Press Release: One Napa Valley Initiative

Napa Valley Community Foundation Launches One Napa Valley Initiative.  Focus is on Naturalization Services for Legal Permanent Residents.  Thousands of Others Could Also be Served if Immigration Reforms Are Enacted.

Napa, CA April 24, 2013 — Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) today announced the One Napa Valley Initiative, a three-year investment of more than $1 million to support Legal Permanent Residents who wish to become citizens in Napa County.  The announcement comes on the heels of a 2012 study on the economic and fiscal impact of immigration in Napa County, which was funded by NVCF and conducted by a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, DC.  That study, the first-of-its kind for the region, underscored the substantial economic contributions made by immigrants in Napa Valley, and also pointed to a significant citizenship gap: many immigrants in Napa County are eligible to become citizens, but they haven’t done so nearly as frequently as their peers around the state. 

“Only 30 percent of Napa County’s foreign-born population have become citizens versus 37 percent in California overall,” said NVCF President Terence Mulligan, noting that the scarcity of legally-based immigration services in Napa County helped explain the gap.   “There are nearly 9,000 citizenship-eligible Legal Permanent Residents in Napa County.  When they naturalize, good things happen for their families, and good things happen for the community at large.”

Citizenship is correlated with higher family income, higher educational attainment for the children of immigrants that naturalize, higher proficiency in English, and more active engagement in community affairs, Mulligan continued, noting that growth in family income can also be a big boost to the local economy.  “The increased likelihood of immigration reform makes it even more important for us to work on creating a naturalization infrastructure in Napa Valley, because there may be thousands of additional people who soon have a lawful pathway to citizenship, including many long-time residents who work in agriculture, hospitality and construction” said NVCF Board Chair Dave Gaw.

The One Napa Valley Initiative (ONVI) will provide grants and technical assistance to a group of nonprofit agencies with expertise in legally-based immigration services, and trusted relationships with the largely Spanish-speaking immigrant community in Napa County.  The nonprofits include International Institute of the Bay Area; Legal Aid of Napa Valley; On the Move/McPherson Neighborhood Family Resource Center; and Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center.  These ONVI partner agencies will work together to: 

  • Conduct outreach and education among immigrants on the benefits of citizenship
  • Offer low-cost application assistance and related legal immigration services to residents that want to naturalize
  • Assist immigrants with citizenship interview and exam preparation, including civics and English-for-naturalization classes.

“This is a big day for our community,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson.  “Immigrants are an important part of Napa Valley’s history, culture and economy. As Congress considers comprehensive immigration reform, it’s important that local groups like Napa Valley Community Foundation make investments in our community that benefit immigrants and non-immigrants alike.”

NVCF expects services to be available to area residents within the next three months, and ONVI partner agencies have already begun an intensive planning process in order to launch the program by July.  Partner agencies will initially focus outreach and assistance efforts in areas of the County where large numbers of citizenship-eligible people reside.  (To see an interactive map, please click here: http://nvcf.robparal.com.)

“We are proud to be part of the One Napa Valley Initiative,” said Rejane Brito, Executive Director of the Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center in Napa.  “Our clients are hard-working immigrant families who want a brighter future for their children.  They have a keen interest in becoming fuller participants in the economic and civic life of this community, and we look forward to helping them” do that, she added.

The One Napa Valley Initiative has been funded by contributions from nearly 70 individuals, families, businesses and foundations in Napa County, including The Michael & Isabel Mondavi Family Foundation, John and Barbara Shafer, Bob Torres, Silver Oak Cellars, The Rick Jones Family Fund, and The Clif Bar Family Foundation.  Napa Valley Community Foundation has established a special fund, called the One Napa Valley Initiative Fund, to collect additional donations for the project.  (To learn more or make a contribution, visit www.napavalleycf.org.)  A retired nurse, a handful of generous part-time residents of Napa Valley and several small and mid-sized business owners are also represented among the donors to the One Napa Valley Initiative.

“We got involved because the Community Foundation has a smart plan in place that’s going to help the whole community,” said Michael Mondavi.  “We would encourage others to make a contribution to this effort, as well.”

“This is the right project at the right time in the right place,” said another donor, who works in the affordable housing sector in Napa but made her gift to the One Napa Valley Initiative anonymously.

“We are grateful that so many local people share our desire to create a more cohesive and vibrant community,” added NVCF President Terence Mulligan.  “We live in one Napa Valley, after all.”

About Napa Valley Community Foundation

Napa Valley Community Foundation works to multiply the impact of individual givers, pooling resources and investing in charitable projects that make a lasting difference. Since 1994, NVCF has served as a bridge between philanthropic families and hard-working nonprofit agencies, bringing people, ideas and resources together to enhance the quality of life in the Napa Valley community. From American Canyon to Calistoga, NVCF has distributed nearly $30 million in grants since it was founded, and currently serves as the philanthropic partner to 100 individuals, families, nonprofit agencies and corporations in Napa Valley.  According to a survey of several thousand donors conducted by the nonprofit Center for Effective Philanthropy, NVCF is the top-rated community foundation in the US on two-thirds of the key measures related to donor satisfaction and impact.  In 2011, NVCF was ranked as the 13th most active grantmaker among more than 750 community foundations across the country, and its innovative programs have served as a model for other foundations across California and the US.  To learn more, call 707.254.9565 or visit www.napavalleycf.org.   A Profile of Immigrants in Napa County, the 2012 Napa County immigration study conducted by the Migration Policy Institute, is also available on the NVCF website.

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