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Press Release


Napa Vintners Invest $1.14 Million to Resources, Education and Services for At-Risk Families

St Helena, CA--The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) today announced its second category of giving from the proceeds of the 2012 Auction Napa Valley fundraiser: $1.14 million for resources, education, and services for at-risk families, as part of its $7 million commitment to two strategic priorities--community health and children's education.

According to research conducted by Nobel Prize-winning University of Chicago Economic Professor James Heckman, a difficult family environment--especially adverse parenting--is a major predictor of cognitive and social issues with children. Many of the biggest socioeconomic problems--crime, obesity and chronic diseases, homelessness, teenage pregnancy, school dropout rates, and domestic violence, to name a few--can be traced back in large part to this one common denominator: the early family environment.

"Early intervention to prevent these issues produces great returns not only to individuals--in the form of better educational, health, economic and social outcomes," explained Linda Reiff, NVV executive director,"but to society, by saving taxpayers money and increasing economic productivity."

This second round of community investment by the NVV is designated for early-intervention programs that help families with income, education, health and other barriers become self-sufficient and provide safe environments for all family members.

A total of 11 local, community-based programs will receive grants: Children's Health Initiative; COPE Family Center; Family Centers of St. Helena, Calistoga and American Canyon; Healthy Moms & Babies; Napa Emergency Women's Services; Napa CASA; ParentsCAN; Planned Parenthood; and Puertas Abiertas Community Resource Center.


Recently retired Napa County Judge Raymond Guadagni, who has extensive experience in Juvenile Court and is a former recipient of California Juvenile Judge of the Year by the Juvenile Court Judges of California, said: "Early intervention programs are critical to keeping our county's children and families out of the criminal justice and foster care systems. These community-based programs are highly effective, yielding positive outcomes for families and providing a high return on investment to society. It is one of those situations where good social policy equals good fiscal policy."


The 11 organizations listed above served more than 36,000 Napa County residents in 2011. Those they serve are not limited to lower-income families, nor are they limited geographically to poorer regions. Increasingly, they are those who never imagined themselves needing assistance.

"In the last several years, we've seen more and more middle and upper-middle class families coming in--those where parents have lost their jobs or the family has lost its home," explains Michele Grupe, associate director of Cope Family Center, in Napa. "They have no idea of what resources are available to them, and are often hesitant to come in--they're simply not used to asking for help."

St. Helena Family Center's Executive Director Sara Cakebread echoes that finding. "There is an increase in unexpected populations coming to us asking for counseling, emergency financial assistance, rental assistance, food stamps, and other basic needs requests. The demand for housing and job search support is high, with many local residents very frustrated with the lack of affordable housing."

This is the second of six overall categories of funding being made from proceeds from the Napa Valley Vintners' Auction Napa Valley 2012 fundraiser. The first investment, announced last month, was $1.9 million for direct medical services and went to Community Health Clinic Ole, Queen of the Valley Medical Center, and St. Helena Hospital. The remaining four funding categories will be announced over the coming four months. For more information, visit

The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents 435 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit

View the list of 11 recipients of the community-based grants