Press Release: CVNL Receives Significant Donation from Solano Community Foundation for Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service

February 18, 2021

Media Contacts:
Linda Jacobs, CEO
415.479.5710 x300,


Katelyn Willoughby-Bagley Director, Marketing & Communications 

Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership Receives Significant Donation from Solano Community Foundation for Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service

Contribution will immediately support local youth literacy and hunger

Bay Area, CA, February 18, 2021 — Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) is pleased to announce a charitable contribution in the amount of $10,000 from Solano Community Foundation in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service, which kicked off on January 18 and runs until February 18 with 30 “Days of Action.” An official day of service that celebrates the civil rights leader’s life and legacy, this year, community members were encouraged to donate new books for children or youth, pre-packaged/non-perishable snacks, new bookmarks, or a gift certificate to purchase such items.

“We are thrilled to partner with CVNL to help bring forth Dr. King’s message of freedom, equality, justice, and love,” said Connie Harris, Chief Executive Officer at Solano Community Foundation. “The books and nonperishable snacks purchased with this grant will be distributed by selected local nonprofit agencies in Vallejo and Fairfield, specifically those that champion youth literacy and help feed the hungry.”

“Here at CVNL, we are grateful to be part of a generous community that supports our work to drive service and volunteerism. Together we can make a difference,” said Rhonda Smith, Solano Volunteers Program Coordinator.

To support local, and in turn keep dollars in Solano County, books will be purchased from a local author and publisher.
“During the pandemic, it has been especially important to support local businesses,” stated Smith. “A local author and publisher was chosen so that each child in the Solano programs will receive the book Excited To Serve from Literary Engineers written by Andre Lewis.” 

Excited To Serve inspires service and creating a community of diversity and inclusion. Lewis, an author based in Benicia, will match the foundation’s donation in books so that all counties supported by CVNL will also receive a copy of Excited To Serve and an additional book written by Lewis.

More about Martin Luther King Jr. Days of Service
Food insecurity currently affects nearly 50 million people nationwide – most frequently, families with children. In Solano County, about 10% of residents were considered food insecure before the pandemic, according to Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” study. The important role that food security plays in a child’s ability to achieve is often overlooked: children who grow up in food insecure households often lag behind their food-secure peers in terms of cognitive, emotional, and physical development. In addition to the above effects, a wide body of research indicates that these consequences follow children into the classroom, often resulting in poor academic performance and challenges in reaching literacy skill benchmarks.

AmeriCorps VISTA Members Melinda Earp and Sophia Luna have designed a very special Day of Service for 2021. Each year, Members are tasked with specific areas of focus: this year, Members are helping to address food accessibility and literacy.

Working with local agencies and small businesses, Earp and team have created Operation D.R.E.A.M (Dedicated Readers Excel and Motivate). In Solano County, CVNL is collecting new books and healthy snacks for book bags, that will also include resources for local food banks and pantries available within the residing county.

Community members are encouraged to donate new books for children or youth, pre-packaged/non-perishable snacks, new bookmarks, or a gift certificate to purchase such items. Each bag of gifts will contain approximately $25 worth of books and $10 worth of snacks.
In Solano County, all donations will be distributed to children and youth via local agencies that champion youth literacy and address hunger: Elite Public Schools (Vallejo); Fairfield BaCON Teen Pantry (Fairfield); Fairfield Civic Center Library; and Vallejo SER Latino.

Additionally, a 30-day calendar of activities, inspired by the advocacy and the lifetime dedication of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr has been developed. Activities were specifically designed for people of all ages and abilities: each day individuals can engage in a virtual opportunity, from watching a TED Talk, to reading an inspiring article, to volunteering. As each day is completed, participants will develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation for Dr. King’s legacy and acquire tools and knowledge to help them address current inequities.

To donate to the book bags, visit and click on the “MLK Day” button.

To view and participate in CVNL’s “30 Days of Action,” visit

About CVNL and Solano VolunteersThe Solano County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) in winter of 2016 to build an online volunteer system to better serve nonprofits and service-minded individuals – “Solano Volunteers.” Together, Solano County and Solano Volunteers provides access to meaningful volunteer opportunities for individuals, families, groups, and businesses, leveraging powerful tools and technologies to make it easier for both volunteers to engage and organizations to post volunteer opportunities. In addition to providing online volunteer matching services, Solano Volunteers produces National Days of Service, provides disaster preparedness training, and serves as an Emergency Volunteer Center (EVC), overseeing spontaneous volunteers and donations for Solano County. Visit to discover more.