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California Wildfire Relief Fund

by GlobalGiving's Disaster Recovery Network
California Wildfire Relief Fund
Photo from IsraAid
Photo from IsraAid

While the worldwide pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have drastically impacted the entire GlobalGiving community, we’ve been hard at work listening to the needs of our partners and donors. The GlobalGiving Disaster Recovery Network recognizes that for communities already hard-hit by previous disasters and fighting to recover from damaged homes, lost wages, and ongoing trauma, the effects of the COVID-19 virus lockdown have been especially difficult. 

We reached out to our trusted nonprofit partners in California who have been attuned to the voices in their community long before the 2019 wildfires and are continuing to respond to the current crisis. Across the state, they are providing for vulnerable populations, filling the gaps in state funding, and preparing Californians for the upcoming 2020 wildfire season.

Your generous support of the 2019 California Wildfire Relief Fund enabled rapid response grants in support of community-led relief efforts immediately following the fires and extending to the ongoing pandemic. Take a closer look:

Protecting Our First Responders

LA firefighters work around the clock to keep Los Angelenos safe, risking their lives to fight back blazes threatening homes and showing up whenever their help is needed. Interacting daily with community members in dangerous situations, and in a line of work where practicing social distancing is difficult, these frontline responders need protection in order to continue protecting others. Thanks to your generous donation, we were able to distribute an emergency grant to the LA Fire Department Foundation to fill critical shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), access new supplies, and upgrade equipment in fire departments across the city. 

Standing with Students 

The California Community Foundation (CCF) understands that, for many families, schools often provide meals for children whose parents are struggling to put food on the table. Since students no longer receive free school meals as a result of campus closures, CCF is helping meet families’ needs with critical food assistance. CCF is also ensuring access to remote learning resources and technology upgrades to keep students from falling behind in their learning and to help both students and parents navigate virtual education.  

Helping Hospitals

In addition to supporting students and increasing the resources directed towards homeless shelters, CCF is helping community clinics and hospitals respond to increased patient flows. These health centers are treating sick patients, triaging those who have been exposed or in need of testing, and providing much needed emotional support to patients in quarantine.

These rapid response grants were made possible by the GlobalGiving community’s generous show of solidarity with California wildfire survivors, and this last round of funding marks the close of the 2019 California Wildfire Fund. While this is the final donor update you’ll be receiving, this is by no means the end of our work responding to the annual wildfires in California. In fact, our team is continuing to strengthen relationships with our on-the-ground partners as they prepare to respond to disasters, be it a wildfire or pandemic, while creating stronger, more resilient communities. 

From a native Californian, thank you! 

With Gratitude,

Andrea + the GlobalGiving Team 

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Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Ventura County
Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Ventura County

In the midst of a global pandemic, it can be difficult to remember the disasters that took place not long ago. The 2019 California Wildfire season devastated local communities. In addition to the flames, the state-wide electricity shut offs had a disproportionate impact on immigrants, low-income families, and persons with disabilities. 

Your generous support of the California Wildfire Relief Fund enabled first responders and local community-led nonprofits to not only provide immediate relief, but also to ignite the hard work of long-term recovery and building resilience—an incredibly important goal as residents affected by the wildfires now face the impacts of COVID-19 and another fast-approaching fire season. 

Here are a few highlights of how our partners have been hard at work: 

Northern California

The Kincade Fire burned through Sonoma County for more than two weeks, prompting the largest mass evacuation in the county’s fire season history. To the credit of many local nonprofits, various at-risk communities such as immigrant workers were able to receive life-saving information in their native languages. Thanks in part to your generosity, the Community Foundation of Sonoma County was also able to help displaced residents access food, stabilize their housing situations, and begin the recovery process when it was safe to return after the fire. 

Additionally, the United Way of the Wine Country paid close attention to the losses of families beyond damaged homes. The organization has focused on the subtle ways this crisis has left an impact, including the lost wages, loss of perishable food in the evacuation period, and the blow to small businesses. In the months since the fire, the United Way is ensuring that these trauma-affected communities know how to access recovery resources and are better prepared for upcoming fire seasons. 

Southern California

As a far-sweeping blaze drove thousands to evacuate from the dry hills overlooking the California coast, the Los Angeles Fire Foundation used an emergency grant from GlobalGiving to replace outdated safety gear and equipment as their network of firefighters responded to the encroaching fires. These new supplies are helping to fill a growing need to revamp response capabilities needed to keep communities safe. 

In a landscape dotted with ranches and small family farms, the Humane Society of Ventura County rescued hundreds of animals as residents evacuated fires across Ventura. From goats to horses, dogs, and birds, these animals were brought to safety with the help of a new trailer purchased with GlobalGiving donations such as yours. 

While all of us are currently experiencing a global crisis, the stories of local response and recovery efforts after disasters such as the California wildfires reflect the resilience of the human spirit, and show us just how far individual generosity and hope can go.

Thank you, as always, for supporting a community-led, long-term approach to disaster recovery.

With gratitude,

Andrea + the GlobalGiving Team 

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