This is the third and final installment in our series of year-end giving ideas. (If you missed the first two, you can click these links to read chapters one and two .)

This week, we bring you a handful of funding opportunities that focus on championing community.

We believe that our community and our democracy are more vibrant when everyone participates in the decisions we make about our future. But all too often, certain segments of our population face obstacles to civic engagement. 

That’s why today’s newsletter features organizations that aim to give opportunities to people of all ages to get -- and stay -- involved in civic life, from the social fabric of our community to participation in government processes. From American Canyon to Calistoga, these programs provide the space, both literal and metaphorical, for underserved populations to gather, build community and make their voices heard.

All organizations and projects featured below have been vetted, and all have funding gaps that deserve to be closed, in our view.

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

We are very grateful to the constellation of donors who work side-by-side with the foundation to tackle the most important issues our Valley faces. We believe that a prosperous community rises from a strong foundation, and we thank you for being a part of the power of collective generosity.

With best wishes for a joyful season,

Rejane Brito & Julia DeNatale
Philanthropic Engagement Staff
Napa Valley Community Foundation
American Canyon residents play and learn together in their own backyard

What's needed: $10,000 for general support
People served: 3,700 kids and adults in American Canyon 
What they do: ACCPF was formed by a group of volunteers in American Canyon in 2015 with the goal of augmenting the City of American Canyon’s funding for parks and open spaces and creating recreation opportunities within the city for its residents. The nonprofit has three main areas of focus: the maintenance and use of the city’s parks and open spaces; educational programming for youth; and community-wide enrichment activities. ACCPF works closely with the city government to identify needs and gaps and decides to take on projects that are a fit with the nonprofit’s mission. For example, raising funds to install drinking fountains and picnic tables and benches or improving trail access for people with disabilities at the city’s parks. Other projects include efforts to purchase and install outdoor exercise equipment for free public use, volunteer trail clean-up days and curated family hikes and nature seminars. For the community’s elementary school students, ACCPF runs an environmental education program for all 490 fourth graders in American Canyon. It includes classroom work with a naturalist, cleanup and planting projects on the school sites and hands-on environmental science projects in the field. Because American Canyon is geographically isolated, ACCPF also created an afterschool enrichment program on each of the city’s three elementary school campuses, so kids could participate in science and arts classes they’d otherwise have to travel to access. The classes, including LEGO engineering, Chess Club, and visual and performing arts, are offered to any student, regardless of ability to pay; those whose parents can afford it contribute. Most recently, the nonprofit launched its communitywide “turn screen time to green time” campaign to encourage American Canyon families to collectively spend 10,000 hours outdoors and away from screens by summer 2020.
Contact: Janelle Sellick, Executive Director, [email protected]
Nonprofits band together to make sure everyone gets counted

Organization: Community Leaders Coalition (fiscally sponsored by UpValley Family Centers of Napa County)
What's needed: $20,000 for nonprofit outreach work for Census 2020
People served: 20 Napa County nonprofit agencies, 200 “trusted messengers” and 4,000 “Hard-to-Count” residents
What they do: CLC was launched in 2016 as a collaborative of local organizations serving our community’s most vulnerable residents. Its goal is to work jointly on issues that affect these residents, in hopes of achieving greater collective impact. CLC is made up of 25 nonprofit organizations across the county, as well as cross-sector partners, like faith-based groups and local government representatives. CLC’s current core focus is the 2020 Census. Because about 80 percent of the federal dollars that California receives are tied to the Census, the County of Napa could lose up to $20,000 per uncounted person per year over the next 10 years for programs like Medi-Cal, Section 8 housing vouchers, CalFresh, children’s health insurance and school lunches. To mitigate this risk, CLC is taking a lead role in efforts to reach out to those most at risk of not being counted, like seniors, non-English speakers, veterans, immigrants, people with disabilities, geographically isolated residents, LGBTQ+ people, low-income families and more. The nonprofits that make up CLC are uniquely positioned to reach these “Hard-to-Count” populations, as they have trusted relationships with people through their core work, and often specialize in helping particular groups, like children or seniors. Many of these residents are fearful of interacting with government, so this work takes sensitivity and training. To that end, CLC is training a group of 20 such nonprofits on effective strategies to reach community members and assist them in completing the census. Smartly, the group is inviting Napa County residents to help them design their outreach strategies, which promises to make those strategies more effective while also building trust and empowering those most affected. Because conducting outreach and serving as “trusted messengers” is time-consuming, and state funding does not cover the costs, CLC will provide stipends to each organization committing to conduct comprehensive outreach for the census. CLC’s goal is that the outreach catalyzed by the census might also create an opportunity for at-risk populations to learn about and access other resources nonprofits have to offer, like legal and health services. Additionally, the collaborative views these efforts as a starting point to involve locals in other civic engagement activities, like registering to vote.
Contact: Dorothee Stangle, Community Leaders Coalition Director, [email protected]
LGBTQ identifying folks have a safe space

Organization: On The Move
What’s needed: $10,000 for the LGBTQ Connection program in Napa County 
People served: 284 individuals including youth, adults and seniors  
What they do: Napa County is a mere 50 miles from San Francisco, but in terms of acceptance of LGBTQ residents, it can feel worlds apart. An estimated 11,000 LGBTQ people live in our Valley, but many remain closeted and are fearful of prejudice or hostile behavior directed at them. On the Move launched the LGBTQ Connection program in 2011 to raise public awareness of -- and provide support to -- LGBTQ residents in Napa County. The program’s goal is to foster a healthier, more vibrant, diverse and inclusive community. To accomplish this, the organization focuses in four key areas: developing leadership capacity for LGBTQ youth; building social connections between LGBTQ residents; educating service providers; and establishing LGBTQ service hubs. The program has a physical community center in Napa, where LGBTQ people and their families can access a library of resources, like age-appropriate books for kids, or book an appointment with a bilingual therapist. The staff also work throughout the county on school sites, both to educate teachers and administration on how to support their LGBTQ students, as well as to cultivate student-led Gay Straight Alliance Clubs. The nonprofit also conducts trainings and workshops in English and Spanish for community-based and governmental agencies, as well as local businesses and community members, to impart best practices that will help them to ensure that their services are appropriate and competent for their LGBTQ constituents. Research indicates that, compared to heterosexual peers, LGBTQ seniors are five times more likely to be isolated, and LGBTQ youth are eight times as likely to have attempted suicide. To that end, the LGBTQ Connection created a support group solely for seniors, and a leadership team of teens. Each group contributes ideas for a robust calendar of social events designed to give LGBTQ people of all ages a safe space to live happy, healthy and connected lives.
Contact: Ian Stanley Posadas, Program Director, [email protected]