Joining Together for Wildfire Recovery

June 4, 2018

Photo: Timo Newton-Syms

Standing among the trees on a cool Ojai morning, it’s hard to believe this is the same place. Just six months ago, this mountainside town was nearly surrounded by a wall of flames. Residents evacuated to shelters while brave firefighters worked tirelessly to stop the blaze.

This past December, communities in Santa Barbara & Ventura Counties were left reeling by the largest wildfire in modern California history. More than a thousand structures were completely destroyed, and 100,000 residents were forced to flee their homes. But even as the fires were extinguished, a spark was lit. In their wake came an incredible outpouring of generosity. People from all over the country reached out and gave through CCF’s Wildfire Relief Fund to help those affected by the fires.

The gifts came in all sizes. A vacation company in Honolulu hosted a staff bake sale that raised $700. A middle school in Georgia gave $250. They raised money through professional concerts and high school talent competitions, small-town fundraisers and big-city fashion shows. Companies like Amgen, Peet’s Coffee, Guardian Life Insurance, Banc of California and many others gladly shared their resources to help wildfire victims rebuild, recover and restore.

Their generosity, along with a $100,000 grant from the California Community Foundation, allowed our Wildfire Relief Fund to give $450,000 to help support organizations like Help of Ojai, who works to provide shelter, supplies and support to individuals and families who have been displaced by the fires. By working closely with local experts and nonprofits, the fund was able to ensure these funds will make the maximum impact on those who need it most.

In Ojai, and Montecito, in Ventura and Santa Barbara, the recovery is only just beginning. The process takes time, effort and commitment. With the giving spirit of so many supporting them, these communities will not just rebuild, but rebound.

Wildfire Relief Fund 
Since 2003, CCF’s Wildfire Relief Fund has granted nearly $4 million to support relief and efforts in the aftermath of devastating California wildfires. Grants from the fund support immediate needs while also addressing intermediate- and long-term recovery, ensuring that residents and communities are able to recover and thrive. To learn more about the fund and help communities affected by the Thomas Fire, visit calfund.org/wildfire

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