City of Pleasanton is Sunflower Hill’s 2018 Rainmaker

Sunflower Hill has awarded its second Rainmaker award to the city of Pleasanton – including all city staff, elected officials and commissioners who supported the development of Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch, a proposed residential community for individuals with special needs.

The award was handed out on Saturday July 28 at Moonlight in the Vines, an annual benefit/gala for the nonprofit.  In addition to Irby Ranch, the nonprofit organization is developing a residential community in Livermore, has a thriving garden at Hagemann Ranch and is now offering hospitality and volunteering experiences at Stable Café, a quaint breakfast spot at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.   Sunflower Hill members volunteer once a month at Stable Café as waiters, busboys and dishwashers.

“We’re fortunate to have a very committed group of volunteers, families, donors and advisors,” said Susan Houghton, President of the Board of Directors for Sunflower Hill.  “But our annual Rainmaker award honors the individual or organization that allowed significant ‘rain’ to fall. Rainmakers help our organization grow and allow our sunflowers to blossom. Because of their belief in our vision, our entire community benefits.”

Pleasanton’s Housing, Human Services and Planning Commissions as well as the Mayor and City Council all unanimously approved the 31-unit Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch residential community in 2017.   Next, city staff, under the leadership of city manager Nelson Fialho, worked diligently and collaboratively to finalize a community that would meet the needs of individuals with special needs/developmental disabilities.   They also assisted Sunflower Hill and affordable housing partner SAHA Housing in procuring more than $7 million in Alameda County A1 Housing Bond funds to help finance the project.

“I am honored to accept this Rainmaker award on behalf of the entire City of Pleasanton. Sunflower Hill symbolizes the power that a public-private-nonprofit partnership can have in service to a unique community need, and it has been a pleasure to collaborate on this project,” said Pleasanton City Manager Nelson Fialho.

Sunflower Hill’s campus at Irby Ranch will be located within the 14 acre Homestead development by Meritage Homes.  Grading is already underway for the Meritage subdivision.  Groundbreaking on Sunflower Hill’s parcel is tentatively set for early 2019, with lease-up opportunities in early 2020.  When complete, 31 one and two bedroom units will be available with affordable rents set between 20 to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).  Dahlin Architects of Pleasanton is leading the design.  “Pleasanton’s commitment to our vision, from day one, was extraordinary,” said Houghton.  “And it truly demonstrates Pleasanton is a community of character.”

For more information on the Rainmaker award or Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch, visit