Our Challenge

Memory loss and other symptoms of cognitive decline are a big problem in this country. In Sonoma Valley alone, we estimate there are more than 1,000 individuals experiencing some form of cognitive decline. Most still live at home, which means that there are another 1,000 to 2,000 caregiving friends and family members who are also affected.

The Good News Is

that with proper support, both Care Partners (care receivers and care providers) can still enjoy a quality life.

The Bad News Is

that until now, the support available has only reached a fraction of the Sonoma Valley families that need it.

The Challenge

How to educate more people and connect them with support opportunities that
will enhance their quality of life.

Our Collaborative

CarePartners Initiative is a nonprofit organization formed in March 2019 to tackle this challenge.

Our approach is to partner with our community’s established service providers. If they have relevant programs and events, our job is to build greater awareness for those programs. We also work with our partners to adapt, create and promote new services, including new activities , support groups and educational events.

In short, we are a catalyst for creating greater awareness and support for Sonoma residents dealing with cognitive decline.

Community Partners

Our Strategic Partners

Our Supporting Partners


The organization is led by a Governing Board which functions as a working board, responsible for the achievement of CarePartners Initiative strategic objectives and for the delivery of its annual operating plan.

Whitney Evans, Co-Chairman

As the Care Partner for his wife, Jeanette, Whitney is a passionate advocate for families with cognitive decline He is a dedicated community volunteer, playing a role in the success of many nonprofit organizations in the Valley. In 2012 he was selected as the Alcalde, honorary mayor, by the Sonoma City Council in recognition of his nonprofit leadership.

Erick Larson, Co-Chairman

Erick has been working with care givers for nearly 30 years. For more than a decade he has focused specifically on managing the care of seniors and served as Executive Director for two senior residential facilities, where he became particularly interested in the various stages of dementia and cognitive decline.

Bill O’Neal

Bill is a past Board President of Vintage House, Sonoma Valley’s senior center. He has broad experience in the senior marketplace with clients such as Blue Cross, Bayer, Philips and a host of senior housing providers.

Sharon Knight

A healthcare entrepreneur, advisor and investor Sharon is an expert in medical startups. Her personal interest in helping people with cognitive decline is motivated by her mother’s recent passing from Alzheimer’s disease.

Denise Kalos

Ms. Denise Kalos is the President for AFFIRMATIVhealth, PLLC. Prior to joining AFFIRMATIVhealth she was Vice President, Cognitive Wellbeing Programs for the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, a non-profit research institute focused on aging and age related disease.

Dr. Patricia Brooks - Emeritus Founding Board Member

Dr Brooks has practiced as a psychotherapist in traditional and integrative medical settings for over 35 years. Her practice in Sonoma includes individuals and family members who are coping with symptoms of cognitive decline.

Cathy Webber, Staff

As a veteran of such organizations as GE, End World Hunger Foundation and Sonoma Leadership Systems, Cathy is helping develop and manage CarePartners Initiative programs and back-end implementation. She is also part of the family caregiver team for her mother-in-law who is suffering from dementia.

Advisory Council

Our advisors hold responsible positions in supporting organizations and/or have experience and expertise in cognitive health. They will be called upon regularly to lend their expertise in support of our mission.
Judith Bjorndal, M.D. Pediatrician, Medical Director at Sonoma Developmental Center, retiredDenise Kalos Founder & CEO, AFFIRMATIVhealth (RE:Mind program)
John Bohan Caregiver and co-leader of an Alzheimer’s support group of care receivers and caregiversNancy King Executive Director Pets Lifeline
Phyllis Burt, MA Audiologist, Hearing LifePeter Langham Retired Fire Captain and Paramedic caregiver and musician
Ann Colichidas Support Group SpecialistTaylor McCandless Kaiser Permanente, Clinical Social Worker
Larry Davis, PhD Community Systems ResearchKelly Mather CEO BayHealth and Wellness Author, former CEO Sonoma Valley Hospital
Shelley Dombroski Alzheimer’s Association’s Director North BayMark Nilsson Director, Sonoma Hills Retirement Community
Jamie Escoubas Day Respire Program Manager, Council on Aging of Sonoma CountyHeldi Rutherford Caregiver and Art Therapist
Priscilla Essert Executive Director, Vintage House Senior CenterGrace Starr Director of Sales, Sunrise Senior Living, Sonoma
Lauren Hibdon Alzheimer’s Association Family Care SpecialistMark Sipes Community Liaison, St. Joseph’s Healthcare
Susan Idell Former Director of Education and Training, On Lok, San FranciscoCarson Watson Caregiver
Dr. Patricia Brooks Dr. Brooks is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Mental Health Counselor located in Sonoma, CA.

Charitable Status

Our Fiscal Sponsor is Inquiring Systems, Inc (ISI), a California nonprofit 501c3 corporation founded in 1978. This fiscal sponsorship relationship provides CarePartners Initiative the 501c3 legal status to accept tax exempt donations. ISI handles the regulatory compliance and provides us with other administrative and legal support