The long and hard work of rebuilding communities shattered by catastrophic wildfire has gotten an important assist as California continues to rise from the ashes.
The California Fire Foundation is announcing the distribution of more than $3 million in grants to community organizations working on the ground to help rebuild and renew communities scarred by the 2017 and 2018 wildfires. The grants, ranging from $200,000 to $250,000, were funded by proceeds from “California Rises”, the January 8th benefit concert held to mark the inauguration of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Featuring name musical acts such as Common and Pitbull, “California Rises” was conceived by then Gov.-elect Newsom as a substitute for a more traditional inaugural gala. Through sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandise, the event netted more than $4.6 million for long-term wildfire recovery in areas hardest hit by the fires. The California Fire Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, was the fiduciary sponsor of the concert.
“As firefighters, we are part of the communities we are sworn to protect,” said Brian K. Rice, chair of the California Fire Foundation. “We appreciate the trust the governor showed in our Foundation to do right by the communities hit hardest by the effects of these catastrophic fires.”
The first phase of grants, totaling more than $3 million, targeted community foundations and other groups who have been working since the events of 2017 and 2018 to help those in affected areas help to rebuild their lives and recover from the devastation. Recipient organizations include:
- North Valley Community Foundation, supporting direct assistance for Camp Fire survivors and funding locally-based assistance;
- Butte County Office of Education, supporting mental and emotional counseling and wellness for children, teachers and families struck by the fire;
- Direct Relief, a statewide aid organization providing long-term health care support and emergency assistance for victims of all the fires;
- The California Community Foundation, which supports vulnerable communities hit hard by the Hill, Thomas and Woolsey Fires in Southern California;
- The Ventura County Community Foundation, providing housing and mental health support for surviving families;
- Shasta Regional Community Foundation, for gap and reconstruction funding after the Camp Fire;
An additional $1.5 million from California Rises will be combined with separate gifts to provide ongoing long-term recovery support that will include the fires that hit Northern and Southern California in 2019.
Created in 1987 by California Professional Firefighters, the California Fire Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial and economic support for fallen firefighter families, firefighters and the communities they protect.