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
Dorian made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane on September 1, 2019 then lingered, pummeling the northern islands of the Bahamian archipelago for more than three days. The majority of homes on Abaco Islands have been destroyed. More causalities are expected as flooding continues in the region. There is deep concern for the Abaco Islands, […]Learn More
After a late start following a wetter-than-usual spring, the 2019 Wildfire Season has burned more than 11,000 acres throughout Southern California. San Luis Obispo County has seen the most damage, with six large fires springing to life in early June. This year follows one of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire seasons, in which […]Learn More
After a cool, wet spring, the 2019 Wildfire Season Northern California has kicked into high gear, with more than 100 wildfires scorching more than 40,000 acres. The largest fire so is Modoc County’s Tucker Fire, which burned more than 14,000 acres. This year follows the worst wildfire season in Northern California history, burning close to […]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 granted more than $11 million to support relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of devastating California wildfires. Grants from the Wildfire Relief […]Learn More
In 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, in what is now recognized as one of the most destructive natural disasters in U.S. history. The official death toll was just under 3,000, with damages estimated at up to $95 billion. Find out how you can help.Learn More