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Redwood Credit Union Sonoma Branch Manager José Alvarez presents a North Bay Fire Relief Fund grant to La Luz Center Executive Director Juan Hernandez.
Redwood Credit Union Sonoma Branch Manager José Alvarez presents a North Bay Fire Relief Fund grant to La Luz Center Executive Director Juan Hernandez.

North Bay Fire Relief Fund Distributes 32 Million Dollars to Fire Victims

Feb 16, 2018

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Immediate phase complete; transitions to mid and long-term groups & efforts.

The relief fund has collected and distributed over $32 million from over 41,100 donors over the past 120 days, to support immediate needs of fire victims following the devastating fires that impacted Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties in October 2017.  The North Bay Fire Relief Fund represents one of the largest and most successful disaster relief efforts in Northern California history, with 100% of all donations collected directly benefitting neighbors in need.

The North Bay Fire Relief Fund (NBFRF), a partnership of The Press DemocratSenator Mike McGuire and Redwood Credit Union, is housed within the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit fund.

The North Bay Fire Relief Fund has, since inception, been focused on the first phase of the recovery—supporting immediate relief for those impacted by the fires—and now with the fund fully disbursed, it is beginning to wind down, as other groups in the community ramp up to tackle the second and rebuilding phases of recovery and rebuild.

With the affected region shifting from immediate relief needs during the first 120 days to recovery and rebuild phases over the next several years, the North Bay Fire Relief Fund will accept donations through 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 15, 2018. Some of the groups organized to address the mid and long-term phases include: Rebuild Northbay FoundationCommunity Foundation of Sonoma CountyNapa Valley Community Foundation; and Community Foundation of Mendocino County.

The North Bay Fire Relief Fund By the Numbers:

  • NBFRF raised and distributed $32,028,981 in the four months since the fires began.
  • Contributions came from over 41,100 donors from 23 countries, and nearly 70% of donations came from outside the four affected counties of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake—proving people around the world care about what happened to the North Bay and are sending a message of care and hope for the community. 

Fund details include$20,498,854 in direct assistance to fire victims:

- 6,593 residents who lost homes or experienced economic hardship due to the fires received financial support from the Fund.

- 102 first responders who lost homes while fighting the fires or protecting the community received funds to support their immediate needs.

- 2,253 K-12 and college students throughout the North Bay who lost their homes received gift cards from the Fund to replace school clothes and supplies. 

- $9,587,586 to nonprofits serving immediate needs of fire survivors, including:

o   Nonprofits supporting urgent food and shelter/housing needs during and immediately following the fires

o   56 nonprofits providing direct services to fire survivors received nearly $7 million in grants from the North Bay Fire Relief Fund to continue support of fire survivors with financial assistance, food, housing, family and health and well-being services

- $1,000,000 to small businesses impacted by the fires

- $942,541 to support fire survivor health and well-being including health and dental care, lost sporting equipment and holiday programs

Details about how funds have been used to aid fire survivors is available at www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief. A list of the nonprofits that received NBFRF grants to continue to assist fire survivors with their immediate needs is available at: https://www.rcucommunityfund.org/north-bay-fire-relief/grants. Fire survivors are encouraged to contact the funded nonprofits directly for assistance.

Many nonprofits were key in providing vital partnerships that resulted in funds being distributed quickly to fire survivors. Some of those organizations providing resources to receive and review applications and provide check distribution to fire victims from the North Bay Fire Relief Fund included: United Way of the Wine Country, La Luz, North Coast Opportunities (NCO) and Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL).

“The resilience of our North Bay communities is second to none. Not only has our region answered the call for help, but the world has shown its heartfelt support, and we’re deeply grateful for the generosity of everyone who donated to support fire survivors,” said Cynthia Negri, President of the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, the nonprofit fund which housed the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. "We could not have done it without our partners The Press Democrat and Senator Mike McGuire, and the incredible support from many local nonprofits and corporate sponsors—it proves we’re truly in this together,” Negri added.

Redwood Credit Union paid all administrative costs and The Press Democrat provided widespread news and information about the fund keeping the public informed about how dollars were being allocated.

100% of donations have gone directly to fire survivors and to support immediate needs of firesurvivors.


Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, Inc. (RCUCF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to supporting community wellness, including financial wellness and literacy efforts, and local disaster relief efforts in the North Bay and San Francisco.

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