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Australia Wildfires Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network
Australia Wildfires Relief Fund
Photo from WIRES
Photo from WIRES

It has been more than nine months since the peak of the bushfires across Australia. In that time, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world. The current realities imposed by the pandemic have only made the long journey to recovery for fire-impacted communities and ecosystems in Australia more complex and arduous. 

Thank you for standing together with more than 23,000 others to support bushfire relief and long-term recovery. Your generosity continues to make it possible for GlobalGiving’s local nonprofit partners in Australia to effectively address the medium- to long-term impacts of the bushfires. Frankly, the challenges facing our partners remain immense. According to recent government reporting, the bushfires burned between 24 and 40 million hectares, displaced hundreds of communities, tragically killed more than 30 people, and killed or displaced an estimated 3 billion animals. The dedicated work of our local partners on a daily basis, however, provides hope as they lead the way to recovery for fire-impacted communities and ecosystems. 

Here is a snapshot of how three of our partners are contributing to bushfire recovery thanks to your donation:

  • The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) has launched its second phase of bushfire response, called Healing Our Land. Building on the organization’s initial emergency relief operations in support of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, the Healing Our Land program is aimed at the restoration and regeneration of devastated ecosystems in all fire-impacted states in Australia. To date, the organization has provided direct financial assistance to nearly 10 community projects in New South Wales and South Australia. For example, FNPW has invested in expanding a network of nest boxes on Kangaroo Island to support insectivorous bats, pygmy-possums, and several bird and reptile species.

  • NSW Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service (WIRES) remains keenly focused on the massive loss, injury, and displacement of native wildlife across Australia during the bushfires. Through its myriad bushfire recovery programs, WIRES has funded more than 240 projects nationally in support of licensed wildlife carers, critical koala research with the University of Sydney’s Koala Health Hub, and ecosystem restoration in partnership with Landcare Australia and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.

  • Foodbank Australia continues to see an unprecedented rise in the demand for food relief across Australia due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. This trend is especially concerning in fire-impacted communities. As a trusted organization that forms part of the official emergency response network in the country, Foodbank Australia remains a central conduit for connecting local community pantries with reliable food supply chains.

But the recovery and our nonprofit partners’ work is not over. Here’s what’s next:

By early October, GlobalGiving will award additional funding of up to $1 million to local nonprofit partners in Australia that continue to serve on the front lines of the bushfire response. In our next update to you, we will share more details about these upcoming awards and the recovery work they will fund.

We believe that local organizations understand and address their communities’ needs better than anyone else. Thanks again for your generosity and dedication to supporting local disaster relief and recovery efforts.

With gratitude, 

Chase + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from Sydney Wildlife
Photo from Sydney Wildlife
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Photo from Foodbank Australia
Photo from Foodbank Australia

Though it seems like a lifetime ago for so many of us, the devastation of the bushfires across Australia at the beginning of the year remains a sad reality for impacted communities and the natural environment. Many families and communities are still waiting for assistance. While the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is not only upending our own lives and the lives of our loved ones, it is also disproportionately hurting the most vulnerable among us and those already struggling to recover from previous disaster events, like the bushfires.

GlobalGiving is working around the clock during the COVID-19 crisis to best serve our nonprofit community that is spread across 170 countries. We have launched a Coronavirus Relief Fund, piloted a Hardship Microgrant Initiative, and doubled down on trusting our partners to know what is best for their communities during this emergency.

At the same time, GlobalGiving remains committed to serving our nonprofit partners on the front lines of continued bushfire recovery work in Australia. Within the last few months, we have made more grants from our Australia Wildfires Relief Fund to Australian organizations that are providing direct support to impacted communities. I want to share how five of our partners are doubling down on their critical work in the midst of the pandemic thanks to your donation.

