Disaster Relief Fund Spurs Widespread Cooperation

A $100,000 donation from the Amador Community Foundation (ACF) to the Calaveras Community Foundation’s (CCF’s) Disaster Relief Fund is a prime example of how the response to the devastation of the Butte Fire has fostered increased cooperation between the diverse organizations of the Motherlode.

“We are very gratified, and frankly a little surprised, at the number of individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations that have used our fund to channel their efforts to respond to the needs of the people who have suffered and to mitigate the effects of the fire,” says Brent Harrington, CCF Treasurer. “We feel confident that the relationships established, and enhanced, will be a benefit for our area in the years to come.”

The money from the ACF is a case in point.

“Even though this terrible fire started in our county, the damage caused was much greater in Calaveras,” states Kathleen Harmon, ACF’s Executive Director. “People in Amador were so generous in response to our appeals that we raised an abundance of money. We felt it was only right to share these donations with our neighboring county and ease it’s burden. That’s what good neighbors do.”

The Disaster Relief Fund was established during the early stages of the fire. Its purpose is to use the donations to strategically help fire victims in ways that FEMA, state and county governments, insurance companies or large non-profit organizations are not.

“As we were establishing the fund we received very valuable advice from the Sonora Area Foundation (SAF) that had responded to a similar disaster,” states Harrington. “It is always good to benefit from the experience of others and the folks at SAF were more than helpful. This is another example of cooperation beyond borders.”

Harrington praises the local and regional media for helping spread the word about the recovery efforts. He points out that widespread news coverage must be the reason the fund is receiving donations from individuals and groups from throughout the state and beyond.

A prime example of the creative fundraising that has taken place was the Phoenix Festival held November 1 at Ironstone Vineyards.
The daylong family oriented event featured a full lineup of local bands, vendors and other attractions. As a result, approximately $22,000 was added to the CCF’s fund

“The organizers were a group of young men and women who knew they wanted to do something to respond to the needs created by the fire,” says Barbara White, a CCF Board member who worked with the group throughout the planning and implementation of the event. “They tossed around several ideas, recruited a lot of help, and ended up with a very successful event. They were pleased that the Foundation had created its Disaster Relief Fund because it made it easier to get the money they raised to the places where it will do the most good. We were happy to help them achieve their goal.”

To date the CCF has raised over $300,000. In October the first series of grants were awarded to eight groups.

Among the list was the Mountain Ranch Relief Fund, a collaborative effort by several organizations to provide assistance to Butte Fire victims, Calaveras Grown for erosion control and water system repair, and the Central Calaveras Fire and Rescue District to replace street names and addresses destroyed by the fire.

Grants also went to Common Ground Senior Services for seniors who have had fire damage, Friends of the Rail Road Flat School to assist families impacted by the fire, and the Calaveras Humane Society – Butte Fire Vet Assistance Fund to aid animals injured in the fire.

Rounding out the list were The Resource Connection for fire related temporary storage and staffing needs, and the Salvation Army – Calaveras County Unit for general relief efforts for families affected by the fire.

Additional grants have just been awarded. They are for Habitat for Humanity Calaveras to repair homes damaged in the fire, Friends of Calaveras Animal Services for animal food and supply storage sheds, Calaveras Grown to purchase additional straw bales used for erosion control and Calaveras County Association of Realtors Charity to fund assistance with well repairs.

The total grants awarded to date exceed $140,000.

“The Foundation views the recovery from the Butte Fire as a long-term project. We will stay on top of the situation and award additional grants in the future”, said Foundation Board President Linda Kangeter. “The Disaster Relief Fund will be an ongoing part of the Foundation’s program. In the years ahead, we will continue to raise money to be in readiness at the time of another county disaster.”

For those who would like to make a donation to the Disaster Relief Fund, checks may be sent to CCF at PO Box 1436, Angels Camp, CA 95222, or via PayPal at www.calaverascommunityfoundation.org.

The Calaveras Community Foundation is is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the quality of life in all areas of Calaveras County through a program of charitable grants. Contributions to CCF are tax deductible, within the limits of the law. The tax ID is #68-0472056.

br 11/17/15