Australia Wildfires Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving
Australia Wildfires Relief Fund
Photo: Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
Photo: Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

It has been more than a year since the world watched the 2019-20 Black Summer fires scorch vast swaths of land across Australia, resulting in the tragic deaths of dozens of people and billions of animals being killed or displaced. Wildfires are a stark reminder of the current climate crisis, but they can also force ecosystems to adapt and grow in the harshest conditions. Today, new life is emerging, and communities are rebuilding in Australian states hit hardest by the fires. 

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), a trusted GlobalGiving partner, is providing flexible funding to rural, regional, and remote areas affected by the fires across Australia. Like GlobalGiving, FRRR believes in community-led disaster recovery and supports community organizations on the hyper-local level. Over the past year, FRRR has invested more than $3 million in support of nearly 200 small, grassroots groups based in communities across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia. 

Through its Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program, FRRR is an essential lifeline to organizations supporting communities in bushfire-affected areas across Australia. For example, the organization has invested in a local farmers and artisans market on Kangaroo Island, an area devastated by the fires, to stimulate local economic recovery. With support from GlobalGiving, and thanks to your donation, FRRR’s bushfire recovery program is providing flexible funding to an additional 24 nonprofit organizations across Australia working to help their communities recover from the fires. Based on 20 years of disaster response experience, FRRR expects the funding will support a range of efforts from rebuilding community assets destroyed in the fires to providing ongoing psychosocial care for survivors.

The program supports medium- to long-term community recovery—the work that follows immediate disaster relief and is critical for lasting recovery but is often underfunded—and will ensure support for at least the next four years

In that time, FRRR will stay closely connected to community needs and provide targeted support throughout the entire journey to recovery. FRRR aims to work closely with community-led organizations to better understand their changing needs. You can read more about FRRR’s plans here.

Thank you for your generosity. At GlobalGiving, we are committed to working closely with local Australian organizations for multiple years through the phases of recovery. We look forward to sharing another update about how you are helping us do that in the months ahead. We also invite you to review GlobalGiving’s 2020 Impact Report to read more about how your donation has supported community-led disaster recovery after the devastating Australia bushfires. 

With gratitude,

Mikaela + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo: Upper Murray Innovation Foundation
Photo: Upper Murray Innovation Foundation

As 2020 comes to an end, we are reflecting on the importance of community. It has been inspiring to see the global community work together to support local communities impacted by disaster, even during the most difficult times. This has been especially true after the devastating bushfires that swept across Australia earlier this year. Thanks to your generosity, GlobalGiving’s community foundation partners in Australia are driving bushfire recovery and building back stronger.

Community foundations play a critical role in the local social sector. Empowering local people and letting them lead are central to their work. With community knowledge and connections, they can provide immediate relief and get targeted funds to those that need them most. 

Through GlobalGiving’s strategic partnership with Australian Community Philanthropy, your contributions have supported the exemplary work of seven community foundations that continue to respond to the terrible impacts of the Australia bushfires in their areas:

  • Community Foundation for Tumut Region is providing a second round of local business vouchers to families in the Tumut area of New South Wales whose homes and property were damaged in the fires. The vouchers will allow families to purchase materials to rebuild and native trees, shrubs, and garden plants to restore damaged local ecosystems.
  • Mumbulla Foundation, based in the Bega Valley of New South Wales, is supporting its community by providing psychosocial care to frontline responders.
  • Into Our Hands Community Foundation is deploying GlobalGiving funding through hyperlocal grants to small organizations and initiatives in North East Victoria that are focused on holistic community recovery and building resilience against future fires.  
  • Upper Murray Innovation Foundation is expanding the scale of its long-term bushfire recovery efforts in the Upper Murray region of Corryong, Victoria in consultation with a locally led advisory committee. The committee, composed of community members, will respond to a wide variety of local needs caused by the fires. 
  • Southern Highlands Foundation is allocating grants to local community organizations focused on medium- to long-term recovery in the Wingecarribee Shire area of New South Wales.
  • Northern Rivers Community Foundation, located in New South Wales, supports community-based organizations and initiatives in the Northern Rivers region. Following a community listening project, it launched a Recovery and Resilience Grant Program to support local initiatives like a community education and action program focused on strengthening disaster preparedness and resilience.
  • Community Foundation For Albury Wodonga Region (Border Trust) is supporting 13 local community initiatives, including the creation of a community greenhouse, in the Albury Wodonga area on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. 

These critical community initiatives are only possible because of your support. Thank you for joining with more than 26,000 other donors to drive community-led disaster recovery efforts through organizations with first-hand knowledge of people’s needs following a disaster and the best path to a stronger future. In the months ahead, we’re looking forward to sharing another update on how your donation is making an impact in Australia. 

With gratitude,

Mikaela + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo: Southern Highlands Foundation
Photo: Southern Highlands Foundation
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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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Location: Washington, D.C. - USA
EIN: 30-0108263

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About GlobalGiving’s Disaster Response

When a disaster strikes, recovery efforts led by people who live and work in affected communities are often overlooked and underfunded. GlobalGiving is changing this reality. Since 2004, we've been shifting decision-making power to crises-affected communities through trust-based grantmaking and support.

We make it easy, quick, and safe to support people on the ground who understand needs in their communities better than anyone else.

They were there long before the news cameras arrived, and they’ll be there long after the cameras leave. They know how to make their communities more resilient to future disasters, and they’re already hard at work. GlobalGiving puts donations and grants directly into their hands. Because the status quo—which gives the vast majority of funding to a few large organizations—doesn’t make sense.

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