CanDo’s 2014 Napa Valley Give!Guide

Cover Give Guide 2014HR

by Hilary Zunin

Does lightning ever strike twice? Can the eager debut of a grand idea be sustained in its second year? Will it spark community involvement in 2014 for local nonprofits worthy of your support?

Coming November 1 to a mailbox and website near you, a “portal to the possible.” It’s the 2014 Napa Valley Give!Guide.

A project of Napa Valley CanDo, last year’s debut edition of the Napa Valley Give!Guide started with a bang.  From November 1-December 31, generous valley residents donated over $106,000 to 40 fabulous nonprofit organizations, all serving Napa County. The “Fab 40” represented seven categories of service:  Animals, arts and culture, community, education, environment, health and wellness, and youth and seniors. A new set of 40 nonprofits is featured in the 2014 edition. They include both organizations whose names are household words and small groups doing big things with whom you may not yet be familiar. Half of the nonprofits in this year’s Give!Guide are participating for the first time.

This novel approach to community funding invites locals to donate to one or more stellar nonprofits. Donations begin at $10 and donors may choose to give to one or more groups in varying amounts. Volunteer Olivia Ervin says “We like to put it this way:  You make a choice; you make a difference; the Give!Guide makes it easy.”

The concept consists of two parts:  A catalog featuring the 40 nonprofits is distributed as an insert in the November issue of Marketplace Magazine. At the same time, a user-friendly website, in English and Spanish, includes more information, daily incentives, and a real-time ticker showing how much has been donated to each nonprofit. Beginning November 1, visitors to may give to one or many organizations with a single click. For those who prefer to write a check, forms are provided to help ease the selection process. Napa Valley CanDo takes no fee for this project. It’s a labor of love.

Nadia Valenzuela is involved with the Give!Guide for the second year. She and a handful of dynamic volunteers came to the project last year from Leadership Napa Valley. “Our practicum group decided to work with CanDo to bring this exciting project to fruition. Along with the fact that all the funds stay in Napa County, we liked the respect the process demonstrates for each donor. With some other charitable groups, a central authority decides where to put your donations. The Give!Guide allows each donor  to choose exactly where he or she wants their tax-deductible donation to go.

Who is the audience for CanDo’s Give!Guide? “The Guide! is for everyone,” says Hilary Zunin, co-founder of CanDo and a Give!Guide volunteer. “If you care about the Napa Valley, you’re in the right place:  Young people, new donors, folks who’ve never thought of themselves as philanthropists. People who already pledge support with money and time but appreciate that the Give!Guide eases the path from intent to action. Visitors who take away memories and want to leave a little something by way of thanks.”

Along with the concerted efforts of the 40 nonprofits and CanDo volunteers, community partners make it all possible. The Gasser Foundation, Terra Firma, Leadership Napa Valley, Thrive Napa Valley and Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine all provide financial support. Individuals and businesses throughout the Valley offer incentives each day to encourage donors to make that gift:  A massage, a dinner for two, a sparkling necklace. Incentives are noted daily on the Give!Guide website and Facebook pages.

The Napa Valley Vintners do as well, by generously sponsoring the CanDo Spirit Award, a $1000 prize to an exceptional young employee committed to the nonprofit sector. In 2014, Ms. Sarahid Rivera Vazquez of Legal Aid Napa Valley, is that worthy individual.

“The rewards in working at a nonprofit are always rewards for the heart, never the wallet,” says Vazquez. And yet the CanDo Spirit is alive and well in her dedication, “I want to continue to be part of change in my community, one family at a time.” Vazquez will be honored at the 2014 Give!Guide’s Kickoff Celebration , open to the public, on November 6 at the Paul Ash Lobby of the Napa Valley College Performing Arts building. See for details.

Look for your copy of the 2014 Napa Valley Give!Guide the November issue of Marketplace. Let’s see if, with your generous support, lightning can strike twice.

List of 40 Nonprofits:


