Community Link
A newsletter of Napa Valley Community Foundation  
May 2016
As Napa County's arts sector has evolved during the last several years, many arts and culture nonprofits have bolstered existing relationships with their community-based partners, and sparked new ones.
Often the goal is to reach populations that historically haven't been consumers of traditional arts programming, like low-income families, schoolkids or immigrants. 
As a result, we've seen nonprofits find creative ways to bring arts and culture offerings directly to these community members, or draw them to venture out and experience a performance venue or gallery space.
This month's edition of Community Link features three nonprofits that are partnering with other community-based groups to reach new audiences.  All programs have been vetted by Community Foundation staff.
If you'd like to support any of them, 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. 
Marla Tofle
Vice President of Philanthropic Services 
Professional musicians inspire kids with interactive classes & concerts

Organization: Friends of Lincoln Theater dba Lincoln Theater Foundation
What's needed: $25,000 for the Music Artists-In-Residence program

Why they exist: Lincoln Theater Foundation operates the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater (LT), a 1,200-seat venue in Yountville.  The nonprofit's goal is to make its state-of-the-art theater accessible to audiences of all ages, with shows and programs offered by both professional and lay artists. LT is home to Symphony Napa Valley (SNV); LT hosts several national touring acts (think Travis Tritt, Elvis Costello, or Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán), and offers discounted or free tickets to underserved residents, like low-income families, and seniors. LT also subsidizes its rental fees for local schools' music/theater groups, allowing kids to produce and perform in a professional space.
What they do well: LT's Music Artists-In-Residence (AIR) program pairs professional musicians with local schools. LT hosts 13 graduate and post-graduate students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; musicians travel to public schools throughout the Valley and introduce kids--some for the first time--to the world of professional musicians, instruments, and symphonic music. The goal: to make classical music tangible and approachable.
LT brings AIR to 400 preschool kids who are low-income or have special needs; musicians lead interactive in-classroom lessons that combine music, movement and storytelling, to help develop motor and verbal skills. At local public elementary, middle and high schools, AIR musicians perform concerts and visit classrooms for interactive discussions with some 2,600 students, like how to start a band, or what it's like to pursue music in college. LT also offers free monthly AIR chamber music concerts at its venue in Yountville; concerts are targeted to families of preschool- and elementary-age schoolkids. All AIR classroom sessions and concerts include opportunities for kids to touch and play instruments, like oboes, bassoons, flutes and harps.
LT's AIR program gives the musicians experience in classroom music education, plus teaches them how to develop lesson plans and age-appropriate concert content. Artists also perform with SNV, under the direction of seasoned, and some world-renowned, conductors. LT currently is fundraising for its AIR 2016-2017 program. Total budget is $130,000; a gap of $25,000 remains.
What we learned when we met with them recently: LT is in conversation with both St. Mary's College and University of California, Davis to develop AIR programs in dance and performing arts, respectively.
People served: 3,000 kids, grades pre-k to 12
Budget & Board: $1.4 million ($130,000 for the AIR program)/7 Board members
Contact: Christopher DeNatale, Foundation Director & Sr. Director of Marketing & Development,
Young people help preserve their families' and Napa Valley's rich, shared history

What's needed: $10,000 for the Oral History Project
Why they exist: Since the 1940s, NCHS has been researching, archiving and educating visitors and community members about the history of Napa County's residents, neighborhoods and business districts, as well as the Valley's place in the broader history of California. NCHS is housed in the historic Goodman Library building in downtown Napa, and stewards more than 10,000 archival items, including: photographs; newspaper clippings; yearbooks; maps and pamphlets; architectural drawings; and, obituaries. (The Goodman is undergoing repairs stemming from the 2014 South Napa Earthquake, and NCHS is storing archives offsite until repairs are complete.)

What they do well: While NCHS' mission hasn't changed, the way people research and consume information has: NCHS boasts a growing online catalogue and continues to digitally preserve its collection. One of the nonprofit's digital preservation projects is its Oral History Project. Oral histories are digital audio recordings that are first-person accounts of an individual's history; as such, they often give voice to stories that wouldn't be recorded otherwise, like veterans from recent wars, or farmworkers from the Bracero program.

What we learned when we met with them recently: NCHS also is using its Oral History Project to create an intergenerational experience that fosters family and community connections. The nonprofit has partnered with high schoolers in On the Move's Youth Leadership Academies program; students are interviewing and recording their parents' and grandparents' oral histories. So far, NCHS has found that the storytelling experience is building bridges within the families. The process is cathartic for the interviewees, many of whom immigrated to Napa County, and fosters respect within the students for their elders' experiences while also strengthening the teens' cultural identity--an important factor in developing young people's resiliency. 

The $14,000 budget for the Oral History Project includes portable technology, so interviews can be recorded anytime and anywhere. NCHS is hoping to involve more young people and interns as the project progresses.

People served: 8-12 teens will participate in taking oral histories, hundreds of individuals' stories will be recorded

Budget & Board: $150,000 ($14,000 for the Oral History Project)/13 Board Members

Contact: Nancy Levenberg, Executive Director,

Photo courtesy of the Napa County Historical Society
Local museum brings Napa's natural history to school classrooms
What's needed: $10,000 for the Museum in the Classroom program

Why they exist: In 1971, a group of local community members that wanted to showcase Napa County's heritage, natural history and art founded NVM.  The nonprofit opened a 12,000 square-foot museum in Yountville in 1998.  Today, NVM offers its 6,000 visitors (who are a mix of locals and tourists) three different spaces to view the Valley's art and cultural history. NVM's space offers a range of experiences, including rotating exhibits of acclaimed national artists, like Wayne Thiebaud and Miles Davis; rotating showcases of local artists' work; and an exhibit of Napa's natural and anthropological history that displays a portion of the 25,000 artifacts--everything from baskets handmade by indigenous tribes that populated the Valley to antique corkscrews--in NVM's collection.

What they do well: One of NVM's primary goals is to educate elementary school students about Napa's cultural history.  Ideally, elementary school students take a field trip to the museum, but crammed academic and testing calendars, along with transportation costs, make visits during the school day a challenge.  Instead, NVM brings items from its collection, directly to the students with its Museum in the Classroom program. Science, history, art and the environment are the major themes, and curriculum topics include women's history, stories of Mexican people in Napa Valley from early settlers to current day residents, and the science of the vine.

What we learned when we met with them recently:  Each 50-minute Museum in the Classroom program uses NVM-designed curricula that also meets the state's grade-level education standards. NVM also arms teachers with a curriculum guide that can be used with their students before and after the visit from NVM staff and trained Museum in the Classroom volunteer docents. NVM's approach is experiential--the nonprofit wants each classroom visit to make a lasting impression and inspire a love of history and culture. To that end, many presentations include hands-on activities that illustrate historical and cultural traditions, like making corn husk dolls, or sugar skulls.

Schools are asked to pay on a sliding scale anywhere between $30 to $75 for a Museum in the Classroom visit, depending on school size and percentage of low-income students. Fees cover about 10 percent of NVM's $50,000 budget to deliver the school-based program. The nonprofit must fundraise, or use operating reserves, to fill the gap.

People served2,500 k-5 elementary schools students from public schools throughout Napa County
Budget & Board$500,000 ($50,000 for the Museum in the Classroom program)/9 Board members
Contact: Phil Kohlmetz, Executive Director,
Napa Valley Community Foundation