September COVID-19 grants made as CZU Fire Rages On

Meeting Twin Disasters with Generosity

Aug 31, 2020

As the CZU Lightning Complex Fire burns in northern Santa Cruz County, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to deepen economic instability for thousands across the county and infect people daily. Virus transmission concerns are elevated as nearly 1 in 4 county residents sought temporary shelter due to evacuation orders. In the seventh month of the pandemic, needs related to COVID-19 still smolder. Thanks to community donors, the Community Foundation can respond to both crises. We awarded $435,562 in grants to support nonprofit partners providing emergency financial, food, and rental assistance for September. And we’ve released $233,500 in flexible funding grants to support nonprofit partners coordinating relief efforts for fire evacuees.

“We are now dealing with twin disasters. As our neighbors confront economic distress, fear, disruption and chaos in their lives, it is the care of our donors, nonprofits, businesses - all of us, that will help Santa Cruz County navigate this incredibly difficult time. We lean on each other.”

- Susan True, CEO, Community Foundation

Prioritizing Our Most Vulnerable in COVID-19 Relief

Since the announcement of school closures March 13, we have awarded $8.5 million in response grants--including $5.5 million from donors with whom we work. Grantmaking continues to prioritize those already disadvantaged by inequities: low-wage essential workers, frail seniors, undocumented families, and people with severe illness. Grantee partners include Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Center for Farmworker Families, Grey Bears, and Housing Matters.

“The cutbacks in hours and layoffs mean people can’t pay the rent, the utility bill, the cell phone bill or even the grocery bill. We’ve been able to be there for those families, first for the pandemic, and now in response to the fires. From day one, the support and trust from the Community Foundation has been critical to our ability to get needs met.”

- Roxanne Moore, Program Director for Community Bridges, including Mountain Community Resources

Rebuilding Stronger

“We’re in this for the long haul. Recovery from COVID-19 and the fire will take years,” continued Susan. “When a disaster strikes, immediate relief takes the forefront. But national attention will fade and long-term needs will remain. The Community Foundation will still be here raising money and making grants to rebuild a stronger, more resilient Santa Cruz County. We are so grateful to everyone who has chosen to partner with the Community Foundation as we invest in long-term solutions and help those left behind by other aid programs.

See Your Generosity at Work

How to Contribute to the COVID-19 Local Response Fund or Fire Response Fund

Tax-deductible donations, in any amount, can be made at the following:

Gifts to each fund will be accepted as long as the need continues. The funds will provide financial support for Santa Cruz County organizations on the front line of COVID-19 and fire response. Contact the Community Foundation at (831) 662-2061 or for help making a donation.

Responding Crises at our Door

Give to one of our local response funds