When disaster strikes, it often brings with it an incredible outpouring of generosity. Empathy sparks action, and the world comes together to help. Following the steps below, you can increase the effectiveness of your donations to disaster relief efforts and maximize your impact on affected communities, whether in Los Angeles or around the world.
- Give money, not goods. Food and clothing drives can be gratifying, but they come with substantial burdens to the nonprofits involved. Receiving, sorting, transporting and distributing these require time and money that are in short supply in the wake of a disaster. By giving cash, the organization can receive your gift immediately and put it towards the most pressing needs of affected residents.
- Give to the organization, not the disaster. Donors always have the option of earmarking their gifts for use only on a specific project or relief effort. But by marking your gift as general operating support, you allow the organization to both respond to the current crisis and prepare for the next one.
- Take the long view. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, there is a huge influx of money and attention. But real recovery takes time, and relief needs continue long after the cameras are packed up and the media moves on. When you support organizations that focus on medium- and long-term efforts, you ensure that affected communities can not just survive but return to their full strength.
- Do your homework. The California Community Foundation vets all recommended organizations to ensure that donors can create the greatest impact with their gifts. When researching a potential recipient organization, tools like Guidestar and Charity Navigator allow you to learn about a charity’s finances and internal workings. This article from Forbes magazine provides useful information on how to evaluate the effectiveness of nonprofits.
Below you can find specific information on current disasters and ways that you can support relief and recovery efforts. To learn more, contact us at disaster [@] calfund [.] org.
Current Disaster Relief Efforts
Amid dry conditions and record high temperatures, the 2018 wildfire season has disrupted communities throughout Southern California. In Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, the Hill and Woolsey fires have set more than 100,000 acres ablaze, killing three and forcing close to 300,000 from their homes as mandatory evacuations were declared from Mailbu to Simi Valley. […]Learn More
Northern California has experienced a series of devastating wildfires in 2018, burning close to 1 million acres and threatening communities from Madera County to the Oregon border. Combined, these fires covered an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. In Butte County, the Camp Fire is now the most destructive fire in California history. […]Learn More
The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts. Since the Wildfire Relief Fund opened in 2003, we have raised $5 million to support relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of devastating California wildfires. Grants from the Wildfire Relief Fund have […]Learn More
In Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria obliterated the island’s power grid, leaving 3.4 million residents without power. Storm surges and flash flooding destroyed homes and other structures, killing dozens of residents and leaving many neighborhoods uninhabitable. Cell phone, landline and internet communication networks were almost entirely knocked out of commission. Experts estimate that some areas will be without electricity for up to six months. While rebuilding estimates are only beginning, it is clear that costs will be in the tens of billions, if not higherLearn More