Napa Humane

Sunrise Horse Rescue

Wildlife Rescue Center
of Napa County


Napa County
Historical Society

Napa Valley Youth Symphony


Church Women United Clothing Center

Habitat for Humanity

Legal Aid of Napa Valley

Napa Valley Community Housing

Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center

UpValley Family Centers

Vine Village


Community Resources
for Children

Connolly Ranch

Girls on the Run Napa Valley

If Given A Chance

Moving Forward Towards Independence

Napa Valley Adult Education

Napa Valley College Child

Development Center

Napa Valley Education Foundation

Teacher Resource Center
of the North Bay


Napa County Resource Conservation District

Napa-Solano Audubon


Community Action
of Napa Valley

Cope Family Center

Family Service
of Napa Valley

Napa Emergency Women’s Services

Napa Valley Hospice
& Adult Day Services

The Pathway Home

The Table


Active 20-30 Club of Napa

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay

Boys & Girls Clubs of Napa Valley

Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind

Foster Kids Fund

Girl Scouts – Up Valley

Service Unit

Loving Animals
Providing Smiles

Napa CASA,
A Voice for Children

Rianda House Senior Activity Center

Rohlffs Manor

Inspiring a Community of Givers

Inspiring a Community of Givers

By Hilary Zunin

G!G Staff Pic High SM GG othersSM


If only it were as simple as waving a wand. You happen on an exceptional idea. It’s creative, time-tested, and has been immensely successful in another community. If only it could flower here at home. Presto! There’s an Opera House reclaimed, or a winding river path, or a brand new boat dock being installed downtown.

Here’s the idea: Imagine the Napa Valley being known not only for its beauty, wine and food, but for the generosity of its people. And imagine that there’s a simple way to draw attention to the exceptional work of 40 local nonprofits and cultivate a culture of year-end giving for us all. Sounds like magic.

Ah, but ideas that seem magical aren’t always so simple. For a community to be not only sustainable but to thrive requires the concerted effort of individuals, families, private and public organizations. It takes energy, focus, partnerships, activities that raise awareness and sometimes change behaviors. It takes a deep commitment. Most of all, it requires recognizing what we CanDo when we work together.

The Napa Valley Give!Guide campaign, launching  November 1 and running through midnight on December 31, represents the flowering of that kind of concerted effort. It’s a project of Napa Valley CanDo, the grassroots community service organization that helps Guide volunteers to the aid on nonprofits, brought you the Soles4Souls shoe drive, and is helping create a movement throughout the valley that recognizes the benefits of relying less on single-use plastic bags.

This newest CanDo project is modeled after a remarkable Oregon venture produced by Willamette Week magazine. Certainly the Portland community is far larger than the Napa Valley, but the success of the Give!Guide there is staggering. In year one, they raised a modest but much appreciated $24,000 for 20 nonprofits in just two months. In year nine, their efforts garnered $1,967,000 for 110 nonprofits!

The Napa Valley Give!Guide introduces a novel approach to year-end giving. For two months we will seek cash donations starting at just $10 on behalf of 40 small, medium and large nonprofit organizations serving Napa County. The nonprofits are divided into seven categories: animals, arts, community, education, environment, health and wellness, and youth and seniors.

This campaign is designed to appeal particularly to young and first time givers, but its audience includes all those who may not yet see themselves as being in a position to give. Maybe you’re not able to attend most fundraisers, let alone participate in the fabulous Napa Valley Wine Auction. Ah, but you have $10 dollars, maybe more, and your $10 combined with the contributions of hundreds or thousands of other caring valley residents, can have a powerful impact on the many organizations that serve our communities.

The Give!Guide will be distributed as a pullout catalog in the November issue of Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine, our 2013 publishing partner. Extra copies will be available for project-based learning so that school-aged kids and scouts and 4-H members might look to see where they’d like to give.

With this Guide and the matching website, which will be available in both English and Spanish (, you’ll have everything needed to make a contribution that will directly benefit our community. Give to one or more local nonprofits with a single, tax-deductible transaction. A real time ticker will keep track of donations so we can see our progress day-by-day.

Now nothing happens in a vacuum. This Give!Guide project is as much about community building as it is about fundraising. We couldn’t have forged ahead without our mentor, Richard Meeker, creator and publisher of the Willamette Week Give!Guide; and our volunteers, including several dynamic Leadership Napa Valley graduates (Class 26).

Kudos to the Napa Valley Coalition of Nonprofit Agencies, our fiscal sponsor, and the Napa Valley Vintners who have funded the CanDo Spirit Award, a $1000 grant to recognize the passion and commitment of one, young nonprofit employee. Thanks, also, to Thrive Napa Valley for helping us foster and celebrate a thriving community, and to all the gracious sponsors you’ll see as you thumb through the Guide. And we simply couldn’t have completed the project without the generous financial support of the Gasser Foundation.

When we reach out to others, we often first reach in to the very best in ourselves. There, if we’re honest, we find that good intentions alone are not enough. They need to be coupled with positive action. Taking action to enrich the lives of those in our community is what CanDo and so many other service organizations in the valley are about. It was William James, the American philosopher, who said, “Act as if what you do makes a difference.” CanDo says, “It does.”

With the Napa Valley Give!Guide, you make a choice. You make a difference. We make it easy. Join in this exciting new venture November 1 – December 31, 2013. •

Cover Give Guide 2013HR