California Wildfire Relief Fund 2020

by GlobalGiving
California Wildfire Relief Fund 2020
Photo: Nuestra Comunidad
Photo: Nuestra Comunidad

It seems almost absurd to be writing that we are “closing out” our 2020 California Wildfire Relief Fund as the Dixie Fire—the largest standalone fire in state history—has burned more than 500,000 acres. 

But rest assured, while GlobalGiving’s 2020 fund is now closed, the final donations are on their way to local organizations supporting communities impacted by last year’s fires and preparing for the ongoing season. We’ve also already created a new fund for the 2021 fires to respond to devastating fires that are already spreading across northern California.

Here’s a snapshot of how your donation helped some of our incredible local partners in our final round of flexible grants:

  • Nuestra Comunidad and Puertas Abiertas are working with migrant communities impacted by the Sonoma and Napa county fires in 2020. GlobalGiving has funded them to support predominantly undocumented families. Despite providing tremendous value to the California economy and local communities, these California residents continue to live in conditions that I can only describe as woefully subpar. In recent years drought, fire, and unfriendly federal policies have made these conditions even worse. Nuestra Comunidad and Puertas Abiertas are providing rent subsidies and ‘Go Kits’ packed with evacuation essentials to help families impacted by the Glass fires recover and prepare for the possibility of another round of fires.
  • The Wildlife Disaster Recovery Network is showing care for wildlife heavily impacted by the fires. A team of veterinarians, wildlife biologists, ecologists, and trained animal care volunteers came together through the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine to assist wildlife and livestock after the fires in 2020.  The VERT network also set up a hotline so residents can call for help when they see wildlife in need of support—bringing a new level of care to wildlife affected by wildfire.
  • The Amah Mutsun Land Trust is helping revitalize Indigenous fire management techniques. Indigenous groups have been conducting controlled burning to mitigate wildfire risk for centuries. In Santa Cruz County, the Amah Mutsun Land Trust’s stewardship program has seen positive results from its cultural burning program—even during last year’s terrible fire. A grant from GlobalGiving’s 2020 fund will further this community-led effort and help make the county more fire resistant in the future. 

As we wrap up this round of grants for areas most impacted by the 2020 fires, we are already actively responding to fires raging across northern California.  If you would like to continue supporting our efforts, you can find us at our new California Wildfire Relief Fund. 

From a native Californian, thank you for your incredible generosity.

With Gratitude, 

Donna Callejon + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo from CFSCC
Photo from CFSCC

As the new year gets underway, it can be soothing to look only forward, especially after the doozy that was 2020. But for many in California, that luxury is fleeting. The now annual fire season brought the largest fire in recorded history, and for several weeks, a new fire erupted every day, displacing thousands. Near San Jose, the SCU Lightning Complex Fire burned uncontrolled for weeks before consuming nearly 400,000 acres of land. As structures went up in flames, the air quality reached dangerous levels just a few miles from the home I grew up in, and closer to the assisted living community where my dad still lives.  

Watching the reports of destruction and dislocation was terrifying and heart-wrenching.  

Just 30 miles west, the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire erupted in Santa Cruz County on August 17th and traveled along the peninsula that joins San Francisco to Monterey, where I spent many summer afternoons in the redwoods and near the coast. The fire forced businesses to close and families to evacuate from their homes—if they had homes. For a month, residents watched and waited as more than 86,500 acres and more than 1,500 structures burned. Thanks to your generosity, GlobalGiving was able to provide emergency funds to organizations responding to the immediate needs of impacted communities and those working to help ensure that the scorched forests might regenerate.

But nearly six months later, the nonprofits of Santa Cruz County are still working to assist individuals, families, and businesses who suffered devastating losses. This includes undocumented residents and hundreds of people experiencing homelessness who can’t access federal funding programs. The ongoing crisis comes on top of another ongoing crisis: COVID-19 and California’s recent case surge.

That’s why GlobalGiving is providing the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County (CFSCC) with a $50,000 grant from this fund. In August, the CFSCC mobilized immediately and has been, from its Fire Response Fund, allocating funds to local nonprofits responding to these dual crises. Here’s what your contribution will support with this new grant:

  • Continuing to support, in consultation with impacted community members, local nonprofits addressing unmet needs, particularly addressing gaps left by FEMA, insurance providers, and others with restrictive policies.
  • Determining the optimal approach for long-term recovery management. The Community Foundation has been bringing representatives of all impacted communities and service providers together, and this funding will help them continue to provide leadership as this process seeks to establish a “whole community” approach to long-term disaster recovery.

This is just one of many grants we will make in the coming months, as we support ongoing recovery from Mendocino to the Mexico border.  

Your generous support makes this work possible.  

With Gratitude,

Donna Callejon + the GlobalGiving Team

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Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen
Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen

As we take a moment to reflect during the most devastating fire season on record in the West, we are moved by your generosity during this difficult time. The fire season is far from over, but we thank you for responding immediately to the needs of Californians across my home state.

The first round of distributions from the California Wildfire Fund was sent at the end of August. During that time, the most critical needs were in the greater San Francisco Bay Area as the LNU, SCU, and CZU Complex fires were forcing families to flee their homes and calling upon first responders like never before.

Thanks to your support, these organizations are jumping into action:

  • World Central Kitchen is keeping first responders and impacted families fed. Our long-time partner was quick to mobilize across northern California and provide meals to first responders and those who lost their homes or livelihoods to the deadly flames. Partnering with local restaurants from Vacaville to Santa Cruz, these chefs and volunteers provided more than 30,000 meals to first responders and evacuees in the last two weeks of August.
  • Puente is ensuring rural community members are safe and sound. Puente serves the San Mateo County South Coast communities of Pescadero, La Honda, Loma Mar, and San Gregorio. Puente team members — many evacuees themselves — staffed evacuation centers, connected community members to resources, provided translation services, and delivered supplies and masks to farming communities. They continue to handle food distributions and COVID testing as families return home.
  • The Community Foundation Santa Cruz County is assisting local, community-led nonprofits. The nonprofit is making grants from its Fire Response Fund, based on the immediate and emerging needs of families and first responder organizations in Santa Cruz, Boulder Creek, and other severely impacted communities.

As the fire season rages on, GlobalGiving will continue to closely monitor the situation and keep you updated on additional opportunities to support the survivors of the California wildfires. We are committed to providing ongoing support to those most affected, long after the media moves on.

Your generous support makes this work possible. 

Thank you!

With Gratitude,
Donna Callejon + the GlobalGiving Team

Photo from The Community Foundation Santa Cruz
Photo from The Community Foundation Santa Cruz
Photo courtesy of Puente de la Costa Sur
Photo courtesy of Puente de la Costa Sur
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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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