Community Link
A newsletter of Napa Valley Community Foundation
April 2015


Young or old, we all seek community--a place where we can have shared values, work on projects together and find camaraderie.


This month's edition of Community Link features three organizations that support their clients to make healthy decisions and achieve their goals. All programs have been vetted by Community Foundation staff.


If you'd like to support any of them, please get in touch directly using the contact information in each story. 


If you have a fund at NVCF, you can recommend a grant by logging into your DonorCentral account from the homepage on our website. Or, you can fax us a completed grant recommendation form at 254.7955. 





Julia DeNatale & Marla Tofle

Philanthropic Services Staff


At-risk youth prepare for their futures


Organization: Ag 4 Youth, Inc.

What's needed: $5,000 for the small animal husbandry program 


Why they exist: Ag 4 Youth is a nonprofit afterschool program that pairs hands-on training in animal husbandry, ranching and gardening with college and career planning.  The program targets at-risk youth ages nine to 19; many participants are low-income, from single-parent households, or in the foster care system. Kids learn about raising livestock, including: cleaning pens; feeding, grooming and exercising animals; and, training animals to show at the Napa County fair. Since the animals need care 365 days a year, the youth also learn about commitment and teamwork.  Each year, Ag 4 Youth participants auction their animals at the County fair and deposit their earnings into interest-bearing education accounts, which can only be accessed after the student graduates high school.  Auction animals can yield a few thousand dollars apiece, so Ag 4 Youth participants can earn up to $15,000 throughout their tenure in the program. The nonprofit's staff also assist program participants with financial aid forms and college applications.   


What they do well: The afterschool hours can be prime time for at-risk teens to get sidetracked and pressured into participating in unsupervised activities, which is one reason Ag 4 Youth provides transportation to and from the program. The nonprofit not only offers a healthy alternative to risky activities, but also incorporates support services like homework help, mentoring, as well as on-the-job training in animal husbandry and ranching.  The formula is demonstrating results: 98 percent of participants graduate from high school, and the attrition rate is very low--in the last year, only one student has left the program. 


What we learned when we met with them recently: Ag 4 Youth relies heavily on a cadre of trained adult volunteers to work with the kids, who are on site four to six days per week, so expanding has been a challenge; until recently, the program served about 18 kids per year.  In 2013, a two-acre parcel in Napa was donated to the nonprofit, which also raised nearly $30,000 to build additional facilities on the land, like large and small animal pens, a large garden area and a shed that doubles as indoor space for kids to do homework.  The expansion also allowed Ag 4 Youth to increase the number of youth in the program to 31. Now, the nonprofit plans to increase capacity to 55 by adding a small-animal (chicken, calve and lamb) husbandry program aimed at kids ages nine to 11.


People served: 31 youth, ages nine to 19 


Budget & Board: $107,000/8 Board Members


Contact: Paul Tarap, Ranch Director,


First-year college students get a strong start to their education


OrganizationNapa Valley College District Auxiliary Services

What's needed$1,500 for the Puente Program  


Why they exist: Historically, California's Latino (and largely low-income) community college students are at higher risk than their Anglo peers for dropping out, and not continuing on to complete a four-year degree.  Puente, a state-wide program, was developed to reverse that trend ("puente" means "bridge" in Spanish). Napa Valley College's (NVC) Puente program combines academic and personal skill-building tools needed for students to succeed in their post-secondary education.  For example, NVC's Puente freshman are required to take English classes and receive college counseling designed for their program; they also are paired with professional mentors (like doctors, social workers, teachers and judges) from the community.  The students work with their professors, counselors and mentors to develop comprehensive and individualized education plans.  Mentors provide extra guidance to their students to help them meet academic and extracurricular goals needed to transfer to a four-year institution.


What they do well: Puente students have a 67-percent transfer rate to four-year institutions, as compared to 26 percent for their non-Puente, Latino peers; this success, in large part, is because Puente holds participants accountable and provides them with a network of support.


What we learned when we met with them recently: Program participants practice a range of college "survival" tools, including time management, test taking and study skills, as well as resiliency-building skills, like  motivation, independence and assertiveness.  Support often continues after they transition to a four-year institution--many state-system college and university campuses have Puente clubs for alumni.  Most NVC Puente students also stay in touch with their mentors after transferring.

People served120 students 


Budget & Board: $9,000 for the Puente program/ Napa Valley College District Auxiliary Services has 5 Board members


Contact: Christina Rivera, Puente Mentor Coordinator,


Latino seniors get connected to resources


Organization: Community Health Clinic Olé

What's needed: $2,500 for fiscal sponsorship of the Latino Elder Coalition (LEC)


Why they exist:  Napa County's elderly population can be isolated, especially when they live alone and don't drive.  Add a language barrier to the mix, and it can be challenging for our community's Spanish-speaking seniors to obtain health and wellness services.  A group of local health, social service and legal professionals that work with elderly Latino community members observed this gap more than a dozen years ago, and formed the Latino Elder Coalition to provide direct support to these underserved residents. LEC's goal is to provide easy access to bilingual/bicultural services designed to improve or maintain Latino seniors' physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. A key component of LEC's work is removing barriers, like language and transportation, which often deter these residents from coming forward to get help.


What they do well:  LEC is a collaboration among 15 partner agencies, including: Clinic Olé; Queen of the Valley Community Outreach; Area Agency on Aging; Napa County's Health and Human Services Agency; Rianda House; Up Valley Family Centers; Family Service of Napa Valley; and, Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services. Each month, LEC organizes health fairs or workshops held at locations up and down the Valley for Latino seniors and their caregivers. Representatives from LEC partner agencies develop and deliver the program content, and conduct outreach prior to the events. Recent offerings include mental health screenings, elder abuse prevention classes, preparing an advanced healthcare directive, and age- and culturally-relevant nutrition and cooking.


What we learned when we met with them recently:  Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective outreach strategies when working with Latino elderly.  LEC engages seniors that have attended programs to assist with planning and spreading the word about upcoming events.  Involving Latino elderly in this way has helped LEC continue to identify new locations for events (like low-income housing developments) and timely topics (like developing end-of-life plans together with family members). Another positive by-product of the LEC collaborative is more effective referral mechanisms for event attendees that need follow-up care or services.


People served:  300 Latino seniors 


Budget & Board:  $8,000 for LEC (Clinic Olé's budget is $20 million)/LEC has an Advisory Board of 17; each member represents a senior-serving organization


Contact: Eli Rubio, Chair,

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