How you are helping

Fire Response Fund Grants

Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler

A year after the devastating CZU Lightning Complex Fires, generous donations to the Fire Response Fund are still making an impact.

The fund was established on August 19, 2020, while evacuation orders were still being issued. Donations provided immediate support to nonprofit organizations for relief efforts and helped begin planning for short-term and long-term recovery.

Thanks to you, we’ve awarded $1,400,767

Grants help hundreds of residents work through the insurance and rebuilding process, provide rental assistance for displaced families, and connect survivors to other long-term recovery resources.

The work ahead

We continue to work with trusted partners to help people as they restore and protect lands post-fire. We’ve set up a Long-Term Recovery Group that works to address the ongoing needs of individuals and families affected by the fires.

It takes a village

We literally could not have done this without you. There is hard work ahead of us and our next steps will be to help fill unmet needs that arise in the rebuilding and clearance processes. Thank you.

Fire Response Grants - 100% of gifts go directly to our community

Basic Immediate Needs

Amah Mutsun Land Trust: $31,000 to support housing for the Native Stewards of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust displaced due to the fires and wage replacement due to the debris flow evacuation.

Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District: $38,000 to support food and meals for fire survivors at the Boulder Creek Resource Community Relief events and to purchase gift cards from local Boulder Creek restaurants to distribute to fire survivors who live in Boulder Creek. Storage for supplies for survivors and staffing to support the fire relief. To support the tool shed for fire survivors.

Catholic Charities Diocese of Monterey: $115,000 to support fire survivors and evacuees with critical needs and direct emergency financial assistance. For rental or direct financial assistance to fire families.

County of Santa Cruz Human Services Department: $95,000 to support housing navigation resources for disaster case management providers.

Davenport Resource Service Center (a program of Community Action Board): $131,500 to support fire survivors and evacuees with critical needs, food, direct emergency financial assistance, and case management. For debris flow evacuation support including food, financial assistance and equipment. For water tanks, portable showers, tools, gas cards, and rental or financial assistance for fire survivors.

Mountain Community Resources (a program of Community Bridges): $165,644 to support fire survivors and evacuees with critical needs, direct emergency financial assistance, rental assistance, and case management. For increased outreach and communications to fire survivors about the resources and assistance available, FEMA applications, and debris flow. For food cards for fire survivors.

Office of Emergency Services Santa Cruz County: $21,000 for emergency gas cards for evacuees.

Santa Cruz Education Foundation: $3,000 to support fire victims and evacuees with direct financial assistance.

Second Harvest Food Bank Santa Cruz County: $100,000 to purchase additional healthy shelf stable fruits, vegetables, and food for fire evacuees.

Valley Churches United: $10,000 to support fire victims and evacuees with critical needs and direct emergency financial assistance.

Emergency Services

Boulder Creek Volunteer Fire Department: $8,000 for their emergency services.

Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter Foundation: $5,000 to care for evacuated animals.

Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds Foundation: $10,000 for onsite improvements to aid conditions for evacuees.

Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County: $10,000 to support coordination of shelter volunteers.

Environmental Restoration

Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks: $20,000 for fire damage assessment work in Big Basin State Park.

Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County: $70,000 to support their post-fire recovery assistance and remediation. Providing on-site technical and planning help to asses post-fire land conditions and recommended actions. Offering free webinars on how to protect your land after a wildfire. Purchasing materials for run off and erosion control for landowners in preparation for winter storms. Education and outreach on fire preparedness and post-fire recovery, and post-fire recovery site visits.

Santa Cruz Relief: $13,162 for environmental remediation supplies for fire survivors.

Insurance Advocacy

United Policyholders: $220,000 for two years of their Roadmap to Recovery Program to help households impacted by the fires navigate insurance claims. To work with fire families in coordination with community partners and provide leadership to our Long Term Recovery Group. Providing guidance and free workshops on collecting available insurance benefits, making decisions, legal clinics and getting back home after a catastrophic loss.

Outreach & Communications

Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County: $983 for educational fire prevention and preparedness brochures.

$57,588 for technical assistance for rebuilding, service coordination, debris flow study, and Community Relief events.

Small Business Grants

Arts Council Santa Cruz County: $6,500 to support artists affected by the CZU fires.

National Development Council: $150,000 to provide grants to local small businesses impacted by the fire.

Supplies & Equipment

Bonny Doon Community Preschool: $5,000 to purchase supplies and equipment necessary to safely reopen the preschool.

Bonny Doon Community School Foundation: $20,000 to provide fire survivors with school supplies and technology for the youth’s distance learning.

Campesino Appreciation Caravan: $2,500 for N95 masks for farmworkers due to poor air quality.

CERT Auxiliary of Santa Cruz County: $4,890 to support kits of equipment necessary to respond to fire and debris flow disasters.

Davenport County Sanitation District: $63,000 to pay assessment for Davenport rate payers for trucked in water following the fires.

Last Chance Community Center: $30,000 for restoring water and electricity to the community center, supporting Last Chance neighbors as they rebuild, and rebuilding Last Chance Road.

San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District: $2,000 for gift cards to support basic supplies for families who have lost or damaged homes due to the fires.

San Lorenzo Valley Youth Council/ Little People's Repertory Theatre: $2,000 to provide a safe space at the Annex for fire survivors to use for work and distance learning

% of Grant Dollars Given
Photograph by Kara Capaldo
Photograph by Kara Capaldo
Photograph by Jeremy Lezin
Photograph by Kara Capaldo
Photograph by Jeremy Lezin
Photograph by Shmuel Thaler
Photograph by Kara Capaldo

Donor-Advised Philanthropy In Motion

In response to the CZU Lightning Complex Fires, donor advisors have granted $111,300 directly to support nonprofits in the relief and recovery efforts. Donor advisors are making a significant impact. Learn more about starting your own Donor-Advised Fund here.

Here are just a few examples of the unrestricted gifts given:

Want to Share Your Nonprofit's Fire Response Needs?

Grants from the Fire Response Fund are being made proactively, as we listen in to evolving needs identified by key partners, disaster response coordinators, and local leaders. While we are not offering an application process for Fire Response Fund grants, we want to stay in tune with needs as you see them from your nonprofit's perspective. Please email to share your needs.

We won’t be able to provide funding to everyone who needs it. However, we hope this open line of communication will give us a better understanding of the most urgent challenges affecting our most vulnerable people.

Support those affected by the fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Donate to the Fire Response Fund