Working to build a better world
YEAR IN REVIEW
July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021
What is a community foundation?
It’s a question we used to hear all the time but hear less and less each year. Recent community challenges have demonstrated how important it is to have a respected community foundation, a place where philanthropically minded people, businesses and organizations can pool resources to help spearhead recovery, encourage preparation and address deficiencies.
North Valley Community Foundation has awarded nearly $45 million in grants for community recovery since the Camp Fire, more than $3 million to address the COVID-19 pandemic and more than $600,000 for Bear/North Complex Fire projects so far. And we are still awarding grants on all fronts.
In each instance of disaster relief, we open funds to give kindhearted people a way to give. Those pooled resources then go out to nonprofit organizations and government agencies in the form of grants to help them address needs.
Government and insurance only do so much. That’s when philanthropy steps in to try to fill the holes.
We do so much more than disaster relief, however. Our Thrive initiative is focused on the mental health and well-being of North Valley residents and is tackling the difficult subject of suicide prevention, among other topics. We are funding and participating in the North State Equity Fund, which provides grants to organizations focused on equity and racial justice. And then there’s the longtime core of our organization — the nearly 500 funds started by community members and organizations who want to act on their ideas for social good anywhere in the world.
None of this is possible without donors, thousands of them, who give to various NVCF funds each year. We appreciate them all — from the ones who give millions of dollars each year to the ones who donate proceeds from a lemonade stand or a birthday party.
Every single dollar helps make the North Valley the special place it is and reminds us of this truism: Together we are stronger.
Message from the
PRESIDENT & CEO
"The year showed me that we truly can take care of one another, and not just when it's convenient or inspiring, but when it’s really difficult and painful."
President & CEO
July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021
Investment returns (weighted average of total NVCF funds invested; rate of return for any individual fund may vary)
Net assets, end of year
10-year average investment return
Grants, scholarships, charitable projects on fiscal year
Charitable funds at NVCF
Money raised in fiscal year for social good
New funds opened in fiscal year
Grants, scholarships, and charitable projects
*In 2005, Alexa Benson-Valavanis was hired to lead and reimagine NVCF
Camp Fire grants since Nov. 8, 2018
Camp Fire grants issued in fiscal year
Coronavirus grants issued since March 2020
Bear Fire grants issued
In a year in which he was named the MVP of the NFL for the third time, Aaron Rodgers was also dubbed the North Valley’s MVP (as in Most Valuable Philanthropist).
NVCF is committed to addressing the vast and complex challenges with the same resolve and commitment we started with the day the fire ignited.
Bear/North Complex Fire Recovery
As if 2020 did not have enough challenges of its own with a global pandemic, wildfires in California burned over 4.2 million acres. NVCF joined with our fire recovery partners to immediately do what we could to help.
As of July 1, we had mobilized more than $3 million in grants for COVID-19 relief and recovery — far more than we anticipated, but what we should have expected from our incredible donors.
Thrive is NVCF’s response to the suffering in our community from decades of trauma compounded by multiple, back-to-back crises.
Not only did the disaster relief and recovery work and partnerships NVCF participates in continue to grow and expand, but the work done by the nearly 500 charitable funds that are part of NVCF continued and expanded as well.
Message from the
PRESIDENT & CEO
Part of me wants to open this annual report by sharing with you the things I’m most proud of about the North Valley Community Foundation this past year.
It would be easy to talk about our extraordinary team, our unprecedented innovation, the significant progress we’ve made in our Camp Fire recovery efforts, our first-of-its-kind mental health and wellness initiative called Thrive or our cherished partner Aaron Rodgers and the life-changing work we’ve done with him for small businesses. (Have you seen the surprise phone calls?)
But you’re going to learn all about these good works in the pages that follow.
There is something else I want to say. The past year is a year in human history that will never be forgotten. This is the year the world lost more than 3.5 million people to a virus that shut our planet down.
Sure, everyone did what they could, but so many people did so much more than we could have ever imagined. Our nurses, doctors, hospital staff and emergency responders, for months on end, worked tirelessly while putting their own lives at risk. Our teachers, grocery store clerks, gas station attendants and mail service providers, worked and worked and worked — when most of us were able to hunker down.
And, it wasn’t just them. It was everyone who made sacrifices far beyond what was asked or expected. Those willing to stay home when it got really, really hard to. Those who wore their masks religiously, and not just for themselves but for each other. Those who volunteered. Those who gave more generously. Those who understood the past year was about being part of something much bigger than just ourselves and our families.
I’ve always preached about the inherent good in human beings. NVCF was rebuilt around that belief. But the past year took it to a whole new level, even for me, maybe human beings’ biggest fan. The year showed me that we truly can take care of one another, and not just when it's convenient or inspiring, but when it’s really difficult and painful.
Chances are you were part of the masses that did everything in your power to help. So, this opening is for you. It is to thank you. It is to remind you that you were part of something so much bigger than yourself the past year. You were part of saving lives and saving our way of life, and I thank you!
President & CEO
HELP US DO THIS VITAL WORK
Each page of this Annual Report details how NVCF makes a positive impact in the North Valley and beyond. It’s vital, life-changing work we can only do because of our incredible donors. Please help us continue.
We have existed for more than 30 years but our profile, and the understanding of what we do, grew after a series of crises starting with the Camp Fire in 2018, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the wildfires of 2020.
When the Camp Fire struck Butte County, our community foundation had just seven employees. Most worked part time.
