May 2014  |
May 21, 2014 

Calling All Artists!

If there is a creative artist in your family, we want to showcase their talents! Sunflower Hill will be producing two new sets of greeting cards - both of which will be available in early Fall. 


"Our card sets are proving to be extremely popular," said Tamara Notestine, Sunflower Hill board member and project manager for the next launch. "We need pictures of sunflowers as well as holiday themed drawings." 


Notestine stressed that participants do not need to have perfect art skills. "The value of these cards is how each artist uniquely interprets the theme. We love all the depictions!"


The first card set featured twelve artists and twelve different sunflower designs. The cards were Sunflower Hill's first micro business project and are still selling well. You can purchase your set of cards here.



Depictions of sunflowers will continue with the second set of artists and cards. The third set of cards will feature various holidays -- with fun designs for Halloween, 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day, in addition to traditional holidays like Hanukkah, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter and Passover.  


If you have an artist who'd like to participate in either one of the new series, please let us know by sending an email to All mediums are allowed - paint, markers, crayons or pencils. The cards will sell for $20 and will make perfect holiday gifts!  

Seed Day was a Success!

April 22 turned out to be a perfect Spring day for the Sunflower Hill Seed Day! 


Thanks to a grant from the Rotary Club of Livermore Valley, Sunflower Hill was able to launch a small, second micro-business of sunflower seeds and plants. And on April 22 at the Livermore Public Library, families assisted in the counting and packaging of the seeds and ensured that additional seeds were planted in individual pots.  


Many families took the potted seeds/plants home - as master growers - to ensure that they thrive and bloom. Once they do, they will be available for purchase at local farmers markets in the Tri-Valley. Each will feature the name of the individual who grew the plant. 


"It was a great afternoon," said Chris Bogert, Sunflower Hill board member and project manager.  "Thanks to all of our master growers for their hard work!"


The seed packets, "Sunnyside Medley" include 25 seeds and feature ornamental varieties of pale yellow to mahogany red flowers designed to grow to 24 to 28 inches in height. The cost is $3.50 with discounts available for larger quantities. Seeds can be purchased via the Sunflower Hill website. All are designed to be planted in 2014. 


A HUGE thanks to Casey Henshaw of Little Rae Photography for taking such amazing photos at Seed Day!   


Be sure to come visit the Sunflower Hill booth at upcoming Farmers Markets and 1st Wednesday Nights in Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton! Sunflower Hill will be selling seed packets, sunflower plants and providing general information about our organization.
Thursday May 22
Dublin Farmers Market 
4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday June 4
Pleasanton 1st Wednesday
6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Thursday June 26
Livermore Farmers Market
4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
We're looking for volunteers to help out at our booths at each of these events. If you can spare an hour to join us, please email us at
As a bit of trivia, the origin of sunflowers date back to 1000 B.C. Traditionally considered to be gifts of radiant warmth, they represent loyalty, longevity, nourishment and vibrancy. Sunflowers are also the happiest of the flowers!

Reserve the day - August 23 for Wine and Painting!

Sunflower Hill will continue its wine and painting series on Saturday August 23 at Las Positas Winery in Livermore from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Join us for an afternoon of great wine and food, fun painting and wonderful auction items! For this event, we'll paint Van Gogh's Olive Grove.  Tickets will be available to purchase via the SFH website in late June. 


In 2013, Sunflower Hill launched the popular wine and painting series with two events. The first, held at Canvas and Cabernet in Walnut Creek in May 2013 featured Van Gogh's Sunflower series. The second event in November at Stony Ridge Winery in Livermore featured another Van Gogh favorite - Starry Night. Both events generated more than $20,000 in revenue for Sunflower Hill.  


Sunflower Hill family member Lisa Rosare will once again serve as project manager for the auction. If you know of a business that might be willing to donate a gift certificate or product, please contact her at


The Wine/Paint events are designed for novice painters and even for individuals who are sure they can't paint! Led by instructor Julee Hermann, you'll learn step by step how to create a work of art. A very special thanks to Lisa Maier, owner of Las Positas Winery for her partnership on this event. Stay tuned for more details!


One in 68 Individuals?  How about one in 48 with Autism!

You may have seen the national Autism Speaks statistic revealed in April on the number of individuals now being diagnosed with Autism. In California, it's even lower - one in 48 boys. A closer look at all the demographic data reveals some unbelievable facts -as more than 70,000 California residents have been diagnosed with Autism and 93 percent are under the age of 31.  


The statistic does not include individuals with other developmental disabilities who may be served by local regional centers. The Regional Center of the East Bay, which serves both Alameda and Contra Costa counties has more than 17,000 individuals on their caseloads - and they are adding approximately 120 individuals each month.  


Sunflower Hill has joined the Autism Society of America's San Francisco chapter (SF ASA) in an informational campaign to spread the word on the number of adults with autism and other special needs and the services that will be needed. We believe it is critical to advocate for new housing and day program opportunities so that all families have a choice of the residential setting and programming option that best fits their needs.   Housing options are critical - whether that comes in the form of independent living and supportive services, group homes or intentional communities like Sunflower Hill. 


The Sunflower Hill vision is similar to 80 other communities either in development or open nationwide. Most all were created and built by families who were concerned about the long-term housing choices for their children.  We believe that public-private partnerships are necessary in order to meet even just a small fraction of the housing demand that will occur with the explosion in autism rates. A new fact sheet on the number of individuals with Autism has been developed by SF ASA. Feel free to share this information as appropriate.  


In our last newsletter, we shared information about Senate Bill 1178 (Correa) - a new bill designed to provide housing funds for individuals with developmental delays. Sadly, a rental voucher provision in the original bill language has been removed. With the long-waiting lists for HUD section 8 housing vouchers, we believe new rental vouchers are absolutely necessary to address the high cost of living in the SF Bay area. We hope that new legislation can address this issue in the future and we encourage you to advocate for rental vouchers/assistance in conversations you have with your local legislators or Regional Center case managers. 


Sunflower Hill in the Top Ten as part of East Bay Gives!

This one-day/24 hour giving marathon was held nationwide on May 6 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the creation of community foundations. Sunflower Hill ranked 10th (out of 140 non profit organizations) in terms of unique donors. Thanks for your support! 

Sunflower Hill in the Contra Costa Times
We hope you read the article in the Contra Costa Times on our Seed Day! If not, you can access it here. This article features our 2nd micro-business - sunflower seeds. If you'd like to get some to plant in your own garden, you can order them from our websiteThank you to Contra Costa Times reporter, Jeremy Thomas for your time on this piece!
Sunflower Hill Speaking Engagements
Sunflower Hill has been invited to speak at the Rotary Club of Pleasanton and the Moraga Kiwanis Club! If you have a speaking opportunity for us, please email us at 

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 P.O. Box 11436, Pleasanton, CA 94588