Category Archives: Charitable Giving

Yarnell Hill Fire

Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

If you grow up in south, you are very aware of hurricane season. If you grow up in the midwest, you know when to stay out of tornado alley. If you grow up in the east, you know you better stock up on food and supplies in the winter in case you are unable to leave your home during a blizzard. And if you grow up in the west you know that the hottest part of the summer is also the driest and the most vulnerable to wildfires. This past year the western United States saw destructive wildfires in Colorado, at Yosemite National Park and a particularly devastating fire in the small mountain community of Yarnell, Arizona. That fire resulted in highest loss of wild land firefighter life in the United States since the 1933.

Lightning struck on June 28th igniting what quickly became the Yarnell Hill Fire, in the small community of about 700 people located near the northern city of Prescott, about 80 miles northwest of Phoenix. The blaze burned 8,400 acres of land, destroyed 129 structures, and resulted in the tragic loss of 19 firefighters, all members of the Prescott Fire Department’s Granite Mountain Hotshots.

It took 13 days for the blaze to be fully contained. Strong winds, high temperatures around 101 degrees and long term drought in the area all contributed to the fire’s rapid spread and intensity. The fire’s heat melted pipes and caused leaks in the water system, resulting in an estimated loss of 40 percent of the water that still travels through the damaged pipes today. Another blow to a state with already significant water shortages.

While fire is as old as the earth and a natural benefit to many forest ecosystems the intensity of wildfires is increasing as a result of global warming. A report issued by the National Wildlife Federation titled Increased Risk of Catastrophic Wildfires: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the Western United States names global warming as a major contributing factor to the increased frequency of large wildfires and the rise in total area burned in the Western United States.  If the summertime temperature rises 2.9 degrees, the overall area burned across 11 states is expected to double by the end of the century. With the change in climate, we are seeing longer fire seasons, drier conditions and more frequent lightning, all factors that have the potential to lead to more deadly wildfires like the Yarnell Hill Fire.

Devastating wildfires are nothing new to western United States. But when one does occur, communities rally around each other for support. This week we highlight  organizations that contributed to the Yarnell Hill Fire Relief effort and one working to restore damaged forests around the world.

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Credit: The Arizona Community Foundation

Credit: The Arizona Community Foundation

Arizona Community Foundation  – improving quality of life in Arizona by promoting and facilitating effective philanthropy

For the past 35 years the Arizona Community Foundation has acted as a statewide philanthropic leader promoting many issues including education, health, community development, the environment, arts and culture through more than 1,200 separate charitable funds. Since July 1st, the Arizona Community Foundation’s Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund received more than $750,000, in contributions which will go towards the re-building effort. The Arizona Community Foundation’s affiliate the Yavapai County Community Foundation is working with the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group Steering Committee to determine long-term local needs in order to distribute grants in the most effective manner.

A second separate effort by the organization, the Yarnell Memorial Scholarship Endowment, has received around $460,000 in contributions. This fund will provide college scholarships, pay for tuitions and other academic needs of the children of Granite Mountain Hotshots and other fallen firefighters.

You can donate to either the Arizona Community Foundation’s Yarnell Disaster Relief Fund or Yarnell Memorial Scholarship Endowment here.

Firefighters at a appreciation luncheon hosted by the Arizona 100 Club and Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, AZ. (Credit: Scripps Media, Inc. / ABC15)

Firefighters at a appreciation luncheon hosted by the Arizona 100 Club and Organ Stop Pizza in Mesa, AZ.
(Credit: Scripps Media, Inc. / ABC15)

The 100 Club of Arizonastanding behind men and women who stand behind the badge since 1968

For 45 years the 100 Club of Arizona has been providing financial, advisory and moral support to the families of fallen or seriously injured public safety officers and firefighters. The 100 Club concept began in Detroit, Michigan in 1952 after the fatal shooting of a police officer. A local Pontiac dealer,  William M. Packer, was so moved by the story that he wrote to 100 of his friends encouraging them to donate to the fund for the fallen officer. Packer received a 100% response rate. In 1965 after a young police office was killed in the line-of-duty in Phoenix several acquaintances that knew of the Detroit 100 Club started the Phoenix 100 Club. The organization evolved over the years to incorporate the entire state of Arizona and today serves more than 50,000 public servants that routinely put themselves in harms way for the benefit of their community.

