A Community that Cares

Philanthropy — both the formal and the informal kind — is a way of life in Petaluma.

Read on to learn about the issues that inspire us. Check out stories about real people working to lend a hand. Review tips for incorporating philanthropy into your business culture. Then…join us!

Human Needs

Petaluma has a strong and collaborative network of social services nonprofits.

These organizations do more than provide our neediest residents with subsistence-level support. They also offer programs that enable everyone in our community to take what they need and give when they can.

Petaluma is home to a nationally-recognized community health center and homeless shelter, volunteer requirements for our public school students, and thriving community gardens that enable everyone to access fresh, healthy food.


Petaluma kids find support in many different places—from schools and enrichment programs to the skate park and downtown music hall.

Our larger youth-based nonprofits work across the community, making it easy for you to match your interests and capacity to give with what’s needed.

Petaluma kids benefit from adult mentors that can provide extra support and friendship, and school enrichment programs funded by community-wide nonprofits.

The Environment

Petaluma is home to several nonprofits focused on sustainability and environmental issues. Some focus on local projects, such as the restoration of the Petaluma River. Others have a more regional or even global impact.

Across these organizations, you’ll find leaders who are highly approachable and appreciative. You’ll find that even nonprofits that focus outside the Petaluma are greatly value local donors and volunteers.

Civic Projects & The Arts

One way to make a difference is by volunteering for a City-sponsored service project or by serving on one of the City’s many commissions and committees. Topic areas include trails, technology, parks and recreation, development, and art.

Speaking of art…Petaluma offers numerous ways to support visual and performing arts programs–in schools, private theaters, and public organizations.

The Unexpected

Bad things happen everywhere. But unlike anywhere else, when they happen in Petaluma, we organize a fundraiser, send out a press release, and ask anyone and everyone to help out.

This kind of “pop-up philanthropy” succeeds in part thanks to our tightly-networked business and nonprofit leaders. These organizations provide oversight and expertise to ensure help gets to where it’s needed.