Our Wildfire Relief Fund and the Just Recovery Partnership has revolutionized disaster philanthropy, centering it on change, not charity. LCF has built a unique model that uses disaster as an opportunity to unite community leaders, invest in their infrastructure, and organize community to prioritize collective power building.
WHAT IS A JUST RECOVERY?
Launched in response to the devastating October 2017 Northern California wildfires, LCF has invested over $4M into 27 grassroots organizations on the frontlines of wildfire relief and recovery efforts. Each year since, wildfires have ravaged these and a growing number of our communities. It has become clear that fire season is an annual event, becoming and longer and more intense each year with deep impacts in the Latino community. Recent data shows that Latinos are twice as likely to live in the areas most threatened by wildfire.
LCF’s Wildfire Relief Fund invests in Latino community-based organizations across California to provide critical financial assistance, rehousing support, and emergency translation for Latino and Indigenous families impacted by wildfires. The Fund also strengthens grassroots Latino leadership to ensure that these same families are able to shape wildfire recovery efforts and realize a new vision for their communities.
THE JUST RECOVERY PARTNERSHIP
Through this Fund, LCF co-designed a new model for disaster philanthropy in deep collaboration with community leaders—the Just Recovery Partnership. Across Napa and Sonoma Counties, LCF has built a regional coalition of Latino leaders and nonprofits to leverage, coordinate, and advance civic engagement and community advocacy ensuring that recovery and future disaster response is shaped for and by Latino families. We did not helicopter in to address the crisis; instead, we invested in local community leadership and resilience that has reaped benefits during subsequent firestorms, the global pandemic and its compounding health and economic crises.
OUR JUST RECOVERY GOALS
Latino grassroots nonprofit leaders are well-resourced and thriving so they can both build proactively towards the world of their dreams and respond to crises that affect their communities.
Revolutionize disaster philanthropy— moving away from a charity model to one of using crisis as a community organizing opportunity that builds people power and secures long-term wins (housing, jobs, education, civic engagement).
Latino communities have agency and power over their lives and communities to mitigate and prevent future crises and to be on the frontlines of climate justice.
During an emergency, public generosity skyrockets. An influx of resources come into communities impacted by a fire. We recognized the opportunity to leverage these funds and drive transformative change by looking beyond the crisis to imagine what could be possible if our grassroots organizations and leaders truly had the power to make systemic change.
That’s why our wildfire work includes three key phases:
Emergency Preparedness and Immediate Relief
We help to keep Latino and Indigenous families and farmworkers safe during a wildfire. Our grassroots partners mobilize to provide immediate relief: financial aid, re-housing, food, transportation, and language translation. We also help shape disaster planning centered on Latino families and educate the community on how to prepare for fires. For example, in 2022, our Promotoras are distributing over 300 emergency to-go bags to farmworker families in advance of fire season. The people and families we connect with during an emergency continue to be our base as we move into the next phases.
Strengthen Organizations for a Just Recovery
Latino nonprofits are the gateway to the people. That is why we strengthen the capacity of grassroot organizations that can serve as anchor institutions during future crisis and in the rebuilding of impacted communities. We move funds to organizations so they can hire staff including Promotoras and youth organizers to meet the moment. We want families to emerge stronger than before.
Build Power for Systemic Change
Our partners knew after the first devastating fires that things wouldn’t change unless we invested and prioritized community organizing for lasting social change. The Wildfire Fund catalyzes efforts to increase Latino voter turnout, participation in the Census and Elections and local campaigns for tenants and worker rights. This work directly intersects with our Latino Power Fund – our initiative to invest in organizations at the heart of Latino power building.