Our hearts go out to the people of Maui—and all of Hawaii—in light of the tragic fires that started early in August. By all accounts, it will take years, if not decades, to recover and to rebuild from this disaster. Restoration costs are already estimated at more than $5.5 billion, although only time will tell just how much time and money will be needed.
As if that wasn't enough, much of the United States slogged through what has been called the hottest summer ever—and July as the hottest month ever—with uncomfortably high temperatures affecting land and sea even before the start of hurricane season. And then there was Hurricane Hilary and a simultaneous magnitude 5.1 earthquake that struck Southern California. To round out the month, Hurricane Idalia made landfall on August 30, with extensive damage reported and tens of billions of dollars of losses projected.
Fortunately, community foundations are well-suited to facilitate and manage relief funds for disasters and humanitarian tragedies, no matter where they occur. Certainly local community foundations in the areas most affected by a disaster consistently jump in immediately to establish funds to accept donations, which the local community foundation then deploys rapidly and effectively to high-performing nonprofit organizations that are delivering relief where it is needed most urgently.
Even community foundations and other charitable foundations that lie outside of affected geographic areas are committed to responding quickly by launching their own fundraising efforts, either promoting the funds established by community foundations in the affected areas or their own funds created to directly support relief efforts. Indeed, disaster relief funding is frequently coordinated by community foundations, which are widely viewed as one of the very best vehicles to help donors provide financial support to relief efforts. Community foundations understand, for example, that the most immediate needs in the wake of a disaster are often for food, shelter, water, and hygiene kits. In addition, local community foundations know which nonprofit organizations on the ground are best qualified to meet those needs.
The Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) actively partners with its donors and other area funders to address the critical needs of local citizens impacted by area disasters. In 2016, the Foundation rallied support from local individuals and businesses and collected donations to fund flood-relief efforts in southern West Virginia, deploying more than $35,000 in aid to organizations - including West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Red Cross. Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the PACF partnered with area donors and the Sisters Health Foundation to award nearly $500,000 to a wide variety of area nonprofits that delivered essential services in the PACF's 11-county service area.
With a deep understanding of philanthropy and charitable giving tools to effect meaningful change, the team at the PACF is here for you. Whether your interests include disaster relief, education, the arts, social services, or other causes near and dear to your heart, we can help you fulfill your goals and intentions.