One Napa Valley, Many Stories: Championing Citizenship

A group of new U.S. Citizens were celebrated at a Napa County Board of Supervisors meeting in November of 2016.

We believe that our community and our democracy are more vibrant when everyone participates in the decisions we make about our future. But all too often, certain segments of our population face obstacles to civic engagement—like the lack of affordable legal services to obtain citizenship, or the dearth of local journalism.

Over a decade ago, we launched the One Napa Valley Initiative (ONVI) with a vision to cultivate citizenship and strengthen our community. With an investment of over $3 million, our nonprofit partners have achieved remarkable milestones:

  • 2,300 individuals have been granted U.S. citizenship.
  • 1,000 Valley residents have pursued ESL classes focused on civics & citizenship.
  • 485 volunteers have dedicated over 13,000 hours to naturalization workshops, ESL classes, and citizenship exam prep.

“A lot of people don’t realize that the pathway to citizenship is really hard,” says Mady Hernandez, an attorney at Immigration Institute of the Bay Area (IIBA), one of our ONVI partners. “The law is extremely complex, legal service costs can be high, and people really need a lot of support with the English and civics requirement. The Foundation has enabled us to provide high-quality, low- or no-cost immigration legal services to hundreds of immigrants in Napa County every year.”

Our 2012 study showed that immigrants make up 23% of Napa’s population and 33% of our workforce. Their invaluable contributions drive Napa’s growth and vitality. We are honored to champion their pursuit of citizenship.

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