Napa Valley Vintners Announces Nearly $2.4 million Community Grant for Youth Development

Y.E.S. Initiative - Youth - Education - Success!


6/3/2008 - Napa Valley, CA-the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association unveiled today the Y.E.S. Initiative...Youth-Education-Success! to its members and media at its General Membership meeting in St Helena. This nearly $2.4 million Strategic Initiative from the windfall raised at its 2007 Auction Napa Valley (ANV) will be a three-pronged investment in Napa County children's health and education that will better prepare them for successful lives in the 21st century.

Building upon the NVV's 2005 $1 million, largest-ever industry gift to a Children's Health Initiative (CHI) from the ANV 25th Anniversary event that funded a three-year program to ensure that every child in Napa County had access to healthcare insurance, the Y.E.S. Initiative will fund $355,000 providing for at least an additional year of the CHI with the belief that healthy children become healthy learners.

Charting Exciting New Paths for Student Learners
Next, the NVV will give a $1 million challenge grant to help the public high schools in the county develop a teaching program that better prepares its students for either college entrance or better jobs upon high school graduation. To meet this goal, the highly successful model of Napa's own groundbreaking New Tech High School was used. New Tech was founded in 1996 as the first of its kind, teaching students creative thinking, problem solving, and rapid, collaborative communication using current technology. The success of this learning style spawned forty schools nationwide that use this locally developed model and a program of Student-Centered 21st Century Schools (SC21) has evolved.

According to a study by New Tech Foundation, less than 24% of Napa County high school graduates (34% nationwide) are college ready as compared to 100% of New Tech's students. The NVV $1 million is a challenge grant for the expansion of SC21 to other public high schools in Napa County to educate instructors on how to teach this curriculum and for technology to support the instruction and learning. This challenge grant will match new, not existing, funds promised so as to help the program expand more rapidly.

Thirdly, the NVV is giving $1 million in challenge grants for programs that generate opportunities for Napa County children, pre-K through high school. The grants will be given for comprehensive education programs that include youth-to-youth mentoring and leadership, family and community support and involvement and especially to those programs which aim to close the gap of cultural disparity in educational achievement in Napa County.

"These are ambitious programs, but we have the charge to enhance the well-being of the community through funds raised at Auction Napa Valley and the sustainability of our community is dependent upon eliminating any disparity in health and education," said Pat Stotesbery, president of the NVV Board of Directors.

"Starting by ensuring that all children have proper access to healthcare is a cornerstone for successful student learners," said ANV Community Board Member Melinda Mendelson, "And it makes sense that we also put the parents of these children's minds at ease with regard to healthcare so they too can focus more on the child's success in school."

New Strategy for Auction Giving
The areas of beneficiary funding from ANV are healthcare, youth service and affordable housing non-profits. Last year the NVV wanted to ensure that overall Auction proceeds were serving the community with the most positive impact possible. A task force reporting to the association’s board of directors analyzed the existing giving goals to find out if the goals needed to be altered and if so how.

From this, the NVV helped fund an extensive community healthcare needs assessment in conjunction with the county's major healthcare providers-St Helena Hospital, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, Community Clinic Ole and Kaiser Permanente. Additionally, the NVV hired an independent consultant to access the county's youth services and affordable housing needs. The outcome of these extensive assessments was that Auction's overall funding to the community in the future will be far more impactful if it focuses on a specific need or criteria, rather than by funding a specific agency or charity.

To date, ANV has given nearly $78 million to Napa County non-profits. The Auction which began in 1981 provided funding for healthcare, and ten years ago it began funding youth development and affordable housing as well. With the YES Initiative, youth development giving alone now accounts for nearly $9.5 million.

The announcement of the YES Initiative kicked off the week as NVV member wineries prepare to host bidders from around the valley and around the world at its annual community fundraiser, Auction Napa Valley-The American Wine Classic, which begins Thursday, June 5 and runs through Sunday, June 8. The 2008 event, chaired by the Heitz Wine Cellars Family is particularly poignant as the community continues to pay tribute to Robert Mondavi, the man who not only was the most recognized ambassador of Napa Valley to the world, but who also was one of the founding vintners of the trade association in 1944 and who, along with Margrit Biever Mondavi, originally conceived the idea of the Auction as a way to use the world-renown of Napa Valley wines to raise needed funds for the community.

"The economy is in a challenging state today, but the health of the Auction giving is solid in that last year we created what is now called the $25 million, 5 x 5 promise, where we promised to give a minimum of $5 million to the community each year for the next five years, no matter if the Auction has a shortfall or for some reason is unable to be held," said past NVV president Peter McCrea who is the current chair of the Auction Grants Review Committee. He continued, "We have a full house at this year's event and whatever money is raised this week will be more than our community had last week, so it's all good. So, I encourage everyone to bid high and bid often, not only do you end up with some great Napa Valley wine, you also end up doing a lot of good for the community."

About Napa Valley Vintners:
Now in our seventh decade, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association is the sole organization responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley Appellation as a winegrowing region second to none in the world. Respect for our history reinforces our commitment to the preservation and enhancement of the Valley's land, wine, and community for future generations. We address the shared interests of our more than 300 member wineries and aspire to be the essential organization for all Napa Valley vintners.

About ANV:
Established by a thoughtful group of Napa Valley vintners in 1981, ANV is the granddaddy of charity wine auctions in America, having given nearly $78 million dollars over its first 27 years for healthcare, youth service and affordable housing non-profits. NVV is proud of our member's contributions, raising desperately needed funds through ANV and for being the backbone of all other charity wine auctions across the U.S.

Terry Hall, Communications Director
Napa Valley Vintners
direct 707-968-4217

Contact: Terry Hall, Communications Director 707-968-4217