“Know Your Nonprofits” is a weekly column in the Times-Standard that takes an in-depth look at nonprofit organizations throughout Humboldt County. This week’s featured nonprofit is the Redwood Coast Village. Pat Bitton, board vice president, answered the following questions with input from other board members, staff and volunteers.
Briefly describe your organization and its mission: Redwood Coast Village is a volunteer-based membership organization that helps local seniors stay socially connected and safe in their own homes for as long as possible, living active, independent lives. It’s not a physical place but a group of people who form an extended neighborhood, providing the kind of help and support a good neighbor would. Redwood Coast Village is a member of the national Village to Village network of more than 250 similar but uniquely local organizations across the United States.
Services provided include:
- Going Your Way — rides to medical appointments, shopping, social activities and more;
- Helping Hands — light fix-it jobs, gardening help, pet care and assistance with home technology;
- Social Connections — creating and joining activities like book groups, fun in and on the water, tech classes, pie parties and more;
- Just Checking In — being part of a calling circle;
- One-Call Help — referrals to local services and agencies to address specific issues;
- Member-Recommended Businesses — referrals to local businesses recommended by members.
We currently cover the greater Humboldt Bay area, plus Trinidad and Blue Lake, and hope to expand to the Eel River Valley over the next year or so. Because we’re volunteer-driven, we need to have a base of volunteers as well as members in order to expand.
Membership costs $420 per year ($35/month) for individuals and $630 per year ($52.50/month) for two-person households. Our Trillium Fund provides membership scholarships for low-income individuals. Background checks are required for both members and volunteers for everyone’s safety.
When and why was this nonprofit founded?: The over-60s represent 25% of the population of Humboldt County. While the county has a number of organizations supporting seniors, the majority are focused on those in the lowest income brackets. Villages are specifically designed for everyone, not just one or two specific groups.
In 2013, the Area 1 Agency on Aging received a grant from St. Joseph Care for the Poor to support its Volunteer Driver Program and gauge community interest in creating a local Village. A1AA surveyed over 3,000 people with questions about aging in Humboldt County and the Village concept. Driven by the results of this survey, public discussion about creating a Village in Humboldt began in 2014, and in February 2015, Redwood Coast Village was born. For the first two years, the Village operated under the aegis of A1AA and became an independent nonprofit in October 2017. Today, we have 125 members and 100 volunteers.
Is there anything…