NAPA VALLEY REGISTER
Local nonprofit groups will share $1.1 million in grants for programs designed to make Napa County residents healthier, from smokers seeking to kick the habit to young mothers needing transitional housing.
The Napa County Board of Supervisors awarded the grants last week using Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement money in what is an annual undertaking.
In 1998, 46 states settled a lawsuit with tobacco companies in what is called the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. That settlement sends money each year to states and, in California, to counties such as Napa to be spent as the county sees fit.
The New York Times has reported that much of the settlement money across the nation has been used for non-health-related endeavors, everything from new jails to a public golf course sprinkler system. Not in Napa County.
“We decided we wanted to invest in health in our community,” Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht said. “That’s what the money should be used for, and we’ve faithfully done it over the years.”
Of that $1.1 million, the Board of Supervisors had already allocated $475,000. It allocated $300,000 in previous, multi-year contracts, $75,000 for quit-smoking programs and $100,000 for programs to help children get health care.
That left $625,000 for the Board of Supervisors to award in grants on Tuesday. Fifteen nonprofit groups applied and asked for a total of $1.3 million. A panel of health officials from inside and outside the county scored and ranked the applications.
Catholic Charities received $60,000 for its Rainbow House that provides housing and counseling for single mothers. It serves about 50 mothers and their children in a typical year, senior bilingual case manager Angelica Palominos said.
“That makes a big difference in our community, to be able to help them,” she told supervisors.
COPE Family Center received $187,500 for an 11-agency collaborative administering the Positive Parenting Program. These classes, seminars and home visits help parents learn better parenting skills and decreases child maltreatment.
The grant provides 23 percent of the budget, with the agencies using the money to leverage other money. In a year, the program served almost 400 families, Michele Grupe of COPE told supervisors.
“We project with this renewed investment, we’ll be able to serve over 1,000 families this next year,” she said.
—Napa Emergency Women’s Services-Mentis, $129,540 for the Safe Solutions domestic violence survivors program
—Mentis, $108,438 for its Health Minds Healthy Aging program
— On the Move, $45,000 for its LGBTQ Connection Families Initiative
—On the Move and McPherson Family Resource Center, $35,000 for a family self-sufficiency program
— Queen of the Valley Medical Center, $59,522 for its Care Network-SOAR program.
Supervisors praised the nonprofit groups.
“This is us working together with you to address the needs in our community … you’re the ones who stretch these dollars and make amazing things happen,” Supervisor Mark Luce said.
Supervisor Keith Caldwell agreed. “Without our partners in the nonprofit sector, we wouldn’t be able to provide these services,” he said.