2020 California Wildfire Response

Overview Philanthropy California Response


Philanthropy California is an alliance of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego Grantmakers.
This website provides essential information about how funders can help during this fire season.  

Philanthropy California is working with key state and local partners to monitor these various fires, compiling vetted funds, resources, and events on this response page. Please visit our Government Partner website, CalVolunteers for more, information about how you can help and prepare for wildfires.


Philanthropy California is deploying its deep work in disaster resilience efforts toward:
  • Sharing: What’s needed now, emerging issues, where funders can make the most of their contributions
  • Publicizing: Trusted funds for relief and recovery
  • Advising: How best to meet short and long-term needs
  • Connecting: Funders, government partners, and organizations active in responding to the disaster
  • Supporting: Funders with tools, connections, and expertise
If you have questions about Philanthropy California's Wildfire Response, please contact Alan Kwok, Director of Disaster Resilience at akwok@ncg.org.



Operational Status

Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego Grantmakers are fully operational.



Overview of the Historic 2020 California Wildfire Season

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, as of September  9, there have been 7,606 wildfires in California, burning 2,277,922 acres. There have been eight fatalities and over 3,800 structures destroyed. Today approximately 14,000 firefighters are battling 28 major wildfires across California.  


To learn ways to be prepared and protect everyone in your family, visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.  


For the latest information on California statewide fires, please visit the CalFire website.


Critical Needs

  • Immediate needs include shelter, food, evacuation support, family reconnection, wage replacements, health care, and case management. Due to COVID-19, evacuation supports will require additional resources to accommodate non-congregate housing.
  • Recovery needs for each wildfire area vary, but attention should be given to long-term support for rehousing, income recovery, agricultural needs, and additional preparedness support to vulnerable populations. Due to the continuing threat of fire combined with the stress of the pandemic, there will be a significant demand for mental health and counseling services.
  • Many of the areas with fires are critical agricultural communities where laborers are often migrant workers or undocumented individuals. Many of them are impacted economically due to wildfire evacuations or temporary closure of work sites. Support and information need to be provided in the appropriate languages and with cultural competency.
  • As with most disasters, cash donations are recommended by disaster experts as they allow for on-the-ground agencies to direct funds to the greatest area of need, support economic recovery and ensure donation management does not detract from disaster recovery needs.
  • Many firefighters are volunteers and responding to a fire could result in a loss of their primary income source, so support is needed to support their basic needs.
The Philanthropy California team vetted the list of response funds below to help you direct resources to the most impacted communities.


You can filter the list based on region and beneficiary. We hope that it will assist in taking rapid action to support families, businesses, community-based organizations, and others during this crisis.

Center for Disaster Philanthropy: California Wildfires Recovery Fund

With an emphasis on recovery, this fund targets and supports vulnerable populations and communities disproportionately affected by disasters, identifies and fills in gaps where public resources are unavailable or scarce, gives locally, and prioritizes grants to small nonprofits and community groups, and builds and supports collaborative relationships among donors.


California Fire Foundation: Disaster Relief Programs

The California Fire Foundation administers a variety of programs that provide assistance to the victims, firefighters, and communities that are affected by natural disaster. These programs support critical needs of those touched by natural disaster — from immediate assistance to long-term recovery.


Community Foundation for Monterey County: Fire Relief Fund

The Community Foundation for Monterey County (CFMC) created the Monterey County Fire Relief Fund to assist communities affected by current and future fires including the #RiverFire #CarmelFire and #DolanFire. The River Fire, south of Salinas, began August 16, 2020 in the hills near Mt. Toro. The Carmel Fire started in the Cachagua area of Carmel Valley on August 18, 2020, and the Dolan Fire in Big Sur began August 18, 2020. Donations to the fund will support both immediate relief and recovery efforts.


Community Foundation of the North State: Happy Camp Relief Fund

The Happy Camp community and surrounding areas have been and continue to be severely impacted by the Slater Fire. With an estimated 150 homes already lost, the need is significant. Relief and recovery will be key to supporting those who have lost so much.

The Happy Camp Relief Fund has been enabled to receive donations for those impacted by the Slater Fire. Donations to this Fund will provide immediate, mid and long term support to those individuals, nonprofits, and community entities that have experienced great loss. Contributions from individual donors, corporations, and foundations can be accepted.


Community Foundation Santa Cruz County: Fire Response Fund

Donations to the fund will be distributed to nonprofit agencies and organizations directly assisting individuals to meet needs as they arise.


Community Foundation Sonoma County: Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund supports long-term recovery efforts from wildfires and other natural hazards.


