NORCAL WILDFIRE RELIEF FUND REACTIVATION: OCTOBER 2019
The Latino Community Foundation reactivated the NorCal Wildfire Relief Fund that was established to support Latino-led grassroots organizations who are on the frontlines of providing critical financial assistance, rehousing support, and emergency translation for Latino and immigrant families. We are rapidly responding to the Kincade Fire currently raging in Northern Sonoma County.
Breaking out in the middle of the night on October 23, 2019—just two years after the devastating 2017 wildfires—the Kincade Fire has burned over 75,000 acres and displaced almost 200,000 people. It is the county’s largest evacuation on record. This devastation has hit Latino immigrant and working-class families really hard because it coincides with the Wine Country’s agricultural harvest season.
The NorCal Wildfire Relief Fund is currently investing in the following grassroots Latino nonprofit organizations in Sonoma and Napa Counties:
Corazón Healdsburg located in the heart of the affected region, is a trusted grassroot organization that is working with Latino and immigrant families at evacuation shelters across the Bay Area and providing them with rehousing support, emergency financial assistance, and resource referrals. Currently, Corazón Healdsburg has provided financial aid and helped rehouse over 600 evacuated families.
North Bay Organizing Project is a community organizing engine located in the center of Sonoma Valley, and is working with Latino and immigrant families at evacuation shelters, providing resource referrals, and will be hosting culturally grounded healing workshops to help strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of impacted families. They unite people to build leadership and grassroots power for social, economic, racial and environmental justice.
UndocuFund was created to ensure our undocumented families are not left to suffer in the shadows of relief efforts. They are working with immigrant families at evacuation shelters and will be providing critical emergency financial assistance to undocumented and mixed-status families who do not qualify for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Movimiento Cultural de la Unión Indígena (MCUI) is working across Napa and Sonoma Counties to engage and organize indigenous families, they are providing critical translation services and resource referrals for non-Spanish-speaking indigenous families and advocating for language justice for emergency communications.
On the Move is an established organization building youth leaders in Napa County. They are working with Latino families at evacuation shelters and providing emergency financial assistance to displaced families and those that have been impacted by the coinciding power outages.
UpValley Family Centers is a network of community resource centers in Northern Napa Valley. They are working with Latino families at evacuation shelters and providing emergency financial assistance to evacuated families and those who have been impacted by the power outages.
Puertas Abiertas is a community resource center in the City of Napa that is supporting evacuated families through emergency financial assistance and resource referrals.
Nuestra Comunidad is a grassroots organization in Sonoma Valley that is providing emergency translation, resource referrals, and housing assistance to Latino and families. They aim to advance community health and resiliency through bilingual disaster preparedness education and safety training.
LCF chose these Latino nonprofits because they are in the heart of the affected region, are led by strong leadership that reflect the values and demographic of the community, have a track record of serving immigrant communities, and have the capacity to respond to the immediate needs of Latino immigrant families while advocating for long-term policy change. Together, these powerful regional organizations provide direct services and financial assistance to low-income, farmworker and undocumented communities, as well as help with the coordination of regional resources for immediate and long-term needs.
LCF launched the Fund to specifically prioritize the Latino and immigrant families in this region, who are the backbone of the region’s economy. Latinos make up 71% of the workforce at vineyards and other agricultural businesses, and more than 40% of the workforce in the tourism and hospitality industry. Many of these families live paycheck to paycheck and have been displaced by the fires. Many will not qualify for federal support due to their immigration status and are left without a home and a job. These funds will go to support these families—they will not be forgotten or left to suffer in the shadows.
With additional funding, LCF hopes to invest deeper in these Latino service providers that are helping intake and provide emergency assistance to thousands of Latino families at the 19 evacuations centers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Why We Launched the NorCal Wildfire Campaign
On October 8th, 2017 devastating wildfires swept across Napa and Sonoma counties. While the smoke and ash have cleared, our work to ‘put out the fires’ have just begun.
Across the North Bay, Latino families endure ongoing struggles to find dignified work, affordable housing and high-quality education. The fires exacerbated the crisis, but the philanthropic response was unprecedented. LCF knew this was an opportunity to transform the region, to invest in change, not charity. Together with La Luz Center, UpValley Family Centers, and North Bay Organizing Project, we co-designed a long-term strategy to unite Latino leaders, invest in Latino nonprofits and build people power.
