yolo community foundation

YoloShines: Yolo Food Bank

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Today is MLK Day, a celebration of social justice and a day to reprise the leadership and selflessness of Martin Luther King. A tenet of social justice is hunger: Our society's responsibility to feed those in need. Central to such efforts in our community is the Yolo Food Bank.

We have had the honor, at the request of Repower homeowners, of donating more than $12,000 to Yolo Food Bank over the past few years. We are fortunate to do so and the Food Bank does not disappoint: For every $1 donated, YFB provisions three meals. Amazing.

We engaged YFB's Kevin Sanchez to elaborate:

1. Why does YFB exist?

The Yolo Food Bank exists to ensure that the people of Yolo County not only have enough food to eat, but enough nutritious, culturally appropriate food to feed their families.  YFB is the largest hunger-relief organization in Yolo County and the only organization with the infrastructure in place to receive, sort, store and distribute millions of pounds of food annually to more than 36,000 food insecure people.

2. In 2017, YFB?

In 2017, YFB partnered with over thirty Yolo County Farms to provide more fresh produce to clients.  Over 4.25M pounds of food were distributed and more than 1M pounds was fresh produce.

3. Share a YFB story.

The Walmart Foundation started a Grocery Recovery Program and YFB applied for a grant seeing that Yolo Food Bank wasn't very involved in grocery recovery outside of major distributors. We were awarded a $25,000 grant and used that funding to outfit our partner agencies with items like hand trucks, coolers, scales, refrigerators so they may better handle perishable foods. We then paired them with grocery stores, markets, and other food retailers in Yolo County so that they pick up on a weekly/bimonthly schedule and receive grocery store items directly from the donor, saving the agency money on purchasing items, and enabling them to provide grocery items for their clients that are harder to come by.  By strengthening our partners, we have enabled them to become more self-reliant and better able to serve the needs of their clients.

4. How can people help (monetarily, personally, professionally)?

Yolo Food Bank encourages our community to help in many different ways. Monetary donations are highly sought after since they allow us the flexibility to spend on our most urgent operational needs. Secondly, volunteering is always encouraged. Yolo Food Bank has volunteers who have been with us for over 5 years and volunteers who come on special occasions once a year. We appreciate any and every volunteer that come through our doors. Yolo Food Bank has very flexible volunteer opportunities. We encourage everyone to submit a volunteer application that you can find online at www.yolofoodbank.org/givetime

Community members can volunteer for harvest events throughout the summer. When we do not have enough volunteers, we have no choice but to leave crops in the field, crops that would otherwise be distributed to families in need in Yolo County.

5. The Campaign to End Hunger in Yolo County … overview and update?

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Yolo Food Bank is engaged in a $6M capital campaign to repurpose an industrial building they own into the food bank of the future. When completed, this new facility will increase its dry storage by 2.5 times from our current capacity. A new cold storage facility will handle 8-fold what we currently store and will have multiple temperature zones. At the heart of this new facility will be a commercial kitchen where food will be preserved, processed and repurposed into value-added food products for our programs and a culinary academy, where students will take accredited courses in the culinary arts. The campaign has raised $4.5M in cash and pledges so far and continues to seek out investors to help the Food Bank reach its goal. Construction has begun with the goal of occupying the building in August of 2018.

Please join us and help Yolo -- and the Yolo Food Bank -- shine.

YoloShines: Yolo Crisis Nursery

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As we’ve shared, every time a homeowner goes solar we donate $500 to the local nonprofit of their choice. We call this program “YoloShines,” in great part because we believe nonprofit organizations are the underlying fabric of our community — they make it shine! — and, thereby, we have a responsibility to support such groups.

Over the past year, seven Repower homeowners have selected Yolo Crisis Nursery (YCN) for their YoloShines gift; hence, we had the fortune of donating $3,500 to YCN in 2017. In an effort to shine a light on YCN and engage the community to join us in our support, here’s a quick profile of the organization.

First, a story that amplifies the impact of YCN:

About one year ago, a distraught young mom named Jess first came the Yolo Crisis Nursery.  After the birth of Jess’s second child she was home alone with her newborn and her toddler, and realized she was having trouble caring for them both by herself.  Jess’s decision to call the Nursery probably saved her baby’s life.