With a larger, accomplished staff, we’ve been able to not only focus on Camp Fire recovery, but respond to other difficult community challenges. It takes people to do this work. We solicit and analyze hundreds of grant applications a year, issue thousands of checks and administer nearly 500 funds for social good.
We do this for a 1% administrative fee on the disaster relief donations, which make up the bulk of donations to NVCF. A penny on the dollar only scratches the surface of our staff time needed to do the job.
And that’s why we humbly ask for help, like the California Community Foundation recognized was necessary nearly three years ago. Our foundation, our expertise, our responsibilities and our desire to help has only grown. Most important, the need has not abated. Our area’s challenges become more complex with each new emergency.
The California Community Foundation recognized that only NVCF could perform the vital work needed to marshal donations and serve as a neutral leader on the long-term post-fire recovery effort. The California Community Foundation made a seven-figure donation to NVCF so we could staff up.
You can learn more about the NVCF General Operating Fund and donate by going to www.nvcf.org/donate.
WORDS OF APPRECIATION
"There’s a built-in localness and nimbleness to charitable foundations that state and federal agencies don’t have, and we don’t take this for granted. As we negotiate and advocate for the use of government funds made available to all communities experiencing disaster, we’re grateful North Valley Community Foundation and Butte Strong Fund stepped in to help uniquely and consistently as we begin to find our new normal."
KATIE SIMMONS, TOWN OF PARADISE
DISASTER RECOVERY DIRECTOR
"You do a great deal of good for people, very efficiently. You just have great compassion for people and you have also tapped into a resource of the hearts and generosity of the people of Chico and the North Valley. It’s been a beautiful connection, a beautiful marriage between the two."
TIM EDWARDS, CHARITABLE FUND AND DONOR-ADVISED FUND MANAGER AT NVCF
"The North Valley Community Foundation is driving our region forward. They are forward-thinking with their initiatives and projects, from addressing adverse childhood experiences through their Thrive Children’s Resilience Initiative to large-scale community fundraising strategies like the Week of Giving. NVCF also serves as a frontline response during crisis and community hardships. They have the capacity to immediately respond to unforeseen struggles such as COVID-19 or the Camp Fire, through their fundraising and granting to the many organizations that are meeting the ever-changing needs of our community members. The North Valley Community Foundation is acting as the heart of the north state, pumping necessary support throughout our region and ensuring our community organizations are healthy and supported in order to fulfill their unique missions."
KRYSI RIGGS, THE AXIOM AND OROVILLE CITY COUNCIL
"I’ve been working with a great organization in Northern California called the North Valley Community Foundation. Northern California has been hit by some tough times the last three years. There have been some really, really devastating fires, including one that was really close to my hometown of Chico. I started working really extensively with them after that and obviously with the pandemic, some businesses especially have been hammered across the country so I started a separate side fund under the NVCF umbrella to help with small businesses in the county I grew up in. It’s fun to keep working with them. They’re great people. There are a lot of people who are hurting up there and it’s fun to be able to help them out."
AARON RODGERS, EXPLAINING WHY HE CHOSE NVCF AS THE BENEFICIARY OF A NATIONALLY TELEVISED CHARITY GOLF EVENT
"NVCF is the sea that has created a wave of significant change in Butte County through their endless financial support and innovative ways in helping our community recover, heal and thrive. Thank you for all that you do."
NORMA LACY, NORTHERN VALLEY CATHOLIC SOCIAL SERVICE
"As a leader in a local social service organization, I depend often on the partnership of the North Valley Community Foundation for financial and gift management, donor connections, trainings and management wisdom. Having raised close to $11 million for our $19 million campaign, we have had very few donors who in some way were not served or nurtured in their philanthropy by the Community Foundation. They are truly the philanthropic engine of our region."
LAURA COOTSONA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JESUS CENTER AND RENEWAL CENTER
It has been my pleasure and privilege to work with the NVCF team over the past two years as a member of the Butte Strong Fund Committee. I can’t tell you how impressed I have been with their compassion, outreach and organizational skills. In the midst of the chaos and devastation caused by the 2018 Camp Fire, NVCF leadership took action to immediately step forward to provide relief and fund programs designed for short- and long-term recovery efforts, collaborating with community leaders and agencies to ensure a well-coordinated effort. Really, quite amazing!
PEGGY MOAK, BUTTE STRONG FUND COMMITTEE MEMBER AND CONCOW RESIDENT
It was mid-September when I was introduced to the North Valley Community Foundation by a school counselor at Bidwell Junior High to inquire about a grant for COVID-19 relief. My plan was to form a cohort of 14 local students that would meet in our community center on school days. Many families in Cohasset do not have access to high-speed internet, which is necessary for online classes. We needed the grant to be able to pay the salary of a person to guide and supervise the students during their school days. Our community center was awarded the grant just 17 days later. It was a smooth, quick and fantastic experience. Our entire community felt supported, as well as happy for the kids in our program. We made it through the remainder of the school year, without any positive tests for COVID-19, and all 14 students together. We are so grateful for the help of the North Valley Community Foundation. We couldn’t have done this without your support.
MELISSA ZAROS, COHASSET COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
We have had the opportunity to collaborate with NVCF over the last three years with our work on Camp Fire recovery through the Butte Strong Fund. As our community has traveled on our path toward wellness, NVCF has been an integral partner on that journey, often leading the charge. We are grateful that their philanthropic and community spirit is helping to lay a foundation for everlasting impact, for generations to come.
SIERRA GROSSMAN, SIERRA NEVADA BREWING CO.