First held as a small gathering of winery owners in 1981, Auction Napa Valley has since become the most popular charity wine event in the world. The four-day event, sponsored by the Napa Valley Vinters, features several private parties, wine-tasting and single-case auctions, an online auction open to bidders around the world, and the Live Auction Celebration, which takes place annually at Meadowood Napa Valley resort.
Proceeds from the event are distributed to more than two dozen local nonprofit organizations, all of which are working to make a difference in children’s education and community health. Since its inception, Auction Napa Valley has raised $185 million for these organizations, which include the following:
Following its mission to equip students in Napa County with the proper skills to succeed in education and their careers, NapaLearns invests in forward-leaning, tech-infused programs and provides valuable learning resources to teachers who can help enact transformational change in local schools. NapaLearns traces its roots back to 1991 with the formation of the Napa Valley Business Education Partnership, but it wasn’t officially incorporated as a nonprofit until 2010, thanks in part to contributions through Auction Napa Valley and the Ruth E. Schuler Foundation. Since then, it has invested more than $7 million in local education programs and donated 14,000 digital devices to support tech-based learning.
In regard to educators, NapaLearns has funded master’s degree programs in innovative teaching and learning for 150 teachers and trained approximately 1,000 teachers in 21st-century educational tools and strategies. One of its more innovative programs, NEXT, allows teachers the opportunity to complete externships at local businesses so that they can infuse their experiences into their curricula to create a more authentic learning experience for students.
Summer Search Bay Area
Summer Search Bay Area was formed in 2016 as the result of a merger between affiliates in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and North Bay, the latter of which was created in 1998. The first-ever Summer Search program was launched in San Francisco in 1990, and the nonprofit has since provided mentorship and transformative learning experiences to thousands of students from underserved communities who showcase high academic potential. In 2018 alone, Summer Search provided these students with $7 million in scholarship funding and financial aid, while 97 percent of high school seniors it supported were accepted into college.
The year-round program focuses on post-secondary advising, social-emotional mentoring, and summer leadership experiences that empower young people to reach their potential. While in their sophomore year of high school, students are paired with a Summer Search staff mentor for weekly conversations to discuss their educational goals and the factors in their life that are affecting their progress toward them. During the following summer, these students take part in a multi-week outdoor adventure that typically involves activities like rock climbing, sailing, or cycling. The summer following their junior year, students participate in domestic or international service-learning programs. Summer Search students continue to receive support throughout their post-secondary studies.
Girls on the Run
Launched by current president and executive director Janet Todd and three other women in 2006, Girls on the Run Napa & Solano operates a 10-week program designed to inspire confidence and promote physical activity among young girls in third through eighth grade. The program features a research-based curriculum that includes running games and dynamic discussions as well as a community service project. It culminates with a celebratory 5K run.
Since it was initiated, Girls on the Run Napa & Solano has delivered important life skills and active programming to more than 7,300 girls from a variety of backgrounds. The nonprofit places special emphasis on girls from economically disadvantaged families and works to ensure diversity among its participants; more than three-quarters of its participants in 2018 were African American, Asian American, Latina, or multi-racial.
The success of its programming was detailed in a 2016 independent study led by University of Minnesota professor Dr. Maureen Weiss. Among other findings, the study concluded that 85 percent of participants noticed an improvement in confidence, caring, competence, character, or connection to others, while those who had the lowest activity levels at the start of the program increased their physical activity levels by over 40 percent.
As part of its efforts to ensure all residents of Napa County have access to vital health services, Auction Napa Valley supports Planned Parenthood Northern California. The nonprofit reproductive healthcare provider offers STD testing and treatment, infertility services, and sex education to people of all races, genders, religion, and sexual orientation.
Women can rely on Planned Parenthood for essential healthcare services like cancer screenings, birth control, pregnancy and STD tests, as well as non-judgmental information regarding pregnancy and abortion. The organization also offers health services and education for men and transgender individuals. Moreover, Planned Parenthood Northern California delivers educational presentations to health professionals and students and also operates the Spare Change program, through which high school students navigate topics relating to health and sexuality and healthy relationships with peer educators.