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Jack London Yacht Club helps local nonprofits

3rd annual grant distribution event held at B.R. Cohn
Jack London Yacht Club helps local nonprofits
Jack London Yacht Club Commodores Jim Burch and Ana Dominguez.Photo by Ryan Meshau

By Melissa Dowling

The Jack London Yacht Club (JLYC) drew 160 members, guests, and representatives from local nonprofits to B.R. Cohn Winery on Nov. 14 to hand out funds raised at its yacht reveal event in July. Twenty Sonoma Valley nonprofits received grants at the November event; the culmination of the JLYC’s annual grant program, which also included spot grants to La Luz, Jack London Park Partners, and others earlier in 2021.

At the helm, adding comic relief as JLYC Commodores Ana Dominguez and Jim Burch handed out checks, were Tommy Smothers and Squire Fridell. Composer and musician Smothers is best known as half of the musical comedy duo the Smothers Brothers. Alongside his younger brother, Dick, Tommy starred in The Smothers Brothers Show, a variety hour that ran from 1966 to 1969. Fridell is the winemaker and owner of GlenLyon Vineyards & Winery in Glen Ellen, as well as the writer of Journey to Harevest…and Beyond, which appears monthly in the Kenwood Press. Fridell is also familiar because he has appeared in 3,400 TV commercials, as the Toyota spokesman for 29 years and as Ronald McDonald in McDonald’s commercials from 1984 to 1991. He also was one of the last of the contract players for Universal Studios.

JLYC’s main event is the annual Jack to Jack Yacht Race. The 2022 race will be Saturday, March 26. The course on Sonoma Creek will run from the Jack London Lodge to Jack London Village. The Jack to Jack event features a race of 18” replicas of Jack London’s Snark, each carved from the singed redwood of the wildfires from 2017 and trimmed with custom sails.

“We wanted to put a smile back on everyone’s face after those terrible wildfires and we found that our great community really wanted to come together,” said event organizers. The race was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and drought.

Nonprofits receiving grants this year included: Glen Ellen Kenwood Rotary Foundation, Art Escape, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Kenwood Depot, Sonoma Ecology Center, Glen Ellen Village Fair, Glen Ellen Historical Society, the JAYC Foundation, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Glen Ellen Forum, Sonoma Conservatory of Dance, Marine Conservation Institute, Sonoma Community Center, Pets Lifeline, First Responders Resiliency, Children’s Museum of Sonoma County, Homeless Action Sonoma, Belos Cavalos, Sonoma Arts Live Theatre Company, and Sonoma Valley Community Communications (KSVY).

Burch closed the event by introducing sponsorship opportunities for the 2022 Jack to Jack Race.

“What a great group of people and organizations today,” he told supporters and guests. “We hope to continue what we do and are able to do it every year. Next year, for our Jack to Jack, we are going to have sponsorships. This is something new. We hope to raise even more funds to be able to distribute again to our community.”

For information about sponsorships, memberships, or events, visit