Community Link
A newsletter of Napa Valley Community Foundation
July 2015


Eating right, staying active, getting regular check-ups and screenings, going to the doctor when we don't feel well--these are the basics of good health maintenance and disease prevention. But, low-income and at-risk community members often don't know about these strategies, or aren't able to access essential health services.


This month's edition of Community Link features three organizations that provide important health services for youngsters, teens and adults of all ages. All programs have been vetted by Community Foundation staff.


If you'd like to support any of them, you can recommend a grant distribution from your Donor Advised Fund by logging into your DonorCentral account from the homepage on our website. Or, you can email your grant recommendation form to Karla Márquez at, or fax us at 254.7955. 





Julia DeNatale & Marla Tofle

Philanthropic Services Staff


Teens learn more than just say "no"


OrganizationAldea, Inc.

What's needed: $10,000 for Behavioral Health Services (BHS) at Wolfe Center


Why they exist: Almost half of 11th graders in Napa County admit to using drugs or alcohol, and teens that use controlled substances are more likely to develop problems with abuse later in life.  BHS at Wolfe Center is the only program in Napa County that works with middle and high school students to prevent and treat substance abuse.


What they do well: BHS at Wolfe Center offers a range of services that are age- and culturally appropriate for teens, including one-time presentations aimed at preventing kids from experimenting with alcohol and drugs, as well as daily outpatient treatment for those with diagnosable substance abuse disorders.  BHS at Wolfe Center also provides support services for parents, since family dynamics often are a contributing factor in drug and alcohol abuse among teens.


The program's core philosophy is to provide services that help kids meet their behavior modification goals while staying in school, and working with families to prevent relapse.  If BHS at Wolfe Center didn't exist, the only option for youth needing drug and alcohol treatment would be out-of-county, private residential programs, which are: more expensive; don't allow for the families to participate in the treatment; and, make transitioning back to school and home life more difficult.


What we learned when we met with them recently: The program was run by an independent nonprofit, Wolfe Center, until last summer, when  Aldea, a longstanding agency that provides mental health services to children and teens, folded BHS at Wolfe Center into its umbrella of programs. The full menu of services has continued without interruption, and because mental health and substance abuse issues often are co-occurring conditions, Aldea is well positioned to lead BHS at Wolfe Center going forward.


People served: About 3,600 teens in the BHS at Wolfe Center program (80 receive intensive treatment services, the balance receive prevention services at school)


Budget & Board:  $11.5 million ($2.2 million for BHS at Wolfe Center)/9 Board members


Contact: Mark Bontrager, Executive Director, 


Uninsured patients access essential outpatient medical procedures


Organization: Operation Access (OA)

What's needed: $10,000 for the Napa program


Why they exist A group of surgeons started OA in 1993 in response to a gap that was driving emergency room visits: Uninsured and low-income people could not afford--and therefore were not accessing--outpatient procedures that could prevent serious and, sometimes, life-threatening illnesses.  The surgeons created a program similar to the volunteer medical-mission model that is used in developing countries.  OA now works in all nine Bay Area counties by pairing volunteer doctors and surgeons with uninsured patients needing non-emergency outpatient procedures like cataract surgery, hernia repair, colonoscopies and vaginal biopsies. Patients receive the services free of charge.


Even with the Affordable Care Act in place, some people (primarily low-income, undocumented community members) do not have insurance coverage.  Last August, OA launched in Napa County and collaborates with local healthcare providers, including: Community Health Clinic Olé; Napa County's Department of Public Health; Kaiser Permanente; Napa Medical Society; Planned Parenthood; Queen of the Valley and St. Helena hospitals; and, a few private medical practices that focus on anesthesiology and radiology.


What they do well: OA has experience assessing local community need and then convening local stakeholders to get buy-in. For example, OA convened healthcare experts in the Valley to assess and plan together. This kind of integrated approach maximizes key leverage points of: cost; referral; and, case management.  In Napa County, about $3 million in donated services will be leveraged in the first year.


Local healthcare providers that refer patients to the program work closely with OA's bi-lingual/bi-cultural staff to case manage patients through procedure completion and beyond, if after care is needed. For example, if the OA outpatient procedure detects cancer, the local healthcare partner works with OA and other collaborative members to obtain continuing care, and helps the patient enroll in programs that will cover costs of the additional services.


What we learned when we met with them recently: Community health providers like Clinic Olé are conducting routine cancer screenings during regular office visits. This surfaces patients with above-average risk that need further outpatient diagnostic procedures, like biopsies. OA provides these subsequent diagnostics to uninsured patients, which saves lives and contains costs. For example, early-detection procedures can prevent nearly 70 percent of colon cancers. 


People served:  1,500 throughout the Bay Area (100-180 Napa County adults) 


Budget & Board:  $ 1.35 million ($200,000 in Napa County)/ 15 Board members


Contact: Jason Beers, Executive Director,


Young girls build self-confidence and well-being


Organization: Girls on the Run Napa Valley Inc. (GOTRNV)

What's needed: $5,000 for Napa programs


Why they exist: For girls, the elementary and middle school years can, at times, be a tumultuous journey as they develop physically and emotionally. GOTRNV's aim is to help girls feel comfortable with their bodies and engage in healthy behaviors that support well-being. To that end, the afterschool program combines physical activities, like stretches and jogging, with interactive games that promote teamwork, foster positive communication, and develop self-confidence.  The youngsters also learn how to avoid negative behaviors, like bullying. Kids meet twice weekly for a 10-week session at their school; GOTRNV offers sessions in both autumn and spring.


GOTRNV recruits and trains volunteer female adult coaches, who deliver the lessons and serve as mentors. The frame is positive and supportive; GOTRNV wants girls to view self-care--including physical activity--as fun. The volunteer coaches are a lynchpin to the program's success because they show the girls that women in their home community care about them. (GOTR recently expanded and now is providing services in Solano County, as well.)


What they do well: GOTRNV was established in 2006 by a group of local women who are passionate about empowering girls, and although it is affiliated with an umbrella, national Girls on the Run organization, the local nonprofit is very attuned to Napa County's unique needs and community spirit. In fact, GOTRNV quickly built a positive reputation and large following in the Valley, and now has a cadre of 95 volunteer coaches (all local women) who deliver programs to 575 girls at 20 (out of 22) elementary public schools; 70 percent of girls in the program are low-income and 60 percent are Latina.


Some participants' families can afford to pay the sliding-scale program fee (between $20 and $165), but 75 percent cannot. GOTRNV fundraises to subsidize participant fees and cover operating costs. GOTRNV is able to be hyper-focused on the local community and run a lean operation in part because it leverages components--curriculum, volunteer recruitment and training materials, and marketing/communications templates--provided by the national organization.  


What we learned when we met with them recently: GOTRNV has struggled to recruit participants for its Girls on Track program, which is targeted to middle schoolers ages 11-14. The national GOTR organization  recently piloted a new curriculum, called "Heart & Soul," for this age group. GOTRNV has adopted the new curriculum, and has recruited volunteer coaches with a particular interest in working with middle school girls.


People served: 575 elementary- and middle school-age girls in Napa County


Budget & Board: $256,000 ($200,000 for Napa programs)/6 Board members


Contact: Janet Todd, Executive Director,

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