Our Community Comes Together

RESPONDING TO CRISIS: Donate now to either our COVID-19 Response Fund or Fire Response Fund.

August Lightning Complex Fire

Fire Response, How You Can Help

Aug 19, 2020

(Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler)

Santa Cruz County, already struggling with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now in the midst of another disaster--the CZU August Lightning Complex Fires. Donations to the Community Foundation's Fire Response Fund benefit the nonprofit agencies and organizations directly assisting individuals with unmet needs.

100% of donors' gifts will be used for grantmaking. All donations are tax-deductible.

Give to support your neighbors

Donate to the Fire Response Fund

See which nonprofits we're supporting

Fire Response Fund Grants
Photo credit: Jeremy Lezin

Our Santa Cruz County Fire Resources page includes information and resources for fire evacuees: Fire Updates, Shelters, Resource Centers, FEMA info, Food Resources, Housing Support, Mutual Aid, Legal Aid, and Crisis Counseling.

Photo credit: Jeremy Lezin


Photo credit: Jeremy Lezin

Update: The following County of Santa Cruz donation sites are now CLOSED.

  • Santa Cruz County Warehouse: 1082 Emeline, Santa Cruz
  • South County Donation Site: 114 Walker Street, Watsonville

View the County's Fire Resources website to see where donations can be made (scroll down to the "How to Help" section on the main page).

There are a number of CZU Fire Resource Groups created on Facebook that have information about community coordinated drop-off donation sites. Goodwill and Grey Bears are also accepting donations.

Photo credit: Jeremy Lezin

Fire Response Fund Grants

We are in close communication with trusted nonprofit partners who serve the communities affected and those in harm's way. They are evaluating and responding to needs from the fires as the emergency evolves. Together, we'll work to address the short and long term needs of displaced residents through the generosity of people like you — neighbors helping neighbors.

Learn how your donations to the Fire Response Fund are helping.

Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler

Fire Response Fund FAQs

What is the Fire Response Fund?

The Fire Response Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County was created August 19, 2020 to address the relief and long-term recovery needs of Santa Cruz County to recover and rebuild from the devastating fires that have struck our community.

Why immediate and medium to long-term support?

When a disaster strikes, the majority of funds raised go to immediate relief, while the recovery and rebuilding process may take many years. We know there will be significant and long-term needs for our fellow community members to rebuild their lives. We are already and will continue to make grants for immediate relief. Long after media attention has shifted away from our community, we will be here, committed to providing support that addresses the most critical needs of our nonprofits and their clients.

Why Community Foundation Santa Cruz County?

Disasters are chaotic, but the response should not be. With 38 years of experience in philanthropy we know how to make strategic, thoughtful, and impactful grants. To date, we’ve given out over $100 million to local organizations addressing issues such as housing, hunger, education, economic well-being, arts & culture, and mental health. To learn more about our role in recovery and rebuilding, we encourage you to read this Forbes article: 10 Ways Community Foundations Are a Best-Bet for Disaster Giving.

How will you decide what to support?

Our experience in grantmaking in Santa Cruz County goes back to the devastating floods of 1982, when locals came together to coordinate local giving for local needs in the aftermath. We use a due diligence process to identify and vet organizations to receive funding. We also rely on longstanding relationships with local nonprofit leaders whose work we’ve invested in for years.

In the aftermath of a disaster, the immediate relief needs are clear—shelter, food, cash, and other basic needs. We are already making grants to support that effort. Recovery and rebuilding is more complex and depends on each community’s needs. While we can’t yet predict exactly what those needs will be they tend to include longer term economic, health, and social support for fire victims of the disaster. We will use our experience to:

Who will the fund support?

Our nonprofits provide critical services across the county, providing shelter and long-term housing, economic and rental assistance, legal services, education, healthcare, and more. These nonprofits will be supporting fire victims directly and will need the capacity to grow their services to meet the need. Our funds will support these nonprofits who are providing direct services to those impacted by the fires.

Donations to the Fire Response Fund at Community Foundation Santa Cruz County will be used across our county and will be directed to the areas of greatest need, including victims and evacuees from the San Lorenzo Valley, Bonny Doon, and Davenport.

Photo credit: Shmuel Thaler

Resilient, Together

We are grateful to our firefighters, nonprofit first responders, our local news outlets, disaster service workers, and all of those working tirelessly to keep Santa Cruz County residents safe during this challenging time.

In Times of Need, We Step Up

As with past local disasters, there will be a long road ahead for individuals recovering from devastation. But Santa Cruz County has always stepped up to help neighbors in need and we believe it will be the same now. The Community Foundation was created to meet disaster with generosity and action. In times like this, giving locally is especially critical. As we’ve done for past fires, floods, earthquakes, we embrace our role to inspire local giving that meets local needs. Learn more about our history.