Community Link
A newsletter of Napa Valley Community Foundation  
September 2016
Napa Valley is, for many of us, a bucolic place to call home. And yet, some of our most vulnerable and isolated residents may at times feel as though they live in the shadows of the Valley's splendor. For example: adults with developmental disabilities; low-income families; immigrants; seniors; and, LGBTQ folks.

This edition of Community Link features three organizations that advocate for these residents, support their well-being and safety, and work to create a more inclusive community.

If you'd like to support any of them and have a giving Fund with us, 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. 

You can also give directly to any of these organizations by contacting their Executive Directors.


Julia DeNatale & Marla Tofle
Philanthropic Services Staff
Making Napa an inclusive home for LGBTQ youth and adults alike 
Organization: On the Move (OTM)
What's needed$6,500 for LGBTQ Connection support groups
Why they exist: OTM's programs focus on developing young leaders, and mobilizing Napa County's underserved residents to be advocates for their families and participate more fully in our community. In 2010, the nonprofit launched its LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer) Connection program which was born out of a volunteer-driven support group for LGBTQ residents.  Since that time, LGBTQ Connection has grown into the primary resource center for Napa County's estimated 11,000 LGBTQ community members. The program's goal: to make the Valley a healthy, safe and welcoming place for LGBTQ people of all ages and races who live here.
What they do well: LGBTQ Connection takes a multi-faceted approach to increase the safety and well-being of LGBTQ residents in Napa by using prevention, early-intervention and crisis-response strategies.  To that end, the program trains more than 1,000 staff members at 150 nonprofits, government agencies and health organizations to competently address the health and well-being needs of LGBTQ people.  LGBTQ Connection also provides support to Gay Straight Alliance clubs on public middle and high school campuses, reaching  more than 3,000 teens. The program's flagship service is a peer-led support group for LGBTQ youth; the group is a safe haven for the 250 teens and young adults who attend each year.  LGBTQ Connection also offers support groups to 50 LGBTQ seniors, who are some of the most isolated residents in Napa County.
What we learned when we met with them recently: The need for support services for LGBTQ youth and their families is on the rise.  In April of 2016, LGBTQ Connection hosted its first annual family acceptance conference, which drew nearly 150 attendees; many were family members that were starting to learn how to accept and support their LGBTQ children.  Since that time, LGBTQ Connection has beefed up its support services for families, including individual and family counseling and crisis response.
People served: 2,500 youth, adults and seniors in Napa County participate in programs (another 16,000 are reached through outreach and awareness efforts)
Budget & Board: $4.4 million ($387,000 for LGBTQ Connection)/10 Board members
Contact: Ian Stanley, Program Director,
Protecting the rights of low-income Napa residents
What's needed: $25,000 to hire a housing attorney to work in Napa
Why they exist: BayLegal offers professional legal services, for civil cases, to low-income residents in the Bay Area. In January 2016, the nonprofit opened its Napa office, where services focus on Valley residents living in poverty, with special emphasis on the most underserved poor populations, such as immigrants, disabled individuals, and homeless community members. While equality before the law is a constitutional right, access to a lawyer in civil issues is not mandated by law. Legal services focus on areas of civil law that have the greatest impact on a household's safety, stability and self-sufficiency, including: legal representation for survivors of domestic violence; representation for clients impacted by unlawful termination or denial of public subsidies like healthcare, food stamps or welfare; and, legal immigration proceedings. 

What they do well: Providing free legal assistance to poor households significantly influences how these families fare in the justice system. To that end, BayLegal's Napa office conducts countywide outreach on a regular basis--in American Canyon, Napa, and the up Valley cities of St. Helena and Calistoga--and often partners with family centers in these locations to reach residents most in need of legal help. The nonprofit also offers free clinics, on topics like debtors' rights and consumer fraud. BayLegal's Napa clients also have access to the 80-plus attorneys on the nonprofit's staff region-wide; the legal team has in-depth experience in poverty law and also is able to leverage $4.2 million in pro bono legal services annually, by partnering with private attorneys.

What we learned when we met with them recently: BayLegal's Napa office has seen high demand for housing legal services, and is fundraising to add another staff attorney to its current roster of two. The new attorney would work with Napa clients who are at risk of losing safe and stable housing, such as legal advising or legal representation for: illegal evictions; housing discrimination and rights violations; and, inhabitable living conditions. Budget for the new position is $100,000, and BayLegal is looking for seed funding of $25,000 in order to attract additional donor support.
People served: 422 individuals in Napa since January 2016 (BayLegal serves 60,000 people annually across seven Bay Area counties)
Budget & Board: $12.9 million ($340,800 for Napa programs)/30 Board members (two of whom are from Napa)
Contact: Alex Gulotta, Executive Director,
Giving adults with developmental disabilities job satisfaction and support
Organization: Napa Valley PSI (PSI)
What's needed$12,000 for general support 

Why they exist: PSI was established in 1973 to provide an educational and work experience for adults with severe developmental disabilities. For most clients, their job at PSI is their first real work experience; many stay with the program from high school graduation until retirement. The nonprofit contracts with local and regional businesses that need simple assembly-line work, like packaging or putting parts together. Current contracts include a handmade soap company, a dog biscuit manufacturer that sells its product in local shops, and a waste management company (for its residential compost pail business). PSI clients do the work at PSI's facility, which is a friendly setting that also is familiar; clients also receive supervision and behavior training on the job. Clients get paid a small wage for their work; wages are kept to a minimum so they don't jeopardize eligibility for government disability-income benefits. Most PSI clients rely on these government subsidies to cover housing and food costs.
What they do well: For the 54 adults with developmental disabilities who attend Monday through Friday, PSI is more than a job. PSI staff assist clients with independent living skills, and foster a positive work culture that values clients' efforts. Clients' workdays are a mix of manufacturing/assembly-line projects and education classes on a variety of topics, like appropriate work behavior, grooming and social skills.  PSI also offers regular social activities for clients, including field trips, client and PSI staff talent shows, and barbeques for friends and family members.
What we learned when we met with them recently: PSI recently expanded its onsite work program. The nonprofit now offers a community employment option to clients that want to work onsite at PSI, but also want to explore job opportunities off-site.  Currently, there are six participants in the new program. PSI staff assesses each person's unique job interests and skills, and then identifies employers in the community who might be a match. A client interested in working with animals, for example, started volunteering at the local animal shelter. PSI staff helps the client practice taking the bus to the shelter, and supervises the client while walking the dogs. This gives the client time to build skills, and allows time for PSI to assess the client's compatibility with the job. The goal with this new program is for clients to find permanent job placement outside of PSI that will be fulfilling and give them a new level of independence.
People served: 54 adults with developmental disabilities
Budget & Board: $850,000/8 Board members
Contact: Lea Ronald, Director of Services, 
Napa Valley Community Foundation