Thank you donors and funders

HAF & WRCF offers our deep gratitude to the many donors and funders whose unparalleled generosity supported the underserved communities throughout our four-county region in 2023. Here are a few highlights of the good work.

Disaster Response & Resilience

The Disaster Response & Resilience Fund (DRRF) was created in 2020 to help communities respond to, recover from, and make communities more resilient to public health crises and natural disasters. DRRF grants are made to eligible nonprofit agencies, public benefit organizations (schools, government agencies, federally recognized Tribes, etc.), charitable organizations and groups working with a qualified fiscal sponsor. Because of long-term planning, HAF+WRCF and its community partners, funders and donors were able to respond immediately to earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters that occurred in Humboldt, Trinity, Curry and Del Norte counties in 2022-23. Additionally, we were able to support the Karuk Tribe, in Siskiyou County, that was responding to and recovering from wildfires and adverse storm events on overlapping Tribal lands.

On December 20, 2022, Humboldt County was hit with a magnitude 6.4 earthquake. Named the “Ferndale earthquake,” this temblor, along with a massive aftershock on New Year’s Day, inflicted severe structural and infrastructure damage to the city of Rio Dell and the surrounding Eel River Valley communities. Our Community Response Team (CRT) immediately went to work making emergency grants to the volunteer fire department and other non-profits and agencies assisting residents affected by the disaster.

Donations from donors and philanthropic partners poured into the DRRF to help our community respond to the earthquake damage and coinciding severe winter storm events. By March 2023, HAF+WRCF announced that $1.2 million was set aside to assist with long-term disaster recovery process—the same time that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declined to make a disaster declaration for the Ferndale-based earthquake. Thanks to generous donors and philanthropic partners, the Foundation has been able to support important partnerships to bolster residents affected by regional disasters.

Redwood Region Climate & Community Resilience (CORE) Hub

The 2022-23 fiscal year was a time of great growth and impact for the Redwood Region Climate & Community Resilience Hub (CORE Hub), a new program incubated by HAF+WRCF. The CORE Hub has made major strides in convening diverse communities and representatives, and marshaling their power for public policies that will advance climate resilience, social equity, sustainable economic development, and meaningful Tribal and community engagement.

In 2022, regional partners and community members convened by the CORE Hub advocated for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management (BOEM) to incorporate unprecedented revenue-sharing with offshore wind host communities. The CORE Hub pulled together public comments from five Tribal Nations, 12 representatives of community organizations and institutions, and six representatives of local governments, districts and agencies. The process culminated in December 2022, when the BOEM responded to the CORE Hub’s advocacy by incorporating 5% bid credits for a community benefits agreement with fisheries users, 5% for a general community benefits agreement, and 20% for workforce and domestic supply chain investments, into its ocean leases with RWE Offshore Wind Holdings and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners/California North Floating/Vineyard Wind.

Throughout 2022, the CORE Hub actively participated in the California Energy Commission’s Offshore Wind Energy Development and gigawatt planning processes, as well as engaged with the offices of California Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood to share our vision and recommendations for developing offshore wind on the North Coast in a sustainable way. In May 2023, a CORE Hub delegation visited Washington D.C. to meet with leading White House officials on President Biden’s climate and infrastructure agenda, federal agencies like the U.S. Treasury and other issue experts and thought leaders to encourage innovative models of community benefits, Tribal leadership, and place-based climate policies.

In July and August 2023, the CORE Hub quickly mobilized around the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review process of the offshore wind marine terminal. The CORE Hub organized dozens of meetings, hosted two spokesperson training sessions, organized turnout and testimony at the Humboldt Bay Harbor District’s public meeting, and submitted unified official public comments. The key messages expressed and elevated during these activities were the need for community benefits and commitments such as a clean, zero-emissions wind terminal by 2030, protections to minimize harms to Tribal, commercial and recreational fisheries, environmental safeguards and monitoring, investments in good jobs, training programs, educational opportunities and local and targeted hiring of marginalized workers, and funds as well as commitments to address vital community infrastructure needs and to provide meaningful Tribal economic benefits. 

The CORE Hub also offered support, grants, and technical assistance to Indigenous leaders including the Yurok Tribe to advocate for several specific community benefits and protections to prevent sexual violence, human trafficking, and other community safety risks stemming from offshore wind development that could worsen the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP).  

Just Economy and Economic Development

HAF+WRCF is dedicated to fostering community and economic development strategies that create opportunities for people to lead dignified, productive and creative lives free of poverty and exploitation. 

In 2023, HAF+WRCF’s Just Economy team advised the North Coast Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and its allies, Black Humboldt and Centro del Pueblo, as they developed a Thriving BIPOC Entrepreneurship Program. The three-part program comprises a survey, a focus group, and a learning program. The survey’s 47 questions called on local entrepreneurs to share detailed reflections on their family economic history and lives, business goals and needs, and an honest assessment of what it’s like to be a BIPOC business owner in this region. This was used as a departure point for discussion during August’s “Let’s Keep it Real” BIPOC business focus group brunch. These built up to a fall group coaching and skill building program offered through the North Coast SBDC, a critical offering given how much of the region’s economy is supported through small, independently owned businesses.

HAF+WRCF and our regional community development financing leader, Arcata Economic Development Corporation (AEDC, which serves six counties), are leveraging a major grant from The California Endowment to increase public resources to address complex community challenges and build regional partnerships in Humboldt, Del Norte, and Trinity counties. This capacity building work is being done through a lens of racial equity, with a focus on climate resilience and economic justice. Thanks to this project, AEDC secured $5 million through the California Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) and $500,000 from the national CDFI Equitable Recovery Program for our region. AEDC’s Executive Director continues to participate in the California Small Business Coalition for Racial Justice, which supports community lenders who wish to prioritize racial justice in lending and advocacy.

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