June 1, 2022
When I think back on all that we experienced together in 2021, the ups and the downs, my heart fills with gratitude. I feel so grateful to the community that repeatedly showed up and supported Hidden Villa as we continued to weather the pandemic. I’m grateful to the staff who thoughtfully and creatively delivered our mission-focused programming, responding to the needs of children, teachers, and the community. And I am grateful that the 1,600 acres property is a thriving ecosystem that continues to be a refuge for our neighbors, flora, and fauna.
The internal ecosystem of Hidden Villa experienced significant transitions in 2021. We dug into the new Strategic Plan, making enormous strides towards investing more in our equity and inclusion infrastructure at Hidden Villa through accomplishments like the formation of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee and the adoption of our Equity Statement. We also have been realigning our agricultural methods to support better climate mitigation and sustainable practices throughout the property. Another seismic shift was the departure of long-time Executive Director, Chris Overington. We are grateful to Chris for over 25 years of dedicated leadership. He shaped Hidden Villa into a vibrant, strong, and aspirational organization. We are also excited to take on the challenge of reimagining leadership at Hidden Villa and using this transition to begin the next phase of the organization; building on the legacy of the Duvenecks while stretching to realize the full potential of our vision and mission.
Hidden Villa’s external ecosystem in 2021 was defined by the spring-like resurgence of on-campus education programming. Preschool through 12th grade classrooms slowly began returning for field trips to our learning laboratory. While it was heartwarming to observe children exploring their curiosity and experiencing the wonder of nature, the biggest surprise was from the teachers. Field trip after field trip, they expressed literal tears of joy for the opportunity to connect with their students in such a safe, nurturing, and off-screen environment. One of our proudest accomplishments in 2021 was our return to hosting residential Summer Camp in person! Our team of youth advocates facilitated a season that supported not only the physical health of our campers but also provided a nurturing and supportive environment for their mental and emotional healing.
Please enjoy our annual report and read about all the powerful memories and accomplishments that your support made possible. And please, let me express again my gratitude to YOU.
With best wishes,
Peter Hartzell, Hidden Villa Board Chair
This land we call Hidden Villa is likely part of the ancestral homeland of the Tamien Nation, with the Ramaytush Ohlone as near neighbors. Neither group ever agreed to surrender any of their lands. We recognize that we benefit from living, working, and recreating in their aboriginal homelands.
The Tamien Nation continues to have a relationship with the land ~ one of deep respect, agreement and reciprocity, collaborating to help maintain balance. Aboriginal people are still working every day to nurture their cultural traditions and ancestral relationships to the land. Hidden Villa commits itself to supporting these efforts, and we invite you to do the same.
Hidden Villa is committed to the vision that everyone deserves a sustainable, healthy, and just future – not just the few and privileged. Through education, reflection, and community building, we will humbly continue to remove barriers and create opportunities that promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive world for all, regardless of background or ability. Our work is far from done. We acknowledge the need to reflect, hold space, and learn from the ways we could have done more. Now, more than ever is the time for action.
We, the Employees, Board of Trustees, Interns, and the Volunteers of Hidden Villa will:
- Govern ourselves in a way that authentically listens and invites community participation, questions power dynamics, and allocates resources from a Justice, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (JDEIA) frame.
- At the Staff level, engage in difficult conversations as needed, bring JDEIA issues to the fore for the leadership team, support and train staff, and devote resources towards recruitment/retention so that our team better reflects the Bay Area community.
- Adapt and operate our education programs and agriculture practice thoughtfully to ensure all feel welcome and comfortable to be their complete selves.
- Cultivate Community Partnerships that are relevant and empowering to the people we serve and the impact we want to make in our world.
Join us as we work toward this vision, as we stand in solidarity with many of the regional, national, and global efforts to establish environmental and racial justice — working to create true and authentic equity.
We want to extend our deep gratitude to all of our donors! Their generous support allows us to continue sharing the magic of Hidden Villa with many, inspiring awe of the natural world and hope for future generations.
The donors listed below gave $500 or more from January 1 through December 31, 2021.
We are honored to recognize the organizations that contributed $2,500 or more from January 1 through December 31, 2021.
Gifts Made in Memory:
Gifts Made in Honor:
Gifts made to the Overington Legacy Fund in honor of Chris Overington
Gifts made to the Katharine King Memorial Fund
Gifts made in memory of Bob Niederer to the Bob Niederer Farm and Wilderness Scholarship Fund
2021 brought about many changes to the structure of Hidden Villa’s educational programs. In the midst of the global pandemic, the education team recognized that safety was of the utmost importance, and deliberately re-structured programs to reach the greatest number of participants in the safest way. Coveys were a new program, where groups of children came once a week for 6 weeks. In the Fall, they welcomed school groups back to the farm for programs. It was rewarding to see groups of students at the farm, interacting with each other and the natural world again.
Summer camp operated at a limited capacity, with many safety measures in place. This came with its own challenges, as kids learned to navigate being away from their families, and being with larger groups of people again.
The Hidden Villa Community Supported Agriculture Program and Animal Husbandry have faced challenges amid the ongoing drought in California. Despite this, the CSA team was able to provide a full season of baskets, making strategic changes to make sure they were able to continue growing crops. In addition to the 150 weekly CSA subscription boxes, they donated over 11,000 pounds of produce to Community Services Agency of Mountain View, providing healthy, fresh produce to community members in need.
The Animal Husbandry team made changes in their operations. They did their first cycle of Fall Lambing with the hopes that this would provide a longer grazing season for the sheep. With great success, the sheep had an extended grazing season, starting in late January and running through April. The longer grazing season provided great benefit to the sheep’s health as well as the health of the surrounding pastures.
The 2021 – 2024 Strategic Plan is a road map to strengthen and focus Hidden Villa to more effectively leverage our assets and resources in support of our community and our mission. This plan is a call to embrace the Duveneck family legacy and to strive towards a thoughtful and intentional building upon our property, programs, and community towards our core issues of Social, Food, and Environmental Justice.
The Strategic Plan focuses on four strategic areas of change and growth:
Organization and Culture: Internal work to create a more Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive organization, striving to be an anti-racist community, and to develop an environment which encourages curiosity, staff development and accountability.
Programs: Aligning our target audiences for maximum mission impact, expanding and diversifying our reach through authentic community partnerships, and incorporating more evaluation and iteration in program development.
Infrastructure: Reimagining our property to better facilitate self-directed learning and data-informed resource and stewardship management.
Sustainable Financial Model: Shifting our revenue generation model over time in a fiscally responsible manner.
Thank you to our 229 volunteers for generously giving their time to Hidden Villa. They are critical to Hidden Villa’s impact and we could not do it without their support! Listed below are volunteers who gave 20 hours or more of their time. We greatly appreciate it!
Support and revenue reflected here is that which was available to support operations in Fiscal Year September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021.