Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance Plans to Grow its Services

The Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance (TVNPA) will celebrate five years of connecting, supporting, and educating Tri-Valley nonprofits in March 2019. More than 30 people attended its very first meeting in 2014. Since then, the number of attendees has grown. Between 50 and 75 people attend the monthly meetings at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. At these meetings nonprofit executives, businesspeople, and community members share the problems faced by nonprofits and together explore potential solutions.

"Nonprofits serve where government misses," says Mony Nop, Co-founder of TVNPA as well as President and Founder of the Mony Nop Foundation. "They fill in a lot of gaps in society as a whole."

The monthly support meetings are the core activity TVNPA provides, but it offers other valuable events as well. In September 2018, TVNPA organized the Stronger Together Festival in Livermore to showcase the variety of nonprofits that serve the Tri-Valley area. This free event was designed to educate hundreds of community residents about these organizations and teach them how they can support these groups to make a difference in their own communities. The event was held in conjunction with the Taste of Livermore Culinary Stroll and included community service projects, on-site donation collections, and children's activities.

TVNPA also supports local nonprofits by sponsoring an annual Grantmaker Panel. At this popular event, individuals from foundations and corporations that give grants share their insights on the process and help nonprofits learn strategies for successfully seeking funding for their programs. Panelists explain their organizations' different giving criteria and requirements, as well as provide information on how to form partnerships with grantmakers and apply for grants.

Ready to Grow

Over the years TVNPA has met a variety of milestones. They include becoming a legally recognized California nonprofit, developing its signature events, and growing to about 110 members. Now Nop and Katherine Young, the other TVNPA Co-founder, have set two new goals for the organization.

TVNPA's first and most immediate goal is to find office space so it can become a full-service resource center for nonprofits. The founders plan to develop a nonprofit incubator in the new space. This incubator will give new nonprofits a temporary home as well as help people who want to start a nonprofit but do not know how.

The second, longer term goal for TVNPA is to formally evolve into a community foundation. Since its creation, the organization has taken on that role informally. It often acts as a matchmaker by connecting donors looking for a meaningful cause to nonprofit members that need support.

Traditionally, community foundations support the local charitable infrastructure and address changing community needs by collecting funds and making grants to nonprofit organizations. The Tri-Valley Community Foundation filled that role until 2012 before it closed.

The loss of that foundation left a huge gap in the community. Because of that gap, nonprofit leaders asked TVNPA from its beginning if it might take on the role of a community foundation. The founders say it was important to them that TVNPA establish trust and credibility within the community before attempting to take on that role, a major goal they plan to work toward over the next few years.

"Nonprofits are assets," says Young, who is also Executive Director and Chief Administrative Officer for the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation. "When you strengthen the nonprofits, you strengthen the community."

The Value of Tri-Valley Nonprofits

In their work together, both Nop and Young noticed that people outside of nonprofits were often unclear about their value to the Tri-Valley. Some people were unaware of the area's poverty, which is often hidden. Others seemed to believe that nonprofits offer help only to people who are struggling financially.

There are many nonprofits, including Open Heart Kitchen, that make life easier for low-income families in the Tri-Valley. But many other Tri-Valley nonprofits are dedicated to helping people from all walks of life and in all income brackets..

Local families, for example, are affected when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Until the need strikes, a family may be unaware of the many resources available for cancer patients and their families. TVNPA can help these families discover some of these resources. One of them is Culinary Angels, an all-volunteer, donation-based group serving Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton. This nonprofit provides healing, nutrient-rich meals to people going through a serious health challenge. About 95% of meal recipients are actively going through cancer treatment, according to the nonprofit. Other nonprofits that aid cancer patients can be discovered through TVNPA.

The need for arts, culture, and sports are also addressed by local nonprofits. Girls Soccer Worldwild, Pacific Chamber Orchestra, the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, and the San Ramon Futbol Club are among the local groups that work with TVNPA.

"Behind every nonprofit is a love story," says Young. The love story behind TVNPA began on an elevator. Nop and Young work in the same building. In 2014 they found themselves together in the building elevator and began to talk.

Young had read an article that claimed the Tri-Valley had only seven nonprofits. Young worked at a nonprofit and knew the number was much higher but had no idea how to find the real number. While talking they discovered a shared passion for bringing together the Tri-Valley nonprofit community.

Since that time, TVNPA has helped a variety of community causes. Members use the organization's Facebook page to let the community know if someone is looking for a job, looking to hire, or need something for their organization. Donors come to TVNPA when they want to support the community, but are not sure how.

Businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations at Hacienda are encouraged to join TVNPA at its next monthly meeting on December 13 at 10 am at Bankhead Theater in Livermore. They can also help by contacting TVNPA if they have or are aware of affordable office space for the nonprofit resource center. TVNPA is always looking for matching grants and for people to donate, as well, to either TVNPA or to one of the many other nonprofits that need support. The organization is happy to guide donors who have funds but are unsure how to choose a recipient.

For more information about Tri-Valley Nonprofit Alliance, please visit www.tvnpa.org . For more information about the Mony Nop Foundation, please visit monynopfoundation.org . For more information about the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation, please visit hertzfoundation.org .

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