Donations collected by United Way will begin distributing to local nonprofits this week.

Los Angeles, CA (March 21, 2017) – United Way of Greater Los Angeles announced today that funding to support short- and long-term wildfire recovery efforts for low-income individuals and families throughout Southern California will begin distribution this month. Recipients include local nonprofits in Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Los Angeles Counties.

“For low-income individuals and families, a natural disaster like a wildfire can mean the difference between staying housed and becoming homeless. They need support from their community to rebuild their lives quickly and United Way is proud to support efforts through trusted partner organizations throughout Southern California,” said Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

United Way began collecting donations to support recovery efforts on December 8, 2017, raising more than $750,000 to date. These donations have come through online donations and generous contributions from individuals and organizations including: 21st Century Fox, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Edison International, Los Angeles Rams – including sales of a custom t-shirt created by Rams’ Punter Johnny Hekker, and Southern California Gas Company.

Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison, which provides electricity to a population of about 15 million in Central, Coastal, and Southern California, has been the Wildfire Fund’s largest contributor. Edison donated more than one-third of the money raised, and the company is also a longtime partner and supporter of United Way’s efforts to serve L.A. County’s disadvantaged communities.

“We live and work in Ventura and Santa Barbara and have been inspired by the way our neighbors and colleagues have helped each other,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International. “We are proud to be a partner in recovery efforts and are committed to continuing to be there every step of the way to help our communities heal and thrive again.”

United Way will be distributing funds in two phases. Phase I’s funds are intended to stabilize the economic and housing situation of low-income families directly impacted by the recent wildfires and floods by focusing on helping victims with immediate costs for relocation, moving costs, essential household items, rental assistance, economic hardship, and workplace development. Phase II funds will be distributed in the coming months to support long-term needs such as home improvements, neighborhood improvements, and preparing for future disasters.

The following organizations will receive funding from United Way’s Southern California Wildfire and Flood Fund during Phase 1:

  • Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE/805 UndocuFund)
  • Community Recovery Team, Inc.
  • Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County
  • Foodbank of Santa Barbara County                         
  • FOOD Share, Inc.
  • Future Leaders of America (805 UndocuFund)   
  • Girls Incorporated of Carpinteria              
  • Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County, Inc.
  • Instituto De Educacion Popular Del Sur De California (IDEPSCA) Worker Health Program  
  • Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics       
  • The Salvation Army USA Western Territory, Southern California Division 
  • Unity Shoppe, Inc.          

“Habitat Ventura County is very grateful for this grant from the Southern CA Wildfire and Flood Fund to support families displaced by the Thomas Fire,” said Steve J. Dwyer, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County. “We will utilize these grant funds to provide vouchers to families who have been forced to relocate and must now furnish their new housing location. Those vouchers can be used in our ReStores, which sell high quality, gently used furnishings. We appreciate our partnership with the United Way as we work together to support those impacted by the fire.”

United Way of Greater Los Angeles worked collaboratively with United Ways of Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and San Diego County to identify the organizations best positioned to support relief efforts.   

"The 805 Undocufund deeply appreciates this support from United Way of Greater Los Angeles to help us assist low-income immigrant families who were impacted by the Southern California wildfires but remain unable to access federal disaster aid,” said Maricela Morales, Executive Director of CAUSE and 805 Undocufund Steering Committee member. “Thousands of our undocumented community members have been impacted, from families who lost homes in rural trailers to farmworkers who couldn't work during weeks of dangerous smoke conditions to domestic workers whose workplaces were evacuated or destroyed by fires and mudslides."