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

This is the final installment of Community Link's 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 

Hispanic girls use art to give voice to their personal power 


Organization: Nimbus Arts

What's needed: $1,000 for the Hundreds of Hands program

Why they exist: To provide hands-on and interactive educational art programs to all residents of Napa Valley. Nimbus has a multi-disciplinary approach to its art studio programs, community-based projects and public art activities, art exhibits and sales. Even its annual fundraiser gets people creating and building community with art.


What they do well: In its Hundreds of Hands (HOH) program, Nimbus brings together diverse audiences to learn an art discipline and create a public art project together. Teams of youth are trained to teach a particular craft, then take their show on the road and bring it to community members that have limited access to art, like veterans or isolated seniors. This year's HOH project has a budget of $25,000 and is a partnership with Mariposa, a self-esteem program for Latinas in middle and high school. Some 50 girls will learn the craft of mosaic, and will teach it at community centers, elder care homes, veterans groups and afterschool youth clubs. The goal is for 1,000 hands (500 people) to create a public mosaic mural that gives a visual voice to young Latinas' experiences.


What we learned when we met with them recently: Nimbus's partnerships with school-based programs gets stronger each year, which allows them to find new ways to reach at-risk teens--many of whom have very little exposure to interactive or creative arts.


People served: 500 community members


Budget & Board: $700,000/6 Board members


Contact: Jamie Graff, Executive Director,


Grassroots group seeds locals' appreciation for native flora


Organization: California Native Plant Society - Napa Valley Chapter (CNPS Napa)

What's needed: $1,000 for general support


Why they exist: To increase understanding of native flora and preserve it by offering education workshops and guided nature walks, and by promoting the use of native plants in gardens and landscapes.


What they do well: A loyal and growing cadre of CNPS Napa volunteers maintain and make improvements to the Martha Walker Native Habitat Garden (MWG), and have been doing so for more than 25 years. MWG is a 3-acre site located inside Skyline Park, and serves as an outdoor observatory to a wide range of individuals who are interested in viewing (and studying) a variety of native plants. The garden also is used as an outdoor education classroom for school groups; about 70 kids--including very at-risk students--participated in interactive plant lessons and projects this year.


What we learned when we met with them recently: CNPS ramped up its publicity efforts. An enhanced newsletter and website have boosted attendees at its twice-yearly native plant sales to more than 200 for each, and yielded more participants on its popular wildflower walks.


People served: 400 community members


Budget & Board: $38,000/11 Board members


Contact: Henni Cohen, President,


Households vulnerable to foreclosure receive education and advocacy


What's needed: $10,000 for foreclosure prevention and intervention services in Napa County  


Why they exist: HERA assists Napa County homeowners in danger of foreclosure with legal counseling and advocacy, and applying for loan modifications. HERA's legal team also engages in other foreclosure prevention negotiations on behalf of the household, if loan modification is not possible. The nonprofit also conducts workshops for residents on how to avoid financial scams and restore their credit. HERA's typical client profile is: resident of City of Napa or American Canyon; low-income household or former middle-income earners that have lost their jobs; and Latino, or a person of color.


What they do well: HERA knows how to screen homeowners that will be good candidates for loan modifications, and has a strong track record representing clients in negotiations with reluctant banks and mortgage servicers. Since launching the program in 2009, HERA has achieved some impressive results, including: financial education and mortgage legal counseling to 1,500 households; and, completed loan modifications for 85 households (with another 20 in the pipeline), which has prevented a drain of more than $6.6 million from our local economy.


What we learned when we met with them recently: The good news is that property values are on the rise and the foreclosure crisis is diminishing. While HERA anticipates its Napa County caseload will be 50 percent less this year, and has budgeted about $50,000 for its services, the federal loan modification assistance program will continue through 2015 (most of HERA's clients are eligible for this). Homeowners in American Canyon and Napa still need HERA's advocacy to navigate this complex federal aid program, and obtain the necessary cooperation from financial institutions.


People served: 150 homeowners (70% are from City of Napa, 45% are Latino)


Budget & Board: $790,000/7 Board members


Contact: Maeve Elise Brown, Executive Director,


Giving together for greater good.


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3299 Claremont Way, Suite 2 | Napa, CA 94558 | 707.254.9565