VALLEJO — The Robby Poblete Foundation has been named Nonprofit of the Year for 14th Assembly District for its work to prevent gun violence.
Assemblyman Timothy Grayson, D-Concord, announced his selection Wednesday.
“The Robby Poblete Foundation is taking an extraordinary stand against gun violence in the East Bay area by taking unwanted guns off the streets, transforming them into instruments of hope and peace through its arts program, and providing vocational opportunities to underserved populations,” Grayson said in a statement announcing the nonprofit’s selection. “I am honored to present this resolution to the Robby Poblete Foundation’s executive director, Pati Navalta, in recognition of the foundation’s successful efforts to improve our community.”
Navalta formed the foundation in June 2017, nearly three years after her son, Robby Poblete, had been fatally shot Sept. 21, 2014, in Vallejo. He was 23.
While the foundation also works to help provide job training for jail inmates so they can transition back into society and community awareness about gun violence, the program that has gained the greatest notice was Art of Peace, which selected artists to use pieces of destroyed guns to build sculptures.
The art show was May 11 in Vallejo. To date, the foundation has removed more than 250 guns from the streets, either through voluntary buy-back programs or guns confiscated by law enforcement agencies.
“I knew that the success of our nonprofit would depend greatly on the support of our community leaders,” Navalta said in the Grayson statement. “It wasn’t enough for us to say that gun violence is an issue plaguing our communities, or that by offering people opportunities in vocational jobs we could reduce crime. We needed our community leaders to understand and agree with our mission so we could move the ball forward.”
Grayson was one of the nonprofit’s first supporters, Navalta said in the statement, and because of the backing of officials like him the organization has already affected so many lives.
“We are honored to be his choice for Nonprofit of the Year,” she said in the Grayson statement.
Navalta also was invited back to Atlanta, Georgia, and participated in the 25th anniversary memorial to mark the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
For more information about the Robby Poblete Foundation, visit https://robbypobletefoundation.org.
Grayson’s East Bay district carries into parts of Solano County, to include Benicia and Vallejo.