The organization estimates they received approximately $1.5 million in donations in response to the Yarnell Hill Fire. Much of the donations received went to the families of the 19 fallen hot shot firefighters. Funds were also used to pay for a memorial service, airfare, lodging and local transportation for family members to attend memorial services, and to deliver the fallen firefighters to their final resting places and to pay for their individual funerals.

To donate to the 100 Club of Arizona click here.

A 2012 Global ReLeaf project in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest works to restore a landscape burned in the 2010 Rooster Rock Fire. (Credit: U.S. Forest Service)

A 2012 Global ReLeaf project in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest works to restore a landscape burned in the 2010 Rooster Rock Fire. (Credit: U.S. Forest Service)

American Forests – Global ReLeaf protecting and restoring forests, helping to preserve the health of our planet for the benefit of its inhabitants

While wildfires provide natural benefits such as replenishing landscapes by returning nutrients to the soil when they are unable to be contained, they can wreak nearly irreparable damage on forests. After a wildfire destroys a forest sometimes the only option is to replant the trees that once stood in the now barren land. Replanting helps to restore ecosystems, prevent erosion and regenerates seed sources to prevent harmful weeds taking over the affected area.

The restoration of forests has a direct result on our plant’s climate. By absorbing the sun’s heat, trees cool the air. A tree’s tissue also stores carbon dioxide. Without this storage space, carbon dioxide would return to the atmosphere increasing the greenhouse gas effect to our environment. Forests are essential to reducing the impacts of climate change. The organization, American Forests, is working hard to ensure we have more trees and a healthier environment for the future.

American Forests Global ReLeaf projects help to restore forest ecosystems in all 50 U.S. states and in 44 countries world wide that have been damaged by wildfire, pests, disease, deforestation and other natural disasters. Since 1990 the organization has planted more then 44 million trees and as part of their grant program 25 new projects were selected in 2013 to reforest areas in 14 states and five countries.  In addition to restoring ecosystems and protecting habitats American Forests offers several educational programs and tools to raise awareness and engage citizens in the benefits of forests and trees.

You can donate some green to help American Forests – Global ReLeaf project’s plant more green here.

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If you know of other organizations that provide relief after wildfires or any organization providing specific relief to the communities affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire, please share them with us and our blog’s readers.

The Collaborative Services Team

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Hurricane Sandy One Year Later

Credit: Reuters

A Staten Island resident changes the numbers on a sign across the street from where her house once stood.
(Credit: Reuters/International Business Times)

Just over a year ago, on October 29th, Hurricane Sandy touched down in New Jersey just south of Atlantic City. An estimated 160 people were killed in the U.S alone, and 69 more throughout Canada and the Caribbean.  Thousands were displaced from their homes and an estimated 650,000 structures including at least 366,000 structures in New York and New Jersey were damaged. Today the rebuilding effort is ongoing and the residents of  27,000 households in New York and New Jersey are still displaced.

More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and by 2020 10.4 percent of this population is expected to live in “mega-cities” – 10 million people or more increasing the exposure to more extreme storms, especially in coastal areas like those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The effort to rebuild homes lost to Sandy has not been a quick or easy one. This week we highlight the organizations that were on the ground providing emergency assistance after Sandy and have stayed committed to the long-term recovery of the affected communities. Listed below are some of the organizations working on the rebuilding efforts and ways you can contribute.

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Rebuilding Together and Sears Heroes at Home volunteers landscaping to help three homeowners in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy flooded several feet of water into their home.  (Credit: Rebuilding Toegther)

Rebuilding Together and Sears Heroes at Home volunteers landscaping to help three homeowners in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood after Hurricane Sandy flooded several feet of water into their home.
(Credit: Rebuilding Toegther)

Rebuilding Together everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home

This organization provides structural repairs,  accessibility modifications and energy efficient upgrades to low-income homes and community centers at no cost to the recipients. They have been at it for nearly 25 years. Through its affiliates in New York City, Long Island, Bergen County, Jersey City, and Essex County and with the help of 3,150 volunteers Rebuilding Together has assisted more than 430 people and repaired more than 200 homes and community centers impacted by Hurricane Sandy. At this year’s Super Bowl, being held in New Jersey,  Rebuilding Together will partner with the NFL, Lowe’s, Carter’s Kids, and The American Red Cross as part of their Kick off to Rebuild event that will benefit families in Bergen County, New Jersey.  You can watch their web series on their efforts to rebuild after Sandy here and can donate to the Rebuilding Together here.

