Oct 8, 2017

Our response to the wildfires and how you can help

In response to the Napa County fires of October 2017, NVCF has activated the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance and critical services to those who live or work in Napa County and are suffering as a result of the Napa Fire Complex.

If you are looking to support the community of Paradise and surrounding areas affected by the Camp Fire, please visit North Valley Community Foundation’s Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund.

If you are a Napa County resident in need of assistance because of the Napa County October 2017 fires, click here.

About the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund

The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is managed by Napa Valley Community Foundation and was established with a $10 million lead gift from Napa Valley Vintners following the 2014 South Napa Earthquake.  After all phases of quake-related relief, recovery and rebuilding programs concluded in 2016, the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund had a balance of approximately $2.9 million, which was the starting point for current relief and recovery efforts for the Napa Fire Complex.  Since the Fund was re-activated on October 10, 2017, nearly $16 million has been contributed by 25,000 individual, corporate and foundation donors in California, the US and abroad.  Growers and vintners in Napa Valley have contributed significantly to assist those affected by the October wildfires, and their generosity has inspired their many friends, customers and partners to get involved, as well.  Thus far, more than $8 million has been distributed from the Fund.  These distributions have enabled 15,000 fire survivors to receive relief services like temporary housing, meals and medical care; and more than 2,200 households who suffered economic hardship as a result of the fires to receive direct cash assistance totaling nearly $3 million to-date.

About Area Median Income

In the first hours and days following a disaster, everyone who needs charitable assistance deserves to receive it, regardless of their level of income or wealth.  That’s why emergency shelters take care of evacuees from wealthy neighborhoods and low-income neighborhoods alike.  However, as time passes and days turn into weeks, IRS rules require charities like NVCF to assess the financial resources survivors may have at their disposal to assist in their own recovery – such as private insurance, savings or access to government disaster aid dollars.  For this reason, and because NVCF believes strongly in the equitable distribution of disaster aid resources, eligibility for cash aid and re-housing programs from the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund is currently capped at 120 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).  Please see page 9 of the document available for download here to learn more about AMI for families of different sizes in Napa County.

Timeline of Disaster Relief Fund Activities

NVCF believes that disaster recovery work is short-term, intermediate-term and long-term, and we are here for the long haul. We believe in partnering with trusted nonprofits and generous donors to address the gaps that emerge; and in supporting nonprofits to do this important work that requires tremendous effort and focus. We believe in transparency and collaboration.  And, we believe that in helping others, we balance compassion with due diligence to ensure fairness.

Within 48 hours after the fires started, we began convening decision-makers from the nonprofit sector and local government to assess urgent needs, identify short term gaps and gather information that will inform longer-term recovery efforts. NVCF is doing this work in collaboration with Napa Valley Community Organizations Active in Disaster (aka, Napa  Valley COAD), a grouping of community service organizations brought together by the Foundation following the South Napa Earthquake to improve coordination and communication among nonprofits — and between local government agencies, the charitable sector, faith communities and the private sector — following a disaster. Read more in our October 10 press release here.

On October 13, 2017, the Foundation distributed immediate response grants to a targeted list of local nonprofits that were pre-approved to receive such grants following the 2014 earthquake.  All of these nonprofits received intensive technical assistance from NVCF to boost their capacity to respond to events such as the Napa Fire Complex. The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund’s pre-qualified grants to nonprofits have been providing immediate relief and recovery services to those affected.  These services may include: food; shelter; childcare; transportation; health and mental health; resource/referral and case management; legal/advocacy services; and, human and social services. Read more in our October 13 press release here.

On October 15, 2017, the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund funded and coordinated nonprofit partners to begin providing a host of relief services at the Local Assistance Center (LAC), including: gift card distribution for emergency needs; food distribution; cleaning supplies; mental health; intake for emergency financial assistance; and, other wraparound case management services.

On October 27, 2017 the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund began distributions from its Disaster Relief Fund totaling $3 million to help local workers facing serious financial hardships because of the economic slow-down brought about by the devastating fires of recent weeks in Napa Valley. Cash aid is now available for low-to-moderate income Napa County workers who need financial assistance, as a result of the fires, to help pay for: rent or security deposits; utility and phone bills; auto loans; childcare; or healthcare expenditures. At this time, the Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) program is taking applications until November 9. Read more in the October 27 press release here.

Emergency Financial Assistance currently was extended to December 15, 2017.  Read the November 22 press release here.

In response to the emergent and continued need of Napa County residents who were made homeless as a result of the fires, or face economic hardship because of the temporary slow-down of the viticulture and hospitality economy in the region, NVCF has launched a pop-up recovery center to help.  The Napa Fire Recovery Center– located at 3299 Claremont Way, Suite 8, in Napa –  is offering re-housing services and financial assistance to individuals who live or work in Napa County; earn up to 120 percent of Area Median Income; and have not received sufficient support from private insurance, government aid programs or other sources.   For more details, read the January 25 press release here.

On April 18, 2018, NVCF launched a program to help small businesses in Napa County that applied for a disaster loan from the Small Business Association (SBA) because of the October wildfires, but were declined. Grants of $2,500 to $20,000 will be awarded to approved applicants for economic injury or physical losses stemming from the Napa wildfires in October 2017.  These grants are intended to help small businesses impacted by the October wildfires get back up and running; replace lost inventory, furniture, fixtures and equipment; and meet short-term obligations like payroll or rent. The program is a partnership between the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Working Solutions. For more information, read the May 1 press release here.

On June 15, 2018, NVCF launched a program to assist eligible homeowners and renters in Napa County affected by the October wildfires. The Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund will provide cash grants to assist certain homeowners and renters whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the October wildfires with repairing homes, rebuilding homes and replacing contents. To read the June 21 press release, click here. For full eligibility criteria or to apply, click here.

On October 2, 2018, NVCF released a press release detailing progress to-date, and on October 8, 2018 — the one year anniversary of the start of the fires — NVCF published a Report to the Community.

Tax-deductible contributions to the Fund are welcome in any amount.  Please click here to make a gift. Before contacting our office, please read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about donating to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, available here.  Thank you for your support.

About Napa Valley Community Foundation

Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) helps donors transform their passion for giving into greater impact. Now celebrating 24 years of service to Napa Valley, NVCF has served as a bridge between philanthropic families and hard-working nonprofit agencies since 1994, bringing people, ideas and resources together to enhance the quality of life in our community. From American Canyon to Calistoga, NVCF has distributed more than $50 million in grants since it was founded, and currently serves as the philanthropic partner to 100 individuals, families, nonprofit agencies and corporations in Napa Valley.  To learn more, please visit www.napavalleycf.org.



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