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Multi-million-dollar bequest to support small animal welfare in Napa Valley

David and Jane Gotelli

Frank and Jane Gotelli, who both died at age 87 in 2017, created a multi-million-dollar endowment fund with the Napa Valley Community Foundation to support small animal welfare locally. 

The Napa Valley Community Foundation announced the creation of a multi-million-dollar endowed fund to support small animal welfare in Napa Valley.

Created through a bequest from the late Jane and David Gotelli of Napa, the endowment creates an ongoing funding pool for annual grants to organizations dedicated to the health, welfare, humane treatment and adoption and care of small animals, the Foundation said in a news release Thursday.

The first grants, likely to total about $200,000, will be made in the 2019-20 fiscal year, and could grow in future years, said Sarah Lehman, vice president for development.

Lehman called the Gotelli gift one of the largest in the Foundation’s 25-year history. “This is landmark,” she said.

The Foundation did not release the value of the couple’s bequest, noting that a significant part of their Napa Valley real estate has not yet been sold.

Lehman described David and Jane Gotelli as an “inconspicuous couple who were just prudent.” Foundation officials had not known of them until they were contacted by an attorney after their deaths, she said.

“They were careful savers who acquired several pieces of commercial and residential real estate over the years and gifted these assets to NVCF to support their charitable priorities after their deaths,” said Terence Mulligan, Foundation president.

“We are deeply grateful for their vision and for their trust in NVCF to carry out their charitable legacy in perpetuity, and we look forward to making a lasting impact for companion animals throughout the Valley.”

The couple died within a day of each other: Jane on July 23, 2017, and David on July 24. Short obituaries appeared in The Register, announcing joint celebrations of life at Filippi’s restaurant.

The first grants will be made from the Fund in fiscal year 2019-2020 to qualified nonprofits and public agencies that seek to improve or sustain the welfare of small companion animals throughout Napa County. A request for proposals with full eligibility criteria will be issued by NVCF after Sept. 1.

For more information on the request for proposal/grant application process for the David and Jane Gotelli Family Fund, contact NVCF Vice President for Philanthropic Services Julia DeNatale at or 707-254-9565, ext. 11.

For information about legacy giving through a will or trust to support your own charitable goals, contact NVCF vice president for development Sarah Lehman at or 707-254-9565, ext. 13.

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