RELIEF – Meet the Needs of Families
Three anchor institutions of the Latino communities in Napa and Sonoma each received $50K for rapid response relief to Latino families. Much of this support was given in 2-week wage loss stipends for Latino workers in addition to other basic needs support such as childcare and temporary housing.
RECOVERY – Strengthen Latino-led Organizations
In times of crisis, our communities turn to the organizations they know and trust. We knew that Latino led orgs would face an unprecedented need for their leadership to respond to the disaster. That’s why we invested a total of $450K in three Latino-led anchor institutions in Napa and Sonoma so they can emerge from the fires even stronger and more sustainable than before.
RESILIENCE – Build Lasting Power
Before the fire, rising housing costs and lack of economic opportunity kept many Latinx families living paycheck to paycheck. These day to day struggles often limit our access to the halls of power and dampen our ability to be civically engaged. We know nothing will change in the valley after the fires if we don’t invest in the power of the community to advocate for their families and flex their political power.
Owning Our Future
With the upcoming elections and 2020 Census we have a unique opportunity to empower North Bay Latino communities to be more resilient, activated and engaged. That’s why our third phase of wildfire efforts focuses on grassroots organizations with strong Latino leadership ready to use culture, healing and organizing to build long-lasting power and boost civic engagement across the North Bay. In addition to additional investments in our three core partners, we have supported 7 additional nonprofits to with their organizing and power building efforts across the region.
Mobilize the Latino Vote
Ensure an Accurate Census Count
Promote Policies to Address Housing Crisis
OUR CORE PARTNERS
Since the inception of our Just Recovery work, we’ve partnered with three inspiring organizations who serve as anchors to the Latino communities they serve.
La Luz Center is a family resource center that serves Sonoma Valley’s most vulnerable Latino immigrant families. La Luz serves as a beacon of hope and as a catalyst for change in health, education, and financial empowerment. With investment and partnership from the Just Recovery Fund, La Luz tripled the number of families they serve during and since the fire.
“Support from LCF has been invaluable. They stood with us as partners from day one. Together, we have turned this crisis as an opportunity to organize our communities and build people power. LCF’s leadership always listens, loves, and opens real doors of opportunities for us and other grassroots Latino nonprofits. They have been true advocates, not just funders, who have pushed us to dream big and build the future we desire.”
– Juan Hernandez, Executive Director, La Luz Center
UpValley Family Centers provides guidance, support and leadership development for Napa County’s Latino families. UpValley provides the community with necessary resources that promote health, education, economic empowerment and immigrant integration for families in Calistoga and St. Helena. Through our partnership, UpValley Family Centers hired new staff to meet the demands of the crisis and expand their services in rural, up valley communities including access to healthy food, legal support, mental health, fun activities for kids, and know your rights workshops in Spanish.
“LCF is truly investing in a Just Recovery, one that addresses the systemic problems that cripple our communities. They have stood with us from day one and challenged us to ask for wat we truly needed—investments in people power that push for a census outreach, voter education and renter rights. With partners like LCF, we are hopeful and excited about our future.”
– Jenny Ocon, Executive Director, UpValley Family Centers
North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP) is a nonprofit that educates, organizes and empowers immigrant and working-class families to lead solutions for change. NBOP works tirelessly to increase civic engagement and builds political power for working class communities in Santa Rosa and across the North Bay. Through the Just Recovery Fund, NBOP led an organizing campaign to ensure that protections for immigrants and renters are part of a just recovery and also partnered with the UnDocufund to make sure undocumented immigrants received relief support.
“Our Latino Community Foundation familia is always looking out for us, and flipping the philanthropic model from one based on charity, to one steeped in solidarity.
A just recovery is one where here our workforce can raise families and thrive, not just survive. Success is when all of us are taken into account when it comes to the future of our region and our country.”
– Davin Cardenas, Co-Director, North Bay Organizing Project
We are overwhelmed at the generosity of our community at responding to the wildfires. Collectively you raised $1,536,476 towards a Just Recovery in wine country. This allowed Latino Community Foundation to make the largest grants in our history – $350,000 per anchor organization and $175,000 for the seven new partners – and to invest in the long-term needs of Latino families in the North Bay. And we’re not done yet.