Natural disasters are widespread and devastating. Unfortunately, response and relief efforts take time. It can take days and weeks to fully assess the situation; and a month later, the priorities may look very different. In fact, some of the greatest need may be several months after the disaster occurs, as first responders have moved on from the initial relief efforts. Recovery is a long-term process.

As you consider what can be done to support victims of the California wildfires, you might ask these questions:

  • What are the greatest needs of the affected communities?
  • Is the organization you might support on the ground at the disaster site or are they partnering with a local organization?
  • What are the organization’s core competencies: medical, logistics, search/rescue/recovery, food, housing, education, resettlement, etc.? And, do those capabilities match the greatest needs created by this particular disaster?
  • Do these capabilities align with your foundation’s priorities?

Here are some resources that your foundation might find helpful in assessing the needs and key actors in particular disasters and communities:

Fires Devastate California: What Can Foundation Source Clients Do to Help?

Fires in Northern and Southern California are raging and causing devastation throughout two different regions. The Camp Fire has been declared the deadliest fire in California’s modern history. Fire control and evacuation efforts are underway and first responders are on the ground with others to follow. Currently, cash support from private foundations and individual donors is much needed. While it can be hard to look ahead when the urgent needs are still unmet, as with all disasters, it is also important to think about the long term recovery process.

Foundation Source clients may want to consider a two-pronged approach: give now to help the first responders; check back in soon to identify ways in which your foundation can provide support for the long term recovery needs. The latter will unfold over the next several weeks.

Below please find some resources regarding the fires:

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: California Fires

Charity Navigator: Relief for the California Wildfires

Northern California Grantmakers

New York Times: How to Help Those Affected by the California Fires

San Francisco Chronicle: How to Help Victims of the Camp Fire in Butte County

laist: How You Can Help Those Affected by the Southern California Wildfires

General Resources for Disaster Relief

Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Relief Web

InterAction