Molly said it bothered Chip to see the living conditions that some of the migrant agriculture workers were in.
“So we thought it’d be really nice to give back to the ag community because he felt that’s why our family is secure,” she said. “He felt like if it weren’t for the agriculture community, he wouldn’t have a job or be financially stable.”
Molly explained the foundation’s name took inspiration from a book her mother and Birch Lane Elementary librarian Lynne had read called “Esperanza Rising.” The children’s book details the migrant farm communities and their living conditions.
“Now every year before the holidays in December, my family has partnered with a school district down in Delano, and we go down and give away money,” Molly said. “It can be used for anything; the only qualification to get the money is you have to have a family member working in the ag community.”
Molly said the Delano School District has been supportive of the process. She said members help pick and collect applications and verify the students that have family members working in agriculture.
“A lot of kids will write thank-you letters and it’s absolutely heartbreaking,” Molly said. “They will write back and say that they were able to get Christmas presents, and they’ve never had that before.”
Esperanza Rising Foundation has raised a total of $40,000 — $10,000 a year for the past four years. Sundstrom said they normally take the total number of kids who ask for money and divide that into $10,000 to give each child an equal amount.
So far, the foundation has promoted itself by word of mouth, through Facebook and through its Sundstrom Hill Winery located in Davis.
Sundstrom Hill Winery was founded by Chip and Lynne in 2008. Sundstrom said after her father took an extension course through UC Davis on winemaking, he gained a knack for making wine, with family and friends encouraging him to sell it.
“My parents run the winery and 10 percent of what they make goes back to the foundation,” Molly said.
Recently, Nugget Markets and Downtown Davis restaurant Seasons have decided to sell Sundstrom Hill’s wine.
“We haven’t really hit the streets in terms of fundraising efforts,” Molly said. “But we try to go to any community event that we can partner with.”
Regarding expansion, Molly said it could happen; however it is all contingent on how much money is raised.
“We value our partnership down in Delano very much, and would love to create a similar partnership with an organization in Yolo County,” Chip said in an e-mail. “Our goal is to raise enough funds to support both communities, and the agriculture community as a whole.”