The devastating fires in December 2017 and debris flow in Montecito on January 9, 2018, destroyed families and livelihoods with incredible loss of property and life. It also dramatically impacted the local economy. Our nonprofit organizations activated immediately to provide food, shelter, emotional and spiritual care, and case management to navigate recovery from consecutive disasters. The Community Disaster Relief Fund supports those critical service providers in relief and recovery.
With both natural and human-caused disasters occurring more frequently and with greater severity, the need for financial resources to support nonprofit and government response and recovery efforts is greater now more than ever. Once immediate needs are addressed, local nonprofit organizations will require continued resources to support communities as they cope with a damaged economy, mental health challenges and rebuilding infrastructure.
Donations to this fund will be used to support the members of the Santa Barbara County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (SBC VOAD). Initially, the fund will provide nonprofit organizations the financial support that they need to assist displaced individuals and families in meeting immediate and basic needs. These needs will change and the fund will transition to support long-term recovery operations.
The Community Disaster Relief Fund will not only address the needs of those impacted by the recent fires and debris flow, but will also provide immediate and long-term recovery and response for future emergencies. Deeply-rooted in Santa Barbara County, the Santa Barbara Foundation is in an optimal position to distribute these funds to the most effective local organizations that will respond to the greatest need and continue to build a strong network to prepare future disasters.