November 25, 2014

Dear Julia,

I thought the earthquake would be behind us by now.


You probably did, too.


The truth is, it's not.  In fact, we are just now at the beginning of a critical phase to rebuild our community.


I'm writing you today for three reasons.

  • First, to say a heartfelt thanks to the 432 of you who've made a contribution to help us help others
  • Second, to share the results of our work thus far
  • Third, to let you know about our plans moving forward, and invite you to support us in offering assistance to hundreds of local homeowners and business owners that are likely to fall through the cracks of government funding.



I'll begin with the obvious: we are deeply grateful to Napa Valley Vintners for their vision, civic spirit and generosity.  Their $10 million pledge to help us launch the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund has been a solid rocket booster, enabling my team to focus on developing programs and recruiting the best nonprofit partners to help those affected by the August 24 South Napa Earthquake.  The Vintner's faith in us paved the way for many of you to get involved--from a room full of fifth graders at Vichy Elementary, to a group of weekly Bunko players, to several hundred other individuals, corporations and foundations.  On behalf of my Board of Directors and staff, thank you very much for your investment in us.



The first phase of work for the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund--specifically for meeting immediate needs--began in September and is now complete.  During Phase I, we distributed $2 million to 20 nonprofit partners to meet the short-term recovery needs of local residents:

  • $1,145,000 in emergency financial aid was provided directly to individuals and families impacted by the earthquake, through a select group of our nonprofit partners. Funds were provided for temporary housing, food, medicine and to replace essential household items
  • $815,000 was invested to support direct services provided by these 20 nonprofits to individuals and families in need as a result of the earthquake
  • More than 10,000 people impacted by the earthquake have received services
  • More than 9,000 meals have been served
  • More than 800 households have received emergency financial assistance.

Please click below to see a short video featuring the stories of those we've helped so far. 



Plans moving forward

I was relieved and grateful when we got word in late October that FEMA grants and SBA disaster loans would be available to residents and business owners in our community.

However, while many will benefit from the federal disaster aid dollars now flowing into Napa County, a significant share of your neighbors and co-workers are likely to fall through the cracks.

By far, SBA disaster loans are the major source of financial support to those who need assistance in rebuilding homes and businesses after a disaster.

And here is something I didn't know before August 24th: the historical decline rate on SBA loans is more than 50%.

Based on the volume of SBA loan applications currently in circulation, I estimate as many as 1,000 local families and business owners may be turned down when they apply for low-interest government loans, or receive loans which don't fully cover their losses.

With the $8 million-plus we still have in the Disaster Relief Fund, I think we can assist, at best, 750 to 850 families and business owners.

This is where you come in, if you are able. Our goal is to raise an additional $1.5 million by December 31st, so we can:
  • Help seniors and low-income families get their mobile homes back on their foundations, and seismically retrofitted for the next quake
  • Support small business owners who are trying to get back on their feet, and meet short-term obligations like payroll
  • Enable homeowners to make important safety repairs to chimneys, roofs, foundations and walls.

The people we aim to serve are not unwise, they're just unlucky. Like 96% of us, they didn't have earthquake insurance for their homes or businesses when the ground began to shake. Also, like many of us, they bought their homes at the peak of the market, and don't have a personal balance sheet that can support additional debt.


The partnerships we've built with local and national nonprofits to deliver assistance to the people above are rock solid, with systems in place to ensure accountability; to comply with IRS rules regarding charitable distributions following a disaster; and to avoid fraud. To learn more about our plans moving forward, or to help a friend apply for assistance, please click here.


If you've already made a gift to support the Disaster Relief Fund, thank you very much again. Should you feel inspired to give again, please go ahead and do so by clicking here. I would be very grateful for any additional help you might offer us, and so would the Napa County families that will benefit. Your previous gift enabled us to meet urgent needs in the weeks following the earthquake. Your additional support will help local residents rebuild their homes and businesses.


And if you haven't made a gift yet, please consider doing so right now by clicking here.

The Disaster Relief Fund aims to raise $1.5 million before the end of 2014. This is a unique opportunity to provide concrete assistance to some of your friends and neighbors in need; to make sure homes are weatherproof as winter rains begin; and to help local businesses keep people employed as the busiest retail quarter of the year unfolds.

Many thanks again for your support. I hope you won't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have about our disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts, or the broader work of Napa Valley Community Foundation.

Sincerely yours,


Terence P. Mulligan
Napa Valley Community Foundation
3299 Claremont Way, Suite 2
Napa, CA 94558
P 707.254.9565 x 11
F 707.254.7955

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