Waves for Waterproviding clean water to communities in need around the world

While this organization typically focuses on providing clean water to people living in impoverished areas around the world they, jumped into action to help with initial survival needs including first responder assistance, rubble removal, and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Sandy. To date, Waves for Water has raised $1,387,289 as part of their Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative and focused their efforts on some of the hardest hit surf-based coastal communities in New Jersey and New York. Waves for Water used their organization as a bridge to connect the global surf community to those in need along the East Coast and even held supplies drives in Southern California, many in our firm’s hometown of San Diego County, where they collected everything from diapers to shovels to space heaters to bedding for the families in need. The organization recently released the first edition of their Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative Impact Report which can be viewed here.  To donate to Waves for Water or start a fundraiser through their organization for the Hurricane Sandy relief effort, click here.

Credit: Waves for Water

Credit: Waves for Water

The Robin Hood Relief Funddedicated to fighting poverty in New York City

On December 12th, 2012 a historic and star-studded concert was held in in New York City at Madison Square Garden to benefit the Robin Hood Relief Fund for communities in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The concert received $73 million in contributions from all 50 states and more than 90 countries. 100% of the proceeds went to hundreds of non-profit organizations working directly with affected communities. The majority of Robin Hood Hurricane Sandy relief funds have gone  to housing, including rental assistance, new construction, repairs, mold remediation, and moving fees.

Robin Hood is the largest independent poverty fighting organization in the New York City area. Since 1988, it has worked to find, fund, and create programs and schools benefiting families in New York’s poorest neighborhoods and distributed contributions to hundreds of soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools, job training programs, and other vital services.  To donate to the Robin Hood Relief Fund for Hurricane Sandy click here.

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We thank these organizations for jumping in to help our neighbors in need. If you know of other organizations helping the Hurricane Sandy relief and rebuilding effort please share them with us.

The Collaborative Services Team

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Typhoon Haiyan

A satellite image of Typhoon Haiyan. (Credit: EUMETSAT)

A satellite image of Typhoon Haiyan.
(Credit: EUMETSAT)

We start our December series on charitable giving and natural disaster relief efforts with the most immediate need. Super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) touched down in Philippines  just over a month ago reaching its peak on November 7, 2103. Haiyan is deadliest typhoon in the Philippines history and has killed more than 5,700 people so far with the death toll rising daily. Haiyan caused catastrophic damage to the archipelago that makes up the Phillippines, including devastating the coastal city of Tacloban, home to 220,000 people before the typhoon, leaving it to be entirely re-built.

The most immediate needs are for medical aid, drinking water, food, and shelter. With millions left homeless, rampant looting, and more than 600 schools destroyed it will take a world wide effort to help rebuild and restore normal life to the Philippines.

Survivors stand among the debris in Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan. (Credit: Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Survivors stand among the debris in Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan.
(Credit: Erik De Castro/Reuters)

Our country’s diversity connects us to many communities throughout the world. So when disaster strikes whether at home or far away, it resonates with us. This is true of Typhoon Haiyan as well. There are at least 3.4 million people of Filipino descent living in the U.S., most of whom reside in California according to the U.S. census. So although this typhoon geographically was far from here, it hit close to home for many of our friends and colleagues.

Many organizations sprang into action after Typhoon Haiyan hit and have been working on the ground to provide aid ever since. Listed below are just a few of the organizations currently working in the Philippines that need your support. All donations are tax deductible.

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A member of the IRC distributes aid in the Philippines. (Credit: The International Rescue Committee)

A member of the IRC distributes aid in the Philippines.
(Credit: The International Rescue Committee)

The International Rescue Committee (IRC)leading the way from harm to home
Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein the IRC offers life-saving care and life-changing assistance to refugees fleeing from war or disaster. Today they operate in more than 40 countries and 22 cities across the U.S. and work to help people survive and re-build after the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

An emergency response team has been dispatched by the IRC to the Philippines and will lead efforts related to four critical humanitarian needs: health, food, water and sanitation, and shelter and non-food items. They will work closely with programs to protect some of the most vulnerable groups including women, children and the elderly. Updates from the IRC’s emergency response efforts are available on their website  and on Twitter at @theIRC.