Over the phone, YCN staff invited Jess to bring both children to the Nursery, where we could care for them at no cost and give her a much-needed break.  Once the family arrived, the situation took a dramatic turn.  Executive Director Heather Sleuter looked at the baby and saw that he was far too listless.  She asked when he had last been fed.  Jess said she could not remember.

Heather directed one of our caregivers to comfort and care for the toddler and then drove both the baby and Jess to the hospital. 

The emergency room staff attended to the child, successfully treating him for severe dehydration.  The doctor told us the baby had come within hours of death.  Meanwhile, Jess received the medical attention she needed.  County authorities made arrangements for both children to move into temporary foster care.

While county officials and Jess worked toward family reunification, her health stabilized and the children eventually returned home.  The family was then enrolled in YCN’s Family Life Skills Program.  A Nursery staff member visited the family’s home for two hours a week for 12 weeks for hands-on parenting education.  Families who complete our program significantly increase the likelihood that they will remain together,’

Today, a year later, this family is doing well.  Jess is working and the children are happily enrolled in day care and preschool.

Wow. Thanks to Cam Stoufer with YCN for sharing the story of lives saved and changed.

All organizations have a purpose … Why does Yolo Crisis Nursery exist? The mission of the Yolo Crisis Nursery is to provide early intervention services to nurture healthy and resilient children, strengthen parents and preserve families. Our vision is that every child in Yolo County grows up in a safe, loving and stable home. The Nursery’s overarching goal is to prevent child abuse and neglect among young vulnerable children by partnering emergency childcare with wrap-around services for families in trauma or crisis. In doing so we keep children safe and families whole in our community.

In 2017, Yolo Crisis Nursery’s accomplishments included:

  • Families receiving childcare services who did not become clients of CPS: 99%
  • Families linked to case management counseling and community resources: 267
  • Families completing referral to wrap-around services: 98%
  • Children served and childcare slots provided: 178 (individual count - up 45% over previous year) and 2,342

Very significantly, 98% of the families the Nursery serves do not become clients of Child Protective Services.

Now, our punchline ... here’s how you can help (monetarily, personally, professionally): Yolo Crisis Nursery is a 501c3 nonprofit organization (Tax ID #47-1006055) which welcomes support from individuals, businesses, foundations, service and faith-based organizations in our community.  The Nursery provides care packages to our families and in-kind support is always welcome in the form of diapers, formula, clothes toys and other items for children.  Volunteer service projects occur throughout the year to maintain and enhance the Nursery facility for our children and families.  Volunteer positions are available annually on the Board of Directors and ongoing as members of the Friends of the Yolo Crisis Nursery, the fundraising and advocacy auxiliary of the Nursery.  Lastly, the community is invited to participate in the annual Krustaceans for Kids Crab Feed to support the Nursery’s programs.  This year the Crab Feed will be held on Saturday, March 24 at the Woodland Community and Senior Center from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.  Tickets and sponsorships are on sale now.  More information is available at: www.yolocrisisnursery.org.

Please join us in supporting Yolo Crisis Nursery, a shining light in our community.

Yolo Shines Today

Today was a great day. We had the pleasure of donating several thousand dollars to local nonprofit organizations, in the name of RepowerYolo homeowners. (When homeowners go solar, we donate $500 to the local charity of their choice; we call this YoloShines.) 

Today our community shined:

Sounds trite, but it's more fun giving away money than making (or spending) money. The essential fabric of our community is strengthened. Please join us in supporting these -- and dozens of other -- worthy organizations in our community.

YoloShines: NAMI-Yolo

There are a lot of rewarding and fun virtues of doing what we do: Helping friends and neighbors achieve energy independence (while slashing their carbon footprint and saving thousands of dollars) is extremely gratifying. At the top (of the Repower fun/rewarding list) may be when we ask homeowners to select a local nonprofit for our YoloShines program.

And, this time we have a new twist. Repower homeowners John and Alice Provost asked if we could split our $500 donation among two organizations. Of course.

