An Open Letter to Our Community

BLM Napa March

We’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to breathe in America of late.

Or more pointedly, who gets to breathe, and breathe freely, in America.

COVID-19 has taken more than 110,000 lives in the United States, and the last stop for many who became gravely ill was a ventilator in a hospital’s ICU ward.

As the awful toll of the virus has come more clearly into view, we’ve learned that people of color have gotten sick and died at starkly disproportionate rates because of the racial, social and economic inequities that persist in our communities.

Then came the killing of George Floyd.

At Napa Valley Community Foundation, we stand in solidarity with those who are raising their voices in this moment.

We share your grief, your sadness and your anger – but also your resolve that something be done, this time, at long last, about the elephant in the room of American civic life: the racism that runs unimpeded through so many of our systems and institutions.

We support peaceful protest and applaud every person and organization that wants to bridge divides, heal wounds and create more equitable communities.

We recognize our responsibility, as the leaders of an institution that has both money and power, to use our voice and our resources in service to the crisis at-hand, and to the urgent project of building a better America for all.

To our nonprofit partners, who year-round seek to protect the most vulnerable residents in Napa Valley, we say: stay strong in the work, and let us know how we can help.

To our donors, whose financial support affords us a platform to speak that we wouldn’t otherwise have, we say: keep giving to local charities, and consider giving to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations listed below that work to advance racial justice in the Bay Area and beyond.

As we move to safely open up our economy and get back to work, all of us want to put the fear, illness, uncertainty, economic injury and death of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us.

Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where we can look back on systemic racism, too; as something we once abided or ignored, that through a powerful coming together, we ended.

In the America that we envision, all of us can fully breathe.

Sincerely yours,

Loraine Stuart, Board Chair
Terence Mulligan, President & CEO
Napa Valley Community Foundation

These 501(c)3s can be supported by direct gifts or by recommending a grant from your donor advised fund:

Bay Area Organizations
African-American Community Services Agency (AACSA) is the only multi-service African American Center in Northern California. AACSA aims to provide the needs of the people through its membership or client services.

Asian-Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus was founded in 1972, and is the nation’s first legal and civil rights organization serving low-income Asian Pacific American communities. The nonprofit focuses on housing rights, immigration and immigrants’ rights, labor and employment issues, student advocacy, civil rights and hate violence, national security, and criminal justice reform.

Californians for Justice is a statewide youth-powered organization fighting for racial justice.

Coleman Advocates is a community organizing nonprofit that engages young people of color and their families in policy proposals and implementation plans to build more effective, equitable, and supportive public schools for low-income people of color in San Francisco and beyond.

Communities United for Restorative Justice (CURYJ) was established in 2011 to mobilize young leaders to advocate at the local and state level on issues that affect boys and men of color, from criminalization and mass incarceration to neighborhood beautification.

Faith in Action Bay Area (FIA) is a network of congregations and community leaders working to ensure that the dignity of all people in our community is upheld. FIA develops leaders, promotes civic engagement, and lifts up faith values, in order to confront power and change systems. FIA envision a world in which all people receive the respect, justice and opportunity they deserve.

Immigration Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA) helps immigrants, refugees, and their families with high-quality immigration legal services and education, including Know Your Rights, citizenship, DACA, family reunification, humanitarian and deportation defense services.

North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP), under fiscal sponsorship of Gamaliel of California, works in the North Bay to unite people to build leadership and grassroots power for social, economic, racial and environmental justice, including the Rapid Response Network to protect immigrant rights when facing federal enforcement and raids.

California-focused Organizations
The Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMoC) is an initiative of Policy Link, under fiscal sponsorship of Community Partners, and a network of more than 200 advocacy organizations and community leaders who come together to advance race and gender justice by expanding opportunity and transforming state and local policies that are failing boys and men of color, their families and communities. Since its founding eight years ago, ABMoC has passed more than 100 bills in the CA legislature and won policy change in countless cities and counties statewide.

National Center for Youth Law’s California Youth Justice Initiative seeks to transform California’s juvenile justice system into a national model in which most youth in conflict with the law are diverted away from the system to community-based services, and all youth in the system receive developmentally appropriate treatment and rehabilitative services to improve life outcomes, community health and safety.

Ella Baker Center for Human Rights works locally, statewide, and nationally to shift resources away from prisons and punishment and towards long-term public health and safety programs that can improve the health and well-being of all people, like restorative justice and homeless programs.

Initiate Justice aims to end mass incarceration by activating the power of the people it directly impacts. The group organizes it members, inside and outside of prisons, to advocate for their freedom and change criminal justice policy in California.

Western Center on Law and Poverty works to expand access to justice by ensuring that Californians with low incomes are treated fairly when engaged with criminal or civil courts, and addresses the systemic factors – like institutionalized racism, lack of access to healthcare and unequal economic structures – that keep people in poverty.

Center for Young Women’s Development dba Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC) is led by young and adult women and transgender and non-binary low-income people of color who have experienced oppressive systems, like incarceration, foster care and institutionalization and provides leadership development, education & training, research and advocacy to achieve systems change toward decriminalization and decarceration of young people and investment in community-based alternatives.

National Organizations
Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is a leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its mission is to protect people’s rights and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation is the nonprofit that supports the work of the ACLU, which was founded in 1920. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

Equal Justice Initiative was founded in 1989 to provide legal representation to people who have been illegally convicted, unfairly sentences or abused in state jails and prisons, re-entry support to formerly incarcerated people and to challenge excessive punishment and racial and economic injustices.

NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is a legal organization fighting for racial justice.

Vera Institute of Justice tackles the most pressing injustices of our day—from the causes and consequences of mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement, to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime.

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