You can donate to the IRC’s Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts here. All donations made online until December 31 will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $1 million dollars by the IRC.

Action Against Hunger/ACF International – committed to ending world hunger     
Action Against Hunger/ACF International is a humanitarian organization committed to ending world hunger. A recognized leader in the fight against malnutrition, Action Against Hunger/ACF International has been working in emergency situations of conflict, natural disaster, and chronic food insecurity to provide access to safe water and sustainable solutions to hunger for the past thirty years. Action Against Hunger/ACF International has more than 5,00 field staff  in forty three countries and assists an estimated 7 million people each year through their capacity building program that collaborates with various governments.

Action Against Hunger distributed hundreds of hygiene kits to displaced families in the Iloilo Province of the Philippines. (Credit: Action Against Hunger/ACF International)

Action Against Hunger/ACF International distributed hundreds of hygiene kits to displaced families in the Iloilo Province of the Philippines.
(Credit: Action Against Hunger/ACF International)

The organization has been working in the Philippines since 2000 so their experts in the area were able to form an immediate post-typhoon emergency response. On-the-ground experts have been conducting needs assessments, setting up water filtration systems, distributing drinking water, and preparing survival kits that include buckets, soap, and chlorine tablets for the some 650,000 survivors. They are also working to restore economic self-sufficiency to the most vulnerable areas of Tacloban and Capiz.

To donate to Action Against Hunger/ACF International’s Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts click here.

A member of the International Medical Corps checks an infants heart rate on Homonhon Island. (Credit: International Medical Corps)

A member of the International Medical Corps checks an infants heart rate on Homonhon Island.
(Credit: International Medical Corps)

International Medical Corps – saving lives and relieving suffering
Established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses, International Medical Corps is is a global, humanitarian, nonprofit organization that’s mission is to improve the quality of life through health interventions and related activities that build local capacity in underserved communities around the world. The International Medical Corps works to rehabilitate devastated health care systems and restore them to self-reliance through trainings to local populations and immediate medical assistance to people with the highest risk.

In partnership with the Philippine Department of Health and other humanitarian organizations the International Medical Crops emergency response team on the ground in the Philippines is providing food, water, and medical services via ten mobile medical units in the hardest hit areas. The mobile medical units have been able to provide services on hard to reach islands that are in desperate need of medical care and basic resources. Other top priorities for the International Medical Corps in the Philippines include ensuring basic water supplies, sanitation and hygiene and infection control.

You can donate to the International Medical Corps Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts here.

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If you know of a relief organization helping the people of the Philippines recover, please feel free to share it with us.

The Collaborative Services Team 

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The Season of Giving

Credit: Lethbridge Soup Kitchen

Credit: Lethbridge Soup Kitchen

Last month we focused on renewable energy  to lessen our carbon footprint and in so doing reduce the effects of climate change in the future – such as more extreme natural disaster events.

Now in December — the season of giving — we’re focusing on how you can give to offset some of the damage caused by the natural disasters we saw this year. Contributions help provide immediate and ongoing medical care, shelter, food, drinking water and the materials and support to rebuild.

All of us can prepare for natural disasters, but we can’t prevent them, and when they happen, it takes a world wide effort to recover.For example, Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast killing at least 1,836 people and leaving 80 percent of New Orleans flooded. More than 70 countries pledged assistance and monetary donations with Kuwait providing the single largest pledge of $500 million. In Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, there was an outbreak of cholera. Andorra and Australia ponied up the most monetary contributions in response. And today in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan struck on November 8th, the United States has provided at least 1,000 military tops to support humanitarian relief efforts along with $20 million dollars for the same.

An aerial photo of the flooding in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina. (Credit: photo file)

An aerial photo of the flooding in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina.
(Credit: photo file)

This month when you are out shopping of the perfect gift, remember that victims of natural disasters are still coping with immediate needs of shelter, water, and food. Tis the season for giving, so throughout the month we’ll feature organizations that you can donate to for relief efforts around the world.

The Collaborative Services Team

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