900+ Veterans Served during Day of Service at the California Veterans Home Yountville

Nonprofit Planing Committee partners with the Home Depot Foundation and the Tug McGraw Foundation to engage 500 volunteers

On May 24, 2017, Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL), the Home Depot Foundation, California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet), the Tug McGraw Foundation, and Habitat for Humanity Napa Solano delivered a day of service project to benefit more than 900 veterans at the California Veterans Home Yountville. The Home Depot Foundation approached CVNL to lead the project in December 2016, looking to engage their own employees and vendor partners in a service project that supported veterans in California. Said Jim Tomlinson, Manager of CVNL’s office in Napa County: 

When we were asked who the recipient should be, there was no question in our minds. The California Veterans Home Yountville is the largest veterans’ home in the United States. 900 or more aged or disabled veterans (both men and women) or World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn live at the home.

CVNL contacted Habitat for Humanity Napa Solano and the Tug McGraw Foundation to provide their own resources, volunteers, and expertise, forming a Nonprofit Planing Committee. When CVNL started the planning process with the Home Depot Foundation, they realized they would need to secure additional partners to make their vision come to life. Habitat for Humanity Napa Solano was a natural fit for the project; the Tug McGraw Foundation is headquartered on the Veterans Home campus and was eager to help. Together, the group was able to work together seamlessly to make a tremendous impact. When contacted by CVNL, the Veterans Home of California Yountville was extremely excited to have the opportunity. Said Joshua Kiser, Public Information Officer II (acting) for the California Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Home of California Yountville:

Anything that provides support to our veterans is always greatly appreciated. Working with all parties involved was a fantastic experience and we can’t thank the Home Depot Foundation for providing us with this amazing opportunity to serve our veterans. The final outcome of the project was incredible and will benefit our veterans for decades to come.

The Yountville Veteran Home staff and the Nonprofit Planing Committee designed outdoor recreation, green exercise, and comradery projects to improve the quality of life of veterans at four sites on location. Starting at 7:00 A.M. on the morning of May 24, volunteers were deployed to one of four areas: 1.) the Holderman housing area, where volunteers landscaped, spread mulch, and built shade structures and planter boxes; 2.) the Cemetery, where volunteers built benches, chairs, and picnic tables; 3.) the Brain Garden, where volunteers made planter boxes, picnic tables, erected gates, and built shade structures; 4.) and the Member Services Lawn, where volunteers created a recreation space with horseshoes and corn hole-style outdoor games. 2-3 Project Leaders monitored each site. Habitat for Humanity Napa Solano cut hundreds of pieces of pre-fabricated redwood several days before the event, which were then distributed to the volunteer sites and assembled in groups. Said Diane Agnone, Executive Director at Habitat for Humanity Napa Solano:

We were thrilled when CVNL approached us to help with this project. It was an honor lending our building expertise and we couldn’t be more thrilled by the results. 

A total of 100 volunteers from Habitat for Humanity and Home Depot rallied to ensure these preparations were complete before May 24. On the day of project, 67 volunteers from Habitat for Humanity Napa Solano, 33 Home Depot employees from their Napa store location, and 300 product sales people looking to feature their products and/or services in Home Depot stores were engaged across the campus. The day of service project was a great addition to the larger corporate event Home Depot was hosting in Napa. At this event, hundreds of potential Home Depot vendors attend with the hopes of successfully pitching their products to our executives. Before they get this opportunity, they must volunteer. This is part of Home Depot’s larger commitment to engage all their employees and vendor partners in volunteering. Volunteers had no clue what kind of project they would be helping with until the day-of the event. Said Tomlinson:

It was a big surprise! They drove up to the Veteran’s Home early in the morning in several, large busses. Once people saw the sprawling campus, they were immediately excited and eager to get started!

The Tug McGraw Foundation came up the with concept for the Brain Garden. The garden aims to accomplish six main goals: grow for a purpose; produce food; improve diets; provide inter-generational social activities; increase outdoor exercise; and give to others. Because of the service project, veterans who currently reside at the Yountville Home will be able to give healthy vegetables directly to homeless veterans in the community.

Volunteers completed their projects before noon that day, building a total of 103 structures: 53 different kinds of benches; 6 Adirondack chairs; 20 shade structures; 14 picnic tables; and 10 planter boxes. Several veteran residents stepped out to observe and help volunteers throughout the morning. One five-year resident, Steve Miller, helped move bags of mulch and gardening supplies in his wheelchair. Miller is also the current pitcher for the Mixed Nutts Baseball Team, which has its own field located on the grounds of the Veterans Home. Said Miller:

Every day I am grateful to the Veteran’s Home and was going to help any way I could. The TugMcGraw Foundation gave me this wheelchair, so I wanted to do my part.

The project concluded on the baseball field in a closing ceremony, where veterans and volunteers were thanked for their service and representatives from the Nonprofit Planing Committee made anouncements. Tim McGraw was video conferenced-in to share his own words of gratitude. It was a very moving day and afternoon. The outpouring of love and support experienced was overwhelming. CVNL was honored to help put this project together for our veterans, who have given their lives to protect our nation. As a final gift, Home Depot presented four deluxe grills to the Veterans Home: one for each site worked on by volunteers.

CVNL has a long history of engaging businesses in service projects. Drawing on its vast network of agency partnerships and planning expertise, CVNL designs ongoing volunteer programs or one-time events, specifically tailored to meet the needs and interests of corporations. Said Tomlinson:

CVNL is an expert at strategically connecting socially-responsible businesses with community-serving nonprofits. Bringing together the Home Depot Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and the Veterans Home of California was incredibly rewarding.

Browse event photos

Photography: Tina Chechourka, in-house CVNL photographer and Volunteer Solano Coordinator. 

About CVNL: Since 1964, the national award-wining Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) has advanced nonprofits and volunteerism by strengthening leadership, encouraging inovation, and empowering individuals throughout the Bay Area. CVNL knows that passion alone isn’t enough when it comes to creating strong nonprofits. CVNL works with aspiring and established leaders every day to help them build the skills and connections that can take their impact to the next level — offering comprehensive programs including education, executive search, consulting, leadership training and recognition. CVNL has a rich history of promoting volunteerism, offering easy-to-access, meaningful opportunities to individuals, families, groups, and businesses. CVNL believes that with confident and prepared leaders, our nonprofits will be better equipped to create healthy, happy communities. CVNL has served the Bay Area continuously for more than 50 years and expanded to Napa County in July 2014 and Solano County in 2016. Visit www.cvnl.org to discover more.

About the Veterans Home of California Yountville: Founded in 1884, VHC-Yountville is one of the largest veterans’ home in the United States, offering residential accommodations with a wealth of recreational, social, and therapeutic activities for four levels of care, from independent living through skilled nursing. VHC-Yountville is a part of CalVet Homes, a service of the California Department of Veteran Affairs, providing the state’s aged or disabled veterans with rehabilitative, residential, and medical care and services in a home-like environment.

About the Home Depot Foundation: Since the first The Home Depot store opened in 1979, giving back has been a core value for the Company and a passion for its associates. Today, The Home Depot, in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation, focuses its philanthropic efforts on improving the homes and lives of U.S. military veterans and their families and aiding communities affected by natural disasters. Through Team Depot, the Company’s associate-led volunteer force, thousands of associates dedicate their time and talents to these efforts in the communities where they live and work. Since 2011, The Home Depot Foundation has invested more than $198 million in veteran causes, and along with the help of Team Depot volunteers, has transformed more than 33,000 homes and facilities for veterans. To learn more and see Team Depot in action, visit www.homedepot.com/teamdepot and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamdepot.