December 12, 2021 by Napa Valley Register Editorial Board
Napa County is a special place.
One of the things that makes it special is its thriving non-profit community. From tiny operations consisting of just one or two people, to sprawling enterprises like OLE Health, non-profits are working every day to make our community better.
There are around 600 non-profits of various kinds in the county, about 40 of which have budgets over $1 million per year. It is hard to know exactly how many people benefit from their activities, but by some estimates, it is at least 100,000, more than two thirds of all people who live in the county. And we all benefit indirectly.
This thriving non-profit community is made possible in part by the fact that this is a wealthy and cosmopolitan community. Many individuals give regularly, and many businesses contribute, too. Notably, the industry group Napa Valley Vintners has donated about $200 million from the proceeds of Auction Napa Valley over the last 40 years. The Napa Valley Community Foundation has given more than $85 million over the years and provided valuable resilience-building grants and technical assistance, along with its powerful work in disaster recovery efforts. CanDo Napa Valley in recent years has mounted a smaller, but no less worthy effort, publishing their annual Give!Guide to allow small donors to connect to small non-profits. This has led to $3.75 million in donations since the effort started in 2013.
To celebrate this vibrant community, the Napa Valley Register is presenting a new feature, one which we hope will become an annual tradition.
Stating on Dec. 13, we will begin “12 Days of Giving,” a series of stories profiling a non-profit every day through Dec. 24. The stories will focus on the mission of the non-profits, the leaders and volunteers who make them possible, the funders who keep them going, and the people whose lives they have touched.
We’ll also include information with each story about how to get involved yourself: how to give, how to volunteer, and how to seek their assistance if you need it.
We received a vital assist in this project from the Napa Valley Community Foundation. We consulted with Executive Director Terrence Mulligan and his staff as we developed the project. They provided us a list of about two dozen non-profits of all shapes and sizes and missions that they have worked with over the years, and our editors narrowed it down to the final 12.
Napa Valley Community Foundation knows this world as well as anyone. The staff conducts more than 200 site visits each year with non-profits across the Valley, in every geographical area and sub-sector. They have a birds-eye view of the local charitable sector, and a rigorous but even-handed vetting process.
Last year, the Foundation distributed more than $13 million, which was roughly broken down into $4.4 million via Donor Advised Fund grants, $417,000 in Legacy Fund grants and $8.3 million in their impact areas, which include: investments in youth, fighting poverty, and championing community and disaster relief, response and resilience.
We also partnered with the Napa Valley Vintners, who heard about the project and offered a generous sponsorship to help underwrite the expensive business of gathering and presenting news to our readers.
We thank the Community Foundation and Vintners for their help and support. Without their generous and relentless work to support our non-profits, Napa County would be a poorer place to live and work.
Our list of 12 is not intended to be exhaustive, nor to be an endorsement of any particular organization or mission. Rather we focused on a diversity of missions and locations to give a sense of the scope of work that these amazing organizations perform. We want these 12 stories to celebrate all the great work done by all the vibrant non-profits in this county.
If this year’s series is as popular with readers as we expect, we plan to be back next year with 12 more equally worthy and interesting stories to tell.
So as you celebrate this holiday season, please take a moment to raise a toast to the outstanding organizations that serve our community every day and the donors who make it all possible.
We owe you all more than we can express.