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California Wildfire Recovery


Since Sunday, wildfires have raged in California. At least 29 people have died, thousands have lost their homes, and entire communities have been devastated.

We have a few suggestions for how you can help rescue and recovery efforts. If you think these tips look familiar, you’re right—they echo the advice we gave in our October 3 post on disaster recovery and preparation. [The list was updated October 17, 2017.]

1. Give to a Community Foundation in One of the Affected Communities

The following community foundations have established or activated funds in response to the fires:

If you’re interested in supporting recovery efforts in a different location, try contacting your local community foundation or United Way for recommendations. You can also search GuideStar for “[location] community foundation” or “[location] United Way” usually works for finding these organizations.

Not sure about giving through a community foundation? Read our October 3 post to learn about the advantages expert-sponsored funds offer donors.

2. Give Through an Organization You Already Support

Whatever your interest—animal welfare, emergency housing, feeding the hungry, providing school supplies, supporting first responders—that need has surely increased in California. Check with the organization(s) you currently support to see if they’re responding to the emergency, or can suggest another nonprofit that is.

3. Give to a Nonprofit’s General Disaster Relief Fund

The wildfires are just the most recent example of how quickly disaster can strike. Nonprofits can’t wait until the money rolls in to respond.

4. Give Money, Not Stuff

Unless a nonprofit asks for specific items, your monetary donation will accomplish more than an in-kind donation. GlobalGiving and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy both explain why this is true. If your heart is set on donating old clothes, hold a yard sale and donate the proceeds instead.

California Wildfire RecoverySuzanne Coffman is GuideStar’s editorial director.

Topics: Disaster Relief Disaster Recovery Disaster Preparedness California Wildfires