While the devastating impacts of the Thomas Fire are beginning to be realized, the Ventura County Community Foundation awarded more than $1 million to Ventura County nonprofits in response to emergency needs as a result of the fire. As the foundation is responding to emergency needs, it will continue to focus on fundraising for mid- to long-term support.
Within the first 24 hours of the Thomas Fire, VCCF committed $477,000 to support relief efforts, making grants to the American Red Cross Central Coast Region for $264,440, the Salvation Army for $160,388 and the Ventura County Community Disaster Relief Fund in the amount of $52,172. Later that same week, the VCCF Board of Directors committed another $200,000 toward overall relief efforts with an emphasis on mid- to long-term support. VCCF funders, the Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation, approved a $100,000 grant to the American Red Cross Central Coast Region.
As fundraising efforts continue, the VCCF board has approved another $305,473 to help address some of the immediate needs of local nonprofit organizations. Grants made include support for the efforts of Help of Ojai for basic needs and family assistance, MICOP for radio antenna replacement and health outreach for farmworkers, Habitat for Humanity for housing assistance for those affected by the fires, FOODShare for transportation and food sorting for shelters, Thomasfirehelp.com which has helped 51,000 individuals connect together and facilitate needs caused by the disaster.
Funds were also awarded to Ventura College Foundation for support of low-income single parents who are students who lost income due to the fire, Rubicon Theatre for mandatory cleaning in response to the Thomas Fire, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme to cover increased costs of childcare due to school closures, Center for Nonprofit Leadership to cover the costs of convening nonprofit organizations to enhance collaboration during the recovery period, Humane Society of Ventura County to cover vet bills and staff supplies as a result of the Thomas Fire, and the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation to cover dog boarding expenses and clean-up efforts from the Thomas Fire.
“Our local nonprofits are on the front lines of relief and recover efforts. Their resources are strained and staff stressed as they provide an increased level of critical services across the county,” said Vanessa Bechtel, CEO of the VCCF.
All donations to the VCCF Sudden and Urgent Needs Fund are directly applied 100 percent to supporting nonprofits who are providing direct services to those impacted by the fires. Donations to the fund can be made at www.vccf.org. In addition, the VCCF is accepting applications for the SUN Fund (Sudden and Urgent Needs), with roughly $50,000 left to award. Applications can be downloaded directly from their website, www.vccf.org.
The foundation was established in 1987 and endeavors to build philanthropy in the region and to give generously for the well-being of all in Ventura County. VCCF invests in the future through scholarships, grant making and collaborative partnerships. For more information or to donate, visit www.vccf.org.