ST. HELENA -- Wine industry trade group Napa Valley Vintners today said it donated $1.275 million to community services for Napa County schoolchildren and college-goers.

This is the third round of donations from 2012 Auction Napa Valley proceeds and part of $7 million the organization has committed to community health and children's education.

Research shows that it is far more effective -- in terms of outcomes, cost and benefit to the community -- to ensure that children are prepared for entering school and have access to constructive after-school and mentoring programs to keep them in school, than it is to intervene after issues have arisen, according to the trade group.

In Napa County, one of every five youth is considered to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, and research shows that youth from low-income communities are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to life success: economic self-sufficiency, full civic participation, and becoming leaders.

"Skills for success--in school and life--are accumulated over time and built on each other, and we want to ensure that all children, from toddlers to young adults, have the opportunities at each age to develop those skills," said Linda Reiff, the association's executive director. "The NVV is investing in local programs that prepare students for entering school, empower parents to be involved in their children's education, help students develop critical thinking skills, and guide them in learning how to make good decisions as they grow." 

Eight organizations received funding to expand their programs and outreach: Boys and Girls Clubs of Napa Valley in Napa and American Canyon; Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Summer Search; On the Move; NapaLearns; Child Start Inc.; and Napa Valley Adult Education's First Step.