The Napa Valley Vintners announced its second set of grants from the proceeds of the 2012 Auction Napa Valley fundraiser.
Vintners will give $1.1 million to 11 local organizations that help at-risk families become self-sufficient and provide safe environments.
Altogether, Vintners will be bestowing $7 million divided into six allocations from this year’s auction. In October, the group announced grants totaling $1.9 million to major health care organizations.
The family assistance organizations served more than 36,000 Napa County residents in 2011. Increasingly, these organizations are helping families who never imagined needing assistance, according to the Vintners.
“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 lost its home,” said Michele Grupe, associate director of COPE Family Center in Napa. “They have no idea of what resources are available to them, and they are often hesitant to come in — they are simply not used to asking for help.”
Sara Cakebread, executive director of the St. Helena Family Center, said local residents are frustrated with the lack of affordable housing, and the demand for housing and job search support is high.
“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,” Cakebread said.
Linda Reiff, the Napa Valley Vintners executive director, said early intervention programs not only help the families in need, but the programs ultimately save taxpayer money and increase economic productivity.