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Lessons from a Pandemic Year



2020: It had such a nice, round ring to it.


Then came COVID-19, business (anything but) as usual, powerful conversations around social injustice, a lightning-filled start to the fire season and a political campaign that nearly tore the nation apart.

And still we rise! We have been challenged, stretched, tested. Forced to rethink our place in the world, to rethink relationships, the nature of work, home and education. This has been true for individuals and organizations alike.


Flexibility, resilience and a CanDo spirit are essential, and Napa Valley CanDo’s volunteers have needed all of them to reframe its Give!Guide 2020 project.


This remarkable year-end giving campaign reflects the innate generosity of the Napa Valley – even, or especially, when times are tough. In seven annual editions the Give!Guide has raised awareness and over 2.3 million dollars in funds for local nonprofits. Donations begin at $10 and CanDo takes no fee. It’s their gift to the community.


Early last spring, CanDo recognized the impact of the pandemic on Napa County nonprofits. “Greater demands for services and fewer opportunities for fundraising created a perfectly awful storm,” said Nancy Fireman, Give!Guide volunteer since the project’s inception.

“We considered taking a year off given all the variables,” said Hilary Zunin, CanDo’s co-founder, “But that’s just not in our DNA. Instead, like so many around the world, we adapted. CanDo remains steadfast in its commitment to a Give!Guide campaign.

“Out of respect for increased stressors on local nonprofits, we’ve made substantial modifications to this year’s campaign. All are designed with awareness of the changing landscape and to make it easier for nonprofits to participate.”


That’s meant a series of modifications: foregoing the catalog, implementing an online only campaign, and shortening the timeline from two months to one, December 1-31.


With crisis comes opportunity, and as it turns out, this year’s Give!Guide’s online-only format allows for a record number of nonprofit participants. 57 Napa County nonprofit organizations include nine first timers, nine returning after a hiatus, and 39 nonprofit participants from 2019.


Give!Guide Guardians, business partners who help make it possible, have stepped up once again. The Napa Valley Vintners, Mechanics Bank, Napa Waste and Recycling Services and sDel Sur Mortgage are back demonstrating their avid community commitment. Kamer Consulting Group and Wyman Property Management are new to this select group.


“This is hardly the work of CanDo alone” says, Zunin. “It’s based on our strong and clear belief that we are more powerful when we collaborate. When we support one another rather than competing. And it may be a cliché, but it’s true, ‘The rising tide really does raise all boats.’”

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