DirectRelief: California Fire Relief

During fire responses, Direct Relief provides N-95 masks, medicine, and other resources to healthcare agencies and first responders in wildfire-affected communities across California.


Entertainment Industry Foundation: Fire Relief Fund

This fund supports firefighters, first responders, and communities impacted by wildfires throughout North America. Your gift will benefit the brave firefighters keeping our neighborhoods safe as well as the most vulnerable families who have suffered extreme loss in the fires.


GlobalGiving: California Wildfire Relief Fund

This fund will support firefighters and get emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine to people in need. The fund will remain open to provide long-term assistance. As the location and severity of the fires fluctuate, so will our response to ensure aid gets where it is most needed. All donations to this fund will exclusively support communities impacted by wildfires.


Humboldt Area Foundation & Wild Rivers Community Foundation: Disaster Response & Resilience Fund

The Disaster Response & Resilience Fund supports residents of Humboldt, Trinity, Del Norte, and Curry counties, as well as adjoining Tribal lands during current and future disasters, including fires, earthquakes, flooding, and other natural and man-made disasters. Grants are made to nonprofit agencies, public benefit organizations (schools, government agencies, federally recognized Tribes, etc.), charitable organizations and groups with a qualified fiscal sponsor. There is no written application process, and we strive to have funds in place for both immediate disaster response and to help communities become more resilient in the face of future disasters.


Latino Community Foundation: Wildfire Relief Fund

Contributions to this fund support Latino-led organizations responding to the immediate needs of Latino and farmworker families impacted by the current wildfires across all the state of California. Funding provides emergency food and financial assistance, rapid rehousing, and relief and recovery support to low-income, undocumented, Latino and indigenous workers and families.


League of California Community Foundations: Disaster Relief, Recovery And Resilience Fund

The League of California Community Foundations has established a fund to provide a centralized opportunity for funders to invest in disaster resilience and response through community foundations – trusted intermediaries who are deeply connected to affected communities. 
The Disaster Relief, Recovery, and Resilience Fund will support the response to, recovery from, and resilience to natural hazard events for communities across the state of California. A key focus area of the fund is supporting resilience through disaster prevention, mitigation, and preparedness, in addition to disaster relief and recovery. 


Napa Valley Community Foundation: 2020 Napa County Wildfire Fund

This fund focuses on organizations providing services such as medical care, counseling, temporary shelter and meals to the individuals and families affected by the fires


North Valley Community Foundation: Wildfire Relief and Recovery Fund

This fund provides emergency relief and support to North State communities affected by wildfires in Butte, Colusa, Glenn, and Tehama counties. This fund exists to raise money to support nonprofits and agencies providing immediate assistance to evacuees, animals and others impacted by fires in impacted areas.


San Diego Foundation: San Diego Regional Disaster Fund

The San Diego Foundation has activated the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund to collect and manage charitable funds for response and recovery from the Valley Wildfire currently impacting the Japatul Valley, Carveacre, Lawson Valley, Wood Valley, Lyons Valley and Deer Horn Valley southeast of Alpine in San Diego County. 

The fund will receive donations and make grants to nonprofit organizations engaged in disaster response, recovery and rebuilding. Funds granted through the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund will be based on a community needs assessment that leverages third party data, research and analysis to determine where the greatest needs are within the impacted area of the region.


Silicon Valley Community Foundation: San Mateo & Santa Clara County Fire Relief Fund

This fund supports nonprofit organizations based in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties that are working directly with individuals and families who have been harmed by this disaster.


Solano Community Foundation: Solano Disaster Relief Fund

The Solano Disaster Relief Fund was established to support recovery and rebuilding efforts. After the initial frenzy, chaos, and loss caused by devastating disaster passes, the relief and recovery stages begin. Grants from this Fund will help nonprofits provide direct services and financial assistance to individuals and families.


UndocuFund: Disaster relief in Sonoma County

We are working to care for and protect our community, and we are expanding our work to assist victims of the LNU Complex Fires. This is in addition to the assistance for those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which we have been assisting since we decided to re-activate Undocufund in March. Many of our undocumented community members work in temporary or low-wage jobs, without access to sick leave, unemployment or the ability to work remotely. Immigrants, many of them undocumented, do essential work that sustains us all. It remains unclear whether national relief plans will include immigrants in their plans for support. We cannot wait to take action. Your support for UndocuFund will provide relief and support to undocumented families and individuals. Please donate as generously as you can.


