Two weeks after the 6.4-magnitude quake and serious aftershocks struck Humboldt County — and with a series of winter storms now battering the region — Humboldt Area Foundation and Wild Rivers Community Foundation has seen an outpouring of support for people most impacted as donors and funders in the region and beyond step up to help their neighbors in the hardest-hit communities.
Contributions to HAF+WRCF’s Disaster Response & Resilience Fund resulted in 30 grants totaling more than $300,000 as of Jan. 5. This includes support for local Tribes and organizations providing emergency shelter, food and supplies to those whose homes suffered serious damage. Grants were also given to community resource centers and organizations specifically helping members of the queer community, non-English speakers, seniors, and others facing barriers to accessing resources.
“The needs of our most vulnerable residents impacted by the quake, aftershocks and now the storms, continue to change. We are grateful for the generous contributions from donors from Humboldt, Trinity and Del Norte counties, as well as those in Silicon Valley and throughout the state,” said Bryna Lipper, CEO of HAF+WRCF.
The quake struck one of the area’s most economically-distressed and low-income residents, with early reports of severe gaps in insurance and/or individual resources for reconstruction. The state of California has declared it a disaster, however formulas that typically trigger a FEMA declaration emergency for federal support are unlikely to be met because of property values in this context.
As word spread about the challenges that quake-rattled residents are facing, HAF+WRCF mobilized its network of philanthropic supporters, and new and existing donors responded by contributing to the organization’s Disaster Response & Resilience Fund, originally created to assist communities affected by recent wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. HAF+WRCF does not grant funds to individuals, but rather community organizations, government entities, tribal communities and businesses supporting individuals’ needs.
“We are taking funds into our Disaster Response and Resilience Fund with as few restrictions as possible, using our grantmaking priorities, values, and definitions of vulnerability and equity to make decisions,” said Laurel Dalsted, Donor Relations and Development Director at HAF+WRCF.
HAF+WRCF’s disaster grantmaking team, dubbed the Community Response Team, is meeting two to three times per week to determine how best to serve small, rural towns including Rio Dell, Fortuna, Ferndale, Loleta, Bear River Rancheria, and the Wiyot Tribe, where many residents and responders are still without housing, power, water, and internet and cell service.
“HAF+WRCF is grateful to all its individual donors and funding partners who acted quickly to help those in need,” Dalsted said.
Those partners include Sierra Health Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, National Philanthropic Trust, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Marin Community Foundation, Sacramento Region Community Foundation, Humboldt Health Foundation. Organization that helped elevate the need for support include Northern California Grantmakers, The Mendocino Community Foundation, and the League of California Community Foundations.
To donate to the Disaster Response & Resilience Fund or for information on eligibility and how organizations can submit a grant request visit: hafoundation.org/our-funds/disaster-response-resilience-fund/.