John and Alice selected the Davis School Arts Foundation (read more about our prior support of DSAF here) and Yolo-NAMI, a new organization in our basket of beneficiaries. Here's what John and Alice had to say about Yolo-NAMI:

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill is a national organization with local chapters throughout the country, including one in Yolo County. Yolo NAMI works with cities and counties in Yolo County as well as private organizations that provide services to residents of Yolo County who suffer from some type of mental illness. This is a population that is greatly underserved and often suffers in isolation due to the nature of their illnesses. Yolo NAMI provides much needed assistance to these individuals and is a very worthy organization to support.

Thank you, John and Alice, for making our community a better place.

YoloShines: Yolo Farm to Fork

As we've shared, Yolo Farm to Fork is one of our favorite (most appetizing?) nonprofits. Like many small, scrappy organizations, F2F does a lot with a little, and their impact spans generations.

With our YoloShines program, Repower homeowners select a local nonprofit organization to which we donate $500. When the selected organization is one of our faves, our donation has even more meaning.

To wit, we would like to thank Davis resident Kirk Mills and his family for choosing Yolo Farm to Fork, and we are proud to donate $500. Here's an encapsulation of why the Mills family selected F2F:

The video on Yolo Farm to Fork's website really spoke to our family. We value buying local produce because it's delicious (mostly), but also because we know it has only traveled a short distance to our local store thereby creating less pollution in the traveling process. The idea of schools using local produce is so exciting. Even more exciting is the concept of school gardens. We know first hand how excited our son gets about our garden at home and how it makes him want to eat what he grows. It is truly a gift to see our son so excited about something so beneficial and positive that he will carry through his whole life.

Thank you, Kirk, for making a difference in our community. Please join the Mills family and Repower in supporting Yolo Farm to Fork.

YoloShines: Davis School Arts Foundation

When given the opportunity to speak to students at UCD, be it about innovation, entrepreneurship, or clean energy, one of my favorite stories to relay engages children and creativity. Quick synopsis:

Creative consultant Gordon MacKenzie, during speaking engagements with elementary school students, would ask kindergarteners, “How many of you are artists?” All would raise their hand. But with older kids, an interesting trend develops. Fewer and fewer students identify themselves as artists as they grow up. By sixth grade, only a small percentage raises their hand in response to the same question of being an artist. As kids grow up, they feel the judgmental pressures from others and don’t want to take the risk of being judged as weird.

Unfortunately, our children become normalized to think they can't be or do something. Sad but true, particularly in our community where the pressure to succeed academically is so intense.

Fortunately, there are organizations like the Davis School Arts Foundation (DSAF), an all-volunteer, non-profit organization whose mission it is to raise money for art and music education in the Davis public schools. DSAF believes the value of visual and performing arts is equal to that of other curriculum and essential for the education of the whole child. 

On behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners (and parents of DJUSD children) Matt Donner and Kimberly Grogan, we are pleased to donate $500 to DSAF. Matt's take on the Foundation:

As a musician and artist myself, I am happy and proud to offer any and all support to this worthy cause! We tend to get caught up in academics and athletics here in Davis and it's worth supporting the arts as well!

Please join RepowerYolo, Matt and Kimberly in supporting DSAF and germinating future artists and musicians in our community.

 

YoloShines: Make It Happen for Yolo County

One of the most rewarding virtues of our YoloShines campaign is learning about fly-under-the-radar, little-engine-that-could nonprofit organizations that are making a difference in our community. In this case, they're making it happen!

On behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners Mike and Dawn Hughes, we are pleased to donate $500 to Make It Happen for Yolo County (MIH). According to Mike and Dawn, here's what makes MIH special:

Make it Happen for Yolo is a small non-profit that provides assistance for foster children who have "aged-out" of the system and are trying to get a college degree. They do wonderful work for a very needy group of young folks. Thank you for making this generous gesture. 

UC Davis, alone, is poised to have 35,000 students in 2016-17. Add tens of thousands of community members who attend community colleges, CSU Sacramento and vocational schools ... there's a growing population of at-risk late teens who can use a hand.

From MIH's website:

The purpose of MIH is to provide support, resources, referrals and community outreach to under served and at-risk youth of Yolo County.