United Way Bay Area: Greater Bay Area Central Coast Wildfire Relief Fund

This fund addresses the immediate needs of impacted individuals and families, including providing housing assistance (vouchers or cash), cash assistance to displaced families, and other needs. Participating United Ways in this fund includes:

  • Monterey: United Way of Monterey County
  • Santa Cruz: United Way of Santa Cruz County
  • Bay Area: United Way Bay Area, serving the 8-county Bay Area (Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Solano, Napa)
  • Wine Country: United Way of the Wine Country, serving Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino and Humboldt counties


United Way of Northern California: Wildfire Recovery & Disaster Relief

Several wildfires have ravaged Northern California over the past few years. United Way of Northern California is accepting donations, offering help and supporting programs to assist with relief and long-term recovery operations. We provided emergency cash grants to those who lost their homes in the 2018 wildfires and assisted nonprofit partners in their provision of direct services to survivors. We’re also continuing to provide help for survivors through our mid- to long-term wildfire recovery programs. 


United Way of Northern California: Wildfire Recovery & Disaster Relief

Several wildfires have ravaged Northern California over the past few years. United Way of Northern California is accepting donations, offering help and supporting programs to assist with relief and long-term recovery operations. The fund provide emergency cash grants to those who lost their homes  and assist nonprofit partners in their provision of direct services to survivors. It also provides help for survivors through our mid- to long-term wildfire recovery programs.


Women's Foundation of California: Relief and Resilience Fund

California is on fire. As we continue to battle a global pandemic and unrelenting violent acts of racism, these fires are not only devastating to our environment, they’re devastating our communities. The Women’s Foundation California is dedicated to meeting the needs of this moment, and the California fires are no exception.

We’re facing this head-on and know that each of these issues is not happening in isolation. Our Relief and Resilience Fund is grounded in an intersectional approach to address the racial, economic, and gender disparities only exacerbated by this disaster. Supporting those most at risk including cisgender, trans women and gender nonconforming people, families living in poverty, people of color, elders, undocumented individuals, differently abled people, and those affected by gender-based violence, we’re protecting all of us. 

By building resilient communities, we can create real structural changes in California. WFC is committed to investing in creative interventions and solutions to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. This month, we increased our support to women and women of color-led organizations providing direct relief in response to these fires and creating environmental justice policy for the future.


Philanthropic Opportunities in Addressing Hazard Mitigation


Philanthropy California and our partners hosted a virtual series aimed at funders interested in wildfire resilience and how it intersects with public health, equity, and climate change.





Is 2020 Over? Responding to Multiple Disasters Amid COVID-19 and Climate Change


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2020, 3:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM PT

In this webinar, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy team will reflect on lessons learned, challenges, and opportunities presented by different disasters – particularly wildfires, hurricanes, and the derecho – and how COVID-19 has framed the response. .





Philanthropic Alignment and Priorities: Community Development Block Grant Mitigation 


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2020, 1:00 - 2:00 PM PST

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s International and Philanthropic Affairs Division would like to invite you to join an upcoming Funders Call on Disaster Recovery with Janet Golrick, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs, Office of Community Development and Planning (CPD), and Tennille Smith Parker, Director of CPD’s Disaster Recovery and Special Issues Division (DRSI).  
The Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program is a unique and significant opportunity for eligible grantees to use this assistance in areas impacted by recent disasters to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to mitigate disaster risks and reduce future losses. Congress appropriated $12 billion in CDBG funds in February 2018 specifically for mitigation activities for qualifying disasters in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and HUD was able to allocate an additional $3.9 billion, bringing the amount available for mitigation to nearly $16 billion. As many of the grantees of CDBG-MIT reach the implementation stage, this funders-only call will provide an opportunity to hear more about and discuss HUD’s mitigation and resilience work with Janet Golrick, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs and Tennille Smith Parker, Director.
Please RSVP to Katie Marinari at Katherine.C.Marinari@hud.gov by Friday, September 18, 2020. To ensure we are addressing the priorities of our philanthropic partners, we welcome you to submit questions along with your RSVP. Call-in details will be sent to all registered participants in a follow-up e-mail. If you have any clarifying questions, please contact Katie Marinari. 

Disaster Relief Guide

You'll find support for business assistance, capital programs, cybersecurity for business, and additional resources.





Guide to Disaster Assistance Services

The State of California’s Guide to Disaster Assistance Services for Immigrant Californians provides information on health, housing, emergency supplies, employment and other services available to all Californians, regardless of their immigration status.





California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services connects residents with a wide range of services and programs targeted specifically at those who have been affected by wildfires.





Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters

VOAD associations improve outcomes for people affected by disasters by facilitating cooperation, communication, coordination, and collaboration among nonprofit organizations, community-based groups, government agencies, and for-profit companies.



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