Hill & Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort

by Ventura County Community Foundation
Hill & Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort

The flames were still high on the mountains when support began to pour in.  Locally and from around the world, the generosity was overwhelming, and it was desperately needed.

Thanks to this support, Ventura County Community Foundation and our partners throughout the region have largely been able to address the immediate and short-term needs of fire victims.  Housing and essential household items, childcare, health care--resources for these and so many other needs were made available quickly and through careful coordination to ensure that no one was left out.

Our work is not yet complete, however.  We learned valuable lessons about how to prepare as the risk of wildfire only increases with the hotter and drier years.  VCCF along with nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, and other partners throughout the community are building on our collective knowledge, wisdom, infrastructure, and collaborative relationships to ensure that all residents receive comprehensive services in the aftermath of any disaster we may face.

We can do this work only because of the support of the community.  From all of us at Ventura County Community Foundation--thank you!

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Regrowth & renewal in the foothills
Regrowth & renewal in the foothills

One year ago, as Ventura County continued its recovery from the Thomas Fire and residents began to enjoy the mild early winter, no one could have known that another destructive wildfire event was poised to sweep the region.

When the Hill and Woolsey fires began, they moved with astonishing speed across hillsides, towns, and jumped multi-lane freeways.  When these fires were finally extinguished, Ventura County residents faced the multifaceted challenges of immediate disaster relief as well as the mid/long-term recovery needs of Thomas Fire victims.

The generosity of individuals and groups from all parts of the world was astounding.  Thousands of people gave financial support, held fundraising events, and worked tirelessly to ensure that resources and services reached everyone in need.

The staff and community partners of the Ventura County Community Foundation are grateful for this support, and the support that continues to be given for wildfire recovery.  The most immediate relief needs have been met while the long-term recovery of our most vulnerable community members continues in the areas of housing, employment, mental and physical health, and transportation.  As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Hill and Woolsey fires, we will continue to work toward the goal of complete recovery and resilience for all of our friends and neighbors in Ventura County.  With profound gratitude, we thank you for your support and your concern for the victims of the Hill and Woolsey fires.

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Only eight months have passed since the Hill and Woolsey fires burned across Ventura County and neighboring communities, and recovery work is ongoing for local residents and organizations. Due to the remarkable response of individual and organizational donors, the Sudden and Urgent Needs Fund was able to quickly receive and disburse more than $4 million in support of recovery for those affected by these natural disasters.

Eight months after the fires, in many ways we remain within the short-term recovery phase.  Many residents who lost their homes have been able to settle into stable, albeit temporary housing while the longer work continues, or has only just begun, of repairing and rebuilding homes. Local emergency and human services organizations experienced a surge in demand; the Sudden & Urgent Needs Effort was instrumental in enabling recipient organizations to meet immediate needs while continuing to provide their usual services in a sustainable way.

The Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort remains active in accepting contributions and disbursing funds. These funds are available for material and operational support, infrastructure, and staffing support to organizations in service to the overall health, wellbeing, and recovery of wildfire victims.  With profound gratitude, we recognize everyone who has contributed to the Hill & Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort, playing a vital role in helping our neighbors recover from their losses and injuries.

To hear more about Ventura County Community Foundation’s role in regional disaster relief, check out this July 2019 interview with VCCF Executive Director Vanessa Bechtel and Rob McCoy, mayor of Thousand Oaks: Watch Here

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Thank you for supporting our Hill & Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort. Below is an update that was originally written by the Salvation Army about funding we gave to them from the Sudden and Urgent Needs Fund. You can find a link to the full article on our website, vccf.org under our media/news tab: 

The Salvation Army received a $1,099,882 grant from the Ventura County Community Foundation to better assist those affected by the recent wildfires in Ventura County and Los Angeles County. The grant – the largest one-time gift awarded by the foundation to The Salvation Army – reflects a strong relationship with the Ventura County Community Foundation that has continued for 16 years.

“We are so thankful to be partnering with the Ventura County Community Foundation in our joint efforts to assist the survivors of the recent fires in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties,” said Lt. Col. John Chamness of The Salvation Army California South. “The Foundation’s generous gift will provide much needed help to bring our neighbors back home, safe and whole again.”

The grant will service a wide range of needs, including case management, housing assistance, utility assistance, food service, and guidance in navigating the available programs. This new influx of funding allows The Salvation Army to tailor the service and care to a fire survivor’s specific needs. The Woolsey and Hill fires raged across the region last November, destroying more than 1,600 structures and displacing thousands of individuals – many of whom, thanks to this grant, will get the help they need.

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Hill Fire/ Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort Update
 
The Ventura County Community Foundation granted another $1,487,042.69 at this week’s Board of Directors meeting, bringing the total grantmaking for Hill Fire/ Woolsey Fire to $2,612,363.69. Total grants awarded include:

  • $150,000 to the Pacific Coast and Ventura County Chapter of the American Red Cross (Red Cross) for an Emergency Response Vehicle
  • $115,000 to the Red Cross for Ventura County Recovery Coordination
  • $146,250 to the Red Cross for General Operations Support
  • $1,394 to Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship for Evacuation expenses for horses, additional staffing, fuel for trailers, stall cleaning   
  • $10,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley for expenses related to serving children during school closures, club clean-up, and counseling services              
  • $30,000 total to KCLU Public Radio (California Lutheran University) with $20,000 to replace damaged main transmitter and supporting equipment and an additional $10,000 for matching funds for the campaign to replace equipment, which they met
  • $5,000 to 805 Help to support their immediate response to bring online access to our community during the fires
  • $15,000 to Senior Concerns for adult daycare, meals and support for our community’s seniors who were evacuated and need care
  • $5,350 to Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association to help cover costs associated with evacuations of those on hospice
  • $7,000 to the Camarillo Boys & Girls Club to cover costs associated with emergency childcare needs due to school closures
  • $783,600 to the Southeast Ventura County YMCA with the first $445,000 going to provide individual assistance to families affected by the fires, $9,500 to cover costs associated with emergency childcare needs due to school closures, and the latest $329,100 to provide direct financial assistance for housing and other basic needs for 47 applicants; HOA fees for 16 mobile home residents; Y memberships for 25 fire-impacted families
  • $1,827 to Mark Watring Stables for the evacuation of 43 horses, hauling of feed and water supplies, and overtime
  • $25,000 to the Economic Development Collaborative for General Operations Support as they serve business owners impacted by the fires
  • $21,500 to Cal State Channel Islands Foundation to feed and house students evacuated by the fires
  • $500 to Cal Lutheran University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership to sponsor a free webinar entitled “Fundraising in Response to a Community Crisis”
  • $6,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Oxnard & Port Hueneme to help cover expenses related to serving children during school closures.
  • $5,000 to Fly-Hope Dream to cover flights for fire survivors
  • $10,000 to Little Angels Project to cover costs of veterinary care for injured animals
  • $16,000 to Lockwood Animal Rescue Center to provide lodging and basic needs for people and animals
  • $1,099,882.69 to Salvation Army to provide mid to long-term direct financial assistance for 800 individuals and families for housing, food, utility assistance and staffing to support case managers and additional basic needs support to those impacted
  • $155,560 to Totally Local VC Agricultural Education Foundation (Local Love Project) to provide direct financial assistance and case management to 131 individuals and families for housing, food, household expenses and staffing to support case management
  • $2,500 to LIFE Animal Rescue to replace fencing and lighting for the animal shelter
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Organization Information

Ventura County Community Foundation

Location: Camarillo, CA - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Claudia Raiti
Camarillo, CA United States

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