Community Link
A newsletter of Napa Valley Community Foundation
November/December 2013
Holiday Grab Bag

This is the second installment of the Community Link holiday "grab bag."


All organizations and projects featured have been vetted, and all have funding gaps that need closing.


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 (click on "Your Fund" at the top of the page). Or, you can fax us a completed grant recommendation form at 254.7955.  Grant recommendations received by 9 a.m. on December 13 will be mailed by the end of the year.


With wishes for a happy and prosperous holiday season,


Julia DeNatale & Marla Tofle

Philanthropic Services Staff 

Foster children receive advocacy for their well-being and education


Organization:  CASA, A Voice for Children

What's needed:  $5,000 for general support


Why they exist: The courts mandate that volunteer advocates monitor foster placements, and each child's health and education needs.  CASA recruits and trains volunteers to report on a child's welfare and make recommendations to the court.


What they do well: CASA's leadership emphasizes volunteer recruitment and training, in part because this kind of volunteer work is highly specialized and takes significant time and emotional commitment.  This focus means that one-third of the volunteers each year are new recruits, which not only brings new energy to the work, but also prevents any gaps in services if a volunteer takes a break or can't take on any new kids due to heavy caseload.


What we learned when we met with them recently: Nearly all of CASAs Board members have elected to participate in the volunteer training, which builds their deep understanding of the organization's work and their relationship with the Executive Director.


People served: 150 kids (an additional 40 are on a waitlist), 61 CASA volunteers


Budget & Board: $265,000/6 Board members


Contact: Julie DiVerde, Executive Director,

Hot meals are delivered to elderly residents around the Valley


Organization: Community Action of Napa Valley

What's needed: $50,000 for the senior nutrition program


Why they exist: To provide a freshly prepared hot meal five days a week to home-bound, elderly residents who cannot cook food for themselves.  Senior Nutrition, also known as Meals on Wheels, also prepares hot meals for five "congregate" sites around the Valley; elderly residents that are isolated, or just want the company of their peers, gather once a week to eat lunch together.


What they do well: CANV controls meal preparation costs by forming mutually beneficial partnerships with local commercial kitchens, and hiring students in its shelter-to-work culinary program to cook the food.


What we learned when we met with them recently: The federal automatic spending cuts (also knows as sequestration) have impacted CANV's Senior Nutrition program, which has eliminated 1,000 meals a month from its delivery roster, and is holding off on accepting new clients until it can raise about $50,000 in unrestricted revenue. 


People served: 425 seniors per day (62% are home-bound), or 86,500 meals per year


Budget & Board: $5.2 million ($745,000 is for Senior Nutrition)/17 Board members


Contact: Drene Johnson, Executive Director,


Low-income teens break the cycle of poverty and attend college


Organization: Summer Search Foundation - Napa Sonoma

What's needed:  $10,000 for Napa County programs 


Why they exist: To provide academic support, leadership coaching and character development to low-income, high school-age youth who will be the first in their families to attend college and complete an undergraduate degree.


What they do well: For most kids living in poverty, going to college seems impossible. Summer Search is very successful at helping young people find their inner resiliency, apply themselves academically and take the leap to leave home and go to college. Napa County high school students in the program have a 100-percent graduation rate, and 100 percent matriculated to four-year university programs. More than 95 percent of Summer Search youth currently in college are staying on-track to graduate with a four-year degree.


What we learned when we met with them recently: It's challenging to recruit boys to youth development programs like Summer Search that require a large amount of self-reflection. The nonprofit has been able to increase its pool of male candidates in the last year by using some new recruitment strategies, including: conducting gender-specific Summer Search information sessions; partnering with schools' sports coaches to refer students to the program; and having male Summer Search alumni participate in candidate interview sessions.


People served: 79 kids (50 10-12th graders, 29 college students)


Budget & Board: $1.3 million ($545,000 is for Napa)/14 Board members


Contact: Kait Schroeder, Executive Director,


Giving together for greater good.


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