  • Australian Community Philanthropy (ACP) is the peak organization that serves the nearly 40 community foundations across Australia. These local community foundations are best placed to understand the key needs of bushfire-impacted communities, and many are actively on the frontlines of bushfire recovery. ACP is working closely with its members to provide resources, one-on-one support, and coordination to effectively drive a unified response in partnership with local communities.
  • Community Foundation For Tumut Region has been serving local communities since 2004 and is now providing direct support to bushfire-impacted families through the provision of pre-paid gift cards from local businesses. In this way, the organization is seeking to not only give aid directly to families in need, but also to support the local business sector. 
  • Alternative Technology Association (Renew) recognizes the global climate emergency that played a major role in the Australia bushfires crisis. The organization is working directly with homeowners and other community members to build back homes in a green and sustainable manner. Its current work is informed by its extensive experience serving fire-impacted communities after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in the state of Victoria.
  • Catholic Social Services Australia is responding across the nation in many of the communities that it has long served in its more than 40-year history. In partnership with impacted communities, the organization is deploying local Community Recovery Workers that are committed to long-term recovery through the provision of counseling, social asset mapping, coordination and referral services, and other community engagement projects.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society NSW is playing a major role in St. Vincent de Paul Society’s overarching national response to bushfire recovery in Australia. In NSW, one of the hardest-hit states, the organization is activating a holistic response that includes basic relief services (food, clothes, and temporary shelter), assistance with children (school fees and transportation), economic assistance, and psychosocial support.

As always, you can also check in on the progress of our other partners, especially those working on wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. In the months ahead, GlobalGiving will continue to support our Australian nonprofit partners and, at the same time, will be building new partnerships with grassroots organizations that are serving neglected needs across the country.

All of this vital work has been made possible by your donation. Thank you for your incredible generosity. Joining together with more than 23,000 other people, your choice to support community-led recovery efforts in Australia makes all the difference during this difficult time.

Stay safe and well.

With gratitude,

Chase + the GlobalGiving team

Photo from Foundation for National Parks &Wildlife
Photo from Foundation for National Parks &Wildlife
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Photo: Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife
Photo: Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife

It is hard to overstate the damage and loss caused by the ongoing wildfires across Australia. The size and scope of these fires is so immense that its impacts are visible from space. 33 people have been confirmed dead, a newly estimated 1 billion animals have been killed or impacted, and more than 2,500 homes have been destroyed. Cultural loss is also a key concern as it is feared that thousands of historical Aboriginal sites and artifacts have been damaged or destroyed.

Despite the staggering effects of the fires, international media interest has already begun to wane. With donations tightly correlated with media coverage (among many other variables), this reinforces a troubling global trend in humanitarian aid: funding drying up or stopping altogether even as needs persist for years following a disaster as communities strive to recover

GlobalGiving is committed to serving our nonprofit partners in Australia now and over the long-term as they continue to be instrumental in the wildfire relief and recovery process. You can read about this commitment in more detail in a recent article (“How GlobalGiving’s Australia Wildfires Response is Different”) written by the director of GlobalGiving’s Disaster Recovery Network, Donna Callejon.

We remain incredibly grateful for the generosity and passion of every single donor and corporate partner in support of fire-impacted communities. Nearly 5,000 individual donors and dozens of companies have now supported our Australia Wildfires Relief Fund. To every person who has given $10, $200,000 (like fans of Jacksepticeye, a well-known Youtuber and actor), and any donation in between, we say thank you. Just last week, GlobalGiving provided another round of flexible relief funding to eight of our vetted nonprofit partners in Australia:

