper Cub and fishing for bass on Jordan lake. He also serves as a professor at the Empire College School of Law, and speaks German and Russian.

He shares his hillside home with Labradors he adopted from a local shelter.

Josh Hermsmeyer

Josh Hermsmeyer

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Josh is co-founder and CEO of Labrador OmniMedia and Rottweiler Hardware. With 10 years in the wine industry on the grower and supplier side, Josh's passion lies at the intersection of wine and technology. Josh has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Wine & Spirits, Wines and Vines, The Press Democrat, North Bay Biz and Fast Company Now. He has given talks on social media and marketing at UC Davis, Sonoma State University, The Wine Industry Technology Symposium, The Mendocino Winegrape Commission, and Women for Wine Sense.

Josh has also written for Vineyard & Winery Management, Wines and Vines and co-authored a chapter on direct-to-consumer marketing and Wine 2.0 for Professor Liz Thach's Wine: A Global Business, the authoritative academic text on the wine industry. He served on the Sonoma County Wine Library Associates Board of Directors from 2007-2008, and was elected President for the 2008 year. Josh was trained at UC Davis, where he studied Economics and Winemaking.

He lives at and manages Rebecca's Vineyard, a 17 acre pinot noir vineyard in the Russian River Valley

Program Focus

Youth and Education

The Foundation supports programs that promote child, youth, and family development. As we deepen our commitment to building assets for vulnerable children and families, we focus on all aspects of children’s lives and align with the collaborative work of Cradle to Career. Within this context, youth and education programs address the entire continuum from early childhood education through college and workforce development. The overall goal is to support healthy infant, child, and youth development by mobilizing, strengthening, and aligning systems that affect children’s learning. The strategies are: 1) mobilize youth, families, and communities to inform policies that affect learning and achievement for vulnerable children and youth; and 2) forge partnerships between educational institutions and our community to promote learning, academic performance, and workforce preparation among vulnerable young people.

Income Stability

The Foundation is focused on supporting programs that provide a path for upward mobility and financial security. Widely shared economic prosperity not only improves the lives of low-income families and communities, but it is also good for business and the stability and growth of the economy. To achieve economic security, families need enough income from their jobs or enterprises to provide for their families' basic needs, save for emergencies, and invest in assets such as a home, a new or expanded business, education and training and retirement savings. These assets are critical because they build long-term household stability, allowing families to weather crises and unexpected challenges that are an inevitable part of today's world. The core strategies are loan programs, career training and financial education.

United Way of the Wine Country and John Jordan Foundation.

With the support of the John Jordan Foundation, United Way of the Wine Country was able to continue to grow and sustain our Schools of Hope Literacy Initiative, School Readiness Backpack program, and Earn It! Keep It! Save It! Coalition. In 2016-2017, we distributed 2900 backpacks to Sonoma County families with children ages 3-5 to help ensure they enter kindergarten ready to learn. We also provided 450 Sonoma County students with one-on-one reading tutors to ensure that they reach reading proficiency by third grade.

Finally, we assisted 4200 people with filing tax returns bringing back $5.9 million to Sonoma County’s economy. In addition, John Jordan Foundation has been a strong supporter of the Women’s Leadership Council enabling us to pilot a summer reading program and add six Little Free Libraries to our community.

2017 Update Impact of the John Jordan Foundation Funding

In 2017, Becoming Independent (BI) celebrated its 50th anniversary as an innovator in the field of human services. Delighted to have the partnership of The John Jordan Foundation, BI used 2017 grant funding to expand employment and volunteer opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The launch of Tackling the Tough Skills (TTS) has significantly increased the soft job skills required to secure and retain employment.

Having gained resume building and interview skills through TTS, one individual secured a full-time paid position, while two others acquired volunteer positions aligned with their career goals. Other successes include forming a new Job Club to follow-up on acquired skills, job site exploration, and increasing the confidence required to utilize public transportation. As the North Bay’s largest, strongest resource for people with developmental disabilities, BI focuses on growing innovative, replicable, and integrated programs including the recent launch of a Social Enterprise Division providing all concession services on the SMART trains.

BI is proud to be the first agency in the nation to provide people with developmental disabiities community-based work on a commuter train. Two individuals who graduated from TTS are now positioned to intern on the SMART train and, if interested, to apply for paid concessionista positions. BI was also honored to be chosen for the 24th season of the PBS series, Visionaries. During 2017’s devastating wildfires the BI community demonstrated the attributes upon which the organization was formed: compassion, resiliency and kindness.

CTE Foundation

Preparing Students for the Real World through Career Technical Education Foundation Sonoma County

The John Jordan Foundation was instrumental in the launch of the Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation Sonoma County in 2013 and through our five years of support, we are helping local students explore and find their passion, build confidence and leadership skills, and giving them a leg up on the high demand and high wage careers through local CTE skill building programs.

The CTE Foundation supports JJF mission to improve school performance and career readiness as they work to align education with local workforce development needs. Our funding partnership with CTEF has accelerated their ability to attract both private and industry support and created a solid foundation from which the organization has successfully expanded operations and impact since its launch as a community fund in 2012.

2017 Update Impact of the John Jordan Foundation Funding

John Jordan Foundation funding allows SAY to invest in the strategy, operations and staffing they need to have the greatest impact on the youth they serve. The check was only the beginning. JJF used connections, across industries and throughout the region, to provide SAY with top-notch board governance, public sector collaboration and fundraising strategy to optimize their programs and services.

Together, we created a better quality of life for every youth in Sonoma County.

Other Project Investments

Overall Impact

Our goal at JJF has always been to create lasting impact. Each year we are able to create a better future. These are just some of the ways we achieved that goal in 2017 alone.
2018 Annual Report



John Jordan Foundation has participated in over 100 events, just in 2017!



Our investments have directly helped 10K+ students and their families.



Our Teacher’s Wishes program helped 116 schools, 37 districts and independent schools.



We invested with 76 organizations and programs for under-resourced families and individuals.