Sonoma County Resilience Fund: Our Progress to Date

Updated 2/16/18

We’re grateful for your support of our community as we begin to recover and rebuild from the devastating fires of October 2017. We’ll be updating this page frequently with our progress as we continue to fundraise and begin to develop our grantmaking strategy for the Resilience Fund.


If there is a bright spot in the midst of the devastation our community has suffered, it is the incredible outpouring of generosity of people from across the country. To date we’ve raised over $11.5 million for the Resilience Fund, and we continue to raise more every day. Our recent gifts include a $700,000 contribution from Genentech! For a list of major contributors to the Resilience Fund, click here.

Emergency Grants

As the fires raged through our county in October, it became very clear that a number of nonprofits were very much on the front lines of the relief effort and needed immediate resources to provide shelter, food, and other basic needs to people displaced by the fires. In response we provided emergency grants of over $300,000 to help these nonprofits meet the demand for services. Recipients included 4C’s (Community Childcare Council), California Human Development, Catholic Charities, Ceres Community Project, Community Action Partnership, La Luz, Petaluma People Service Center, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Sonoma Humane Society, UndocuFund for Fire Relief, and the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County.

Our Strategy

With the support of the many donors who have generously contributed to the Sonoma County Resilience Fund, Community Foundation Sonoma County is currently in the beginning stages of designing our grantmaking strategy.

As funders with 34 years of grantmaking experience in Sonoma County, we will conduct a strong due diligence process to identify and support the most effective organizations to address community needs.

Thus far we have hosted a convening for more than 250 nonprofit and philanthropic leaders to discuss emerging needs and opportunities, and conducted a survey of local and regional funders to begin to map the landscape of funds for fire relief, recovery, and rebuilding. Here’s an overview of our progress thus far:

Resilience Convening

In the midst of the fires, and in the aftermath, we saw our nonprofit partners acting as ‘second responders’, providing emergency food and shelter, mental health crisis counseling, transportation and cash assistance to help the tens of thousands of evacuees and fire survivors deal with the trauma and devastation inflicted by the fires.

At the same time, our community witnessed an incredible outpouring of support from generous people within and far beyond Sonoma County’s borders. Tens of millions of dollars were raised very quickly through new funds established to support fire relief, recovery and rebuilding.

Community Foundation Sonoma County saw an opportunity to bring the nonprofits and philanthropic organizations with fire funds together, recognizing that nonprofits were stretched thin by the surge in demand for their services and were eager to learn about available funds to support their fire relief and recovery work. Additionally, funders were developing their grantmaking strategies and were interested to know what the emerging needs and opportunities were from those who were working directly with people impacted by the fires. As a result, the Community Foundation organized the Resilience Convening on November 28th.

A total of 250 participants representing over 150 different nonprofit and philanthropic organizations attended the event. The convening featured a breakout session with six key funders for fire relief and recovery, along with a breakout session for nonprofits to discuss emerging needs and opportunities. The detailed PowerPoint presentation by the funders on their grantmaking straetgies, a recording of their presentations, and the full report from the Resilience Convening are available on our website.

Funder Survey

Prior to the Resilience Convening, Community Foundation invited fifteen philanthropic entities focused on providing financial assistance to Sonoma County communities impacted by the recent wildfires to participate in an online survey.  The purpose of the survey was to gather information from funders who have allocated or intend to allocate resources to address immediate and/or long-term community needs related to the recent wildfires. The full results of the survey are now available on our website.

Next Steps

Beyond reflecting on the notes from the convening and the funder survey, our next steps include:

  • Coordinating with other funders to deepen our understanding of the landscape for fire relief and recovery funds
  • Extensive research into disaster philanthropy
  • Conducting a nonprofit survey in the winter of 2018 of organizational needs post-fire
  • Ongoing participation in key community initiatives to ensure that we are listening to the voices of those who need resources the most
  • Vetting nonprofit agencies to ensure that our funds support the most effective organizations and evidence-based programs
  • Working with an evaluation consultant to ensure that our funds are strategically supporting an equitable recovery and rebuilding process with greatest possible impact

Who We Will Support:

Our nonprofits provide critical services across the county, from shelter and long-term housing, to 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.

Through all of our grantmaking we strive to also address issues of disparity in our community. Many low-income families and individuals were already struggling to make ends meet in Sonoma County before this disaster struck, and we are committed to supporting those who need our resources the most.