MIH provides household supplies and furniture for under served youth in Yolo County. An additional purpose is to provide resources and support, as well as advocacy for this population.

MIH receives referrals from Social Workers in the Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services as well as other individuals and agencies involved with these youth . A MIH "wish-list" is sent to the referring person, completed by the youth requesting assistance and returned to us. A pick- up/delivery time is then arranged for the youth to receive your donations.  Confidentiality is maintained throughout the process.

Please join Mike, Dawn and RepowerYolo in supporting MIH ... it's the Little Engine that CAN! Your gift of furniture, household supplies, gift cards or money will fuel lives.

YoloShines: Yolo Crisis Nursery

The past month has been a whirlwind, with a record number of homeowners in our community signing up for solar via the Repower program. To wit, our apologies for falling behind in our advocacy for the terrific community organizations our homeowners support.

On behalf of Davis residents Jim and Katrin Baxter, we are honored to donate $500 to Yolo Crisis Nursery. Here’s why the Baxters selected Yolo Crisis Nursery:

The Yolo Crisis Nursery provides critical support for the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society and their families during times of crisis. We are pleased to support their efforts and thank Repower Yolo for making this gift possible.

This donation hits home with us, having raised children in the community. And, my mom is a retired public school psychologist ... Yolo Crisis Nursery is one of her favorite, more impactful support groups.

Here's more from their website:

The Yolo Crisis Nursery is a place of hope for desperate parents and vulnerable children in Yolo County, California.

We provide a safe, temporary home for children up to age 5 during times of extreme family crisis, when young family members are most vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Our cozy three-bedroom home can accommodate four children overnight and 12 during the day. Our professional staff members offer not only essential care but also smiles, hugs and hope.

Equally important, we help parents and guardians resolve their immediate problems and gain family stability.

In short, we prevent abuse and save lives. We strengthen families. We build a better future for Yolo County and beyond.

Please join us in supporting Yolo Crisis Nursery. Click here to learn how you can get involved -- financially or personally -- and help propel YCN's service to our community.

And, thanks again to the Baxters for making Yolo shine!

YoloShines: Progress Ranch

Want to learn more about your community? Look beyond the obvious and tangible roadside attractions; look inside. Sharpen your lens on the myriad behind-the-scenes, little-engines-that-could nonprofit organizations that weave the fabric of our community. We are who we are because of these groups.

And, we all have favorites: Some care about the environment or economic justice; others lean toward education and athletics; the arts and combatting hunger strike emotive strings; healthcare, childcare and animal welfare do it for others. Regardless of our individual ability to give — personally and financially — we all care.

Since 1976, Progress Ranch has provided an East Davis home to a half-dozen six-to-15-year old boys. Beyond sharing a roof, Progress Ranch helps kids build a life. Here’s their mission:

We strive for the following outcomes for our boys:

- Health and well-being

- Confidence and social skills

- An optimistic and hopeful outlook

- A capacity for meaningful relationships

We work to achieve these outcomes by:

- Providing a nurturing home environment

- Being involved in a supportive community

- Emphasizing education

- Offering individual and family therapy

We visited Progress Ranch’s home last week. Amazing. On behalf of Repower homeowners Jonathan and Jeanette Lewis, we are pleased to donate $500 to Progress Ranch. Thank you to Jonathan and Jeanette for the suggestion and introduction.

Please join us in supporting Progress Ranch. If you can’t donate money, they can always use household staples and volunteer services. Or, if golf’s your fancy, join us July 23 for the 18th Annual Villanueva Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting Progress Ranch. Your contribution will make a difference in the lives of young boys.

Mi casa es su casa

Last October we relocated our practice to 909 Fifth Street, contiguous to Indigo Architects’ office (aka, the old Dairy Queen; click here for a few pics). It’s a terrific place to hang our hats: 20-foot ceilings, abundant natural light, radiant heating and cooling, and an occasional symphonic greeting from a passing train. We love it.

In addition to be enamored with the workspace, there’s an unforeseen virtue: After-hours, our office hosts numerous nonprofits and their events. To date, we’ve had the pleasure of hosting meetings, educational sessions and social events for Toastmasters, Cool Davis (and its myriad tentacles), Valley Climate Action Center and the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy, among others.

