North Bay Fire Relief Fund donations near $32M

The Redwood Empire Food Bank volunteers load food into cars on Wednesday during a special giveaway for fire victims. The Food Bank is spending about $200,000 more per month on the program. (photo by John Burgess/The Press Democrat)


North Bay Fire Relief Fund said nearly $32 million has been raised so far to help victims and support organizations after the October wildfires.

The fund is providing about $7 million in grants from the relief fund to 56 nonprofit supporting victim services such as financial assistance, food and housing, according to Redwood Credit Union Community Fund Inc., among the groups which established the fund. The disbursements are part of over $31 million allocated to aid groups and victims.

Fire swept across several North Bay counties, destroying about 6,000 homes in October.

“We believe this support of local nonprofits will be significant, in terms of providing much-needed and vital services to fire survivors, which in turn will contribute to helping our community begin to heal and recover,” said Cynthia Negri, board president of the fund. “We’re grateful to the generous donors and our nonprofit partners for their support of fire survivors and our efforts to get aid quickly to those impacted. This has been a community effort — and we’re in this together.”

With the announcement, Redwood Credit Union stated that the fund has received $31.9 million in donations. More than 41,000 individuals and organizations have donated with contributions from across the United States, and 23 different countries. And 68 percent of donations have come from outside the four impacted counties.

North Bay Fire Relief Fund's other founders were state Sen. Mike McGuire and The Press Democrat. Redwood Credit Union is paying all administrative costs of the fund, so all donations are aiding fire survivors.

“The fund has allocated or distributed nearly $31 million, and is beginning to transition efforts to key groups addressing the mid- and longer-term phases of the disaster recovery,” the credit union stated

The breakdown of how funds have been distributed to date to the four impacted counties (Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake) shows nearly $19.7 million went to people, $9.5 million to “support local nonprofits” and about $1 million to for small-business relief through Lake Area Rotary Club Association.

In addition, about $700,000 was given to “assist fire survivor health and well-being.”