  • Foodbank Australia continues to provide essential food, water, and grocery supplies to fire-stricken areas across the country. For every $1 the organization receives, it is able to provide $6 worth of supplies to impacted communities through its partnership with the food and grocery sector.
  • Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland remains committed to providing grants directly to local fire brigade members in Queensland that have themselves been impacted by the ongoing fires. The organization leads and represents the interests of the more than 330,000 volunteer brigade members in Queensland.
  • NSW Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service (WIRES) is expanding its scope of reach to a national level in support of wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. It has launched multiple initiatives to provide immediate and long-term assistance to frontline wildlife rescuers and caregivers across the country.
  • Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors continues to treat and shelter injured and affected animals from all fire-affected areas. It is, for example, keenly focused on treating grey-headed flying foxes that have been acutely impacted by the fires. 
  • Sydney Wildlife is activating its Mobile Care Unit, which is staffed by volunteer vets and wildlife caregivers. You can read a recent field report posted by the organization here.
  • Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is prioritizing the physical and mental health of wildlife rescue volunteers and caregivers who have been working tirelessly in response to the fires. The organization is equipping these groups and individuals with the supplies and support they need to effectively save and rehabilitate injured and at-risk wildlife.
  • Community Foundation For Albury Wodonga Region (Border Trust) is leveraging its 15 years of experience as a trusted community foundation by supporting mental health and well-being programs in its fire-affected communities. In conversation with local community members and partners, the organization will adapt and respond to the evolving needs of those it serves.
  • Into Our Hands Community Foundation is building on lessons learned from the devastation of the 2009 Black Saturday wildfires to serve communities in Victoria that are once again facing the impacts of wildfires. The organization emphasizes the essential need for local communities to have the means to support and inform decision-making about local wildfire response.

Throughout the coming months, we will continue to monitor the evolution of needs faced by communities impacted by the fires—both human and wildlife—and maintain close contact with existing and new nonprofit partners in Australia, learning from them about how the recovery process is proceeding from their perspective and creating a space for them to articulate their most pressing needs across different affected areas.

At the core of GlobalGiving’s approach to disaster response is our enduring commitment to be trustworthy stewards of our donors’ funds, as well as adherence to our belief that local communities must be the predominant voices developing and owning longer-term solutions to benefit themselves and their environments. Thank you again for your commitment to supporting the people, animals, and landscapes of Australia in this time of great need.

With gratitude,
Chase + the GlobalGiving team

Photo: Team Rubicon Global
Photo: Team Rubicon Global
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Photo courtesy of Australian Red Cross
Photo courtesy of Australian Red Cross

Australia remains gripped by the devastating impacts of the ongoing wildfires, especially in the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria. Nearly ten million hectares have been burned across the country, more than 20 twenty people have been killed, and an estimated half a billion animals have been killed or impacted. We are extremely grateful for the massive mobilization of GlobalGiving’s community of vetted nonprofit partners, and the crucial support of our donors and corporate partners.

Thanks to contributions raised through our Australia Wildfire Relief Fund and through partnership with Facebook, we are disbursing an initial round of donations today to six vetted Australian nonprofit partners on the frontline of response in support of fire-impacted communities (both human and wildlife). Through our flexible funding, our partners are able to dedicate these funds to the greatest needs that they are seeing in the areas where they are providing relief.

  • Foodbank Australia is providing emergency food and groceries relief to individuals and families in crisis across all impacted states.
  • Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland is awarding grants directly to local fire brigade members in Queensland that have themselves been impacted by the deadly fires.
  • NSW Wildlife Information Rescue & Education Service (WIRES) is expanding  wildlife rescue and rehabilitation services across the organization’s 28 branches in New South Wales.
  • Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors is sending medical supplies to wildlife rescuers and carers in fire-affected areas, transporting (where permitted) animals to the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital for critical care, and constructing a climate-controlled intensive care ward for an ever-growing number of koala patients.
  • Sydney Wildlife is providing ongoing wildlife rescue and rehabilitation at the organization’s Rehabilitation Facility and supporting the organization’s Mobile Care Unit for wildlife. 
  • Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is growing its Wildlife Heroes Bushfire Emergency program that provides frontline wildlife rescuers and carers with first aid supplies, medicine, animal food, and psychosocial care due to working in traumatizing situations.

GlobalGiving is also providing direct support to the Australian Red Cross and World Central Kitchen in close collaboration with our corporate partners, Ford Motor Company and 3M.

We believe organizations that are deeply rooted in local communities are often in the best position to provide immediate relief and long-term support for disaster victims. We will be sharing further updates in the weeks and months to come about the progress our nonprofit partners are making toward recovery across Australia. From all of us at GlobalGiving, thank you for your inspiring generosity in support of communities impacted by the ongoing fires. 

 

With gratitude,

Chase + the GlobalGiving team

Photo courtesy of Sydney Wildlife
Photo courtesy of Sydney Wildlife
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