John and I serve and have served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations. All share two characteristics: they have a great purpose, and they scrap to stay afloat. Nonprofits need help, be it contributions of money, time, or space. Through YoloShines, we help local nonprofits raise money; as volunteers, we contribute our time; and, with our office, nonprofits have a place to host membership events, retreats, board meetings and fundraisers.

Importantly, there’s no cost for nonprofits to utilize our space -- we can host up to 40 seated folks and 80 or so standing people, or employ our conference room for a small gathering. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us today.

YoloShines: Yolo Food Bank

The next time you have some spare change, consider this: A $1 donation to the Yolo Food Bank will fund three meals for a hungry Yolo County neighbor. Or, the $1 will magnify to $5.50 in wholesale food purchases. Like fresh produce? Your $1 will buy seven pounds of fruits and veggies.

Not to lay on the guilt, but here are two sobering facts to ponder:

- More than 20% (44,000) of Yolo County residents do not have enough to eat.

- One in four children do not know where their next meal will come from.

Enter Yolo Food Bank, one of our favorite community organizations. We have had the fortune of working with the Food Bank over the past year. On behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners, we have donated more than $5,000 to the Food Bank.

The latest: In the name of Repower homeowners Matt and Holly Bishop, Ron and Andrea Forrest, Elaine Lau and Carlton Larson, and Kathleen and Michael Rockwell, we donated $2,000 last week to the Food Bank. That’s 6,000 meals for hungry neighbors thanks to the YoloShines program.

Every dollar makes a difference, and we’re endeavoring to elevate our support for the Food Bank in 2016. Please join us in working to reduce hunger in Yolo County: Click here to donate, or you can learn more about volunteering here.

YoloShines: River City Rowing Club

Yesterday we gave thanks to the Oshima family for their suggestion to donate $500 to the Davis Schools Foundation. It hit home, which made the gift even more special. Today’s recipient of $500 through our YoloShines program strikes a similar family chord.

On behalf of Repower homeowners Don Mooney and Samantha McCarthy, we are pleased to gift $500 to the River City Rowing Club. Here’s the (my) family connection: RCRC’s boat house in West Sac is named after my wife’s late grandfather, Curt Rocca. Grandpa Curt was big into crew in his days at UC Berkeley, and his affinity rippled (perhaps through his myriad business interests in Japan, and hence the Port of Sacramento) to our local crew organization. Very cool.

I have known Don and Samantha’s daughter, Morgan, since she was shorter than a small oar; she and my oldest son, Scott, went through Spanish Immersion together at Montgomery and Chavez. Here’s Don and Samantha’s rationale for supporting RCRC:

We support River City Rowing Club because the coaches work with the teen rowers to inspire them to try their individual best and then beyond while building  a true sense of dedication to the team and sportsmanship. The rowers also learn to set goals and priorities so that they can continue to do well do well in school, crew and life.

Very cool, take two, and it mirrors my family’s support of Davis Water Polo Club (for our oldest son) and Davis Little League (for our youngest).

With the Big Day of Giving nearing, we encourage you to support RCRC. The sun always rises, and so too do committed and aspiring crew athletes.

A great day, leading up to the Big Day of Giving

We have the fortune of helping homeowners go solar. In so doing, there are three particularly gratifying outcomes: Saving homeowners money, improving the environment (through clean energy), and giving back to our community.

Last Wednesday was a great day: We mailed ten $500 checks — $5,000 in total — to local causes, including Yolo Food Bank, Davis Schools Foundation, River City Rowing Club, Yolo Crisis Nursery, Progress Ranch, Davis High Girls Water Polo, and Make it Happen Yolo County.

The donations were made on behalf of RepowerYolo homeowners through our YoloShines program, aka our 2016 Big Year of Giving. Homeowners are not just repowering their homes and benefiting our planet, they’re also repowering our community. For this we are extremely grateful.

Leading up to the May 3 Big Day of Giving, we will share a bit about these tremendous Yolo nonprofits. In so doing, we invite you to join us in supporting the organizations and strengthening the fabric of our community. When you do so, a great day will be yours too!