news.cuna.org/articles/118926-redwood-cu-2020-fire-relief-fund-distributes-424420
Fires3

Redwood CU 2020 Fire Relief Fund distributes $424,420

January 13, 2021

The Redwood Credit Union Community Fund (RCUCF) announced the 2020 Fire Relief Fund has collected and disbursed $424,420 from 847 donors to support the immediate needs of fire survivors.

Recognizing that fire season has become a recurring event, RCUCF decided to proactively open a dedicated 2020 Fire Relief Fund before disaster struck. From the Fund, one hundred percent of the tax-deductible donations from individuals and businesses were given to fire survivors—in four local counties—who lost their primary residence or experienced significant financial hardship due to evacuation or fire-related income loss⁠.

RCU donated the staff time to administer distribution of the funds and worked with these nonprofit partners to support families:

  • North Coast Opportunities and Catholic Charities in Lake County;
  • Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership and Catholic Charities in Napa County;
  • West Marin Community Services in Marin; and
  • Community Action Partnership, Corazon Healdsburg, and Catholic Charities in Sonoma.

In total, the Fund provided direct assistance to more than 543 households and 81 school children. In keeping with the goal to provide immediate relief, the Fund closed on January 4, exactly four months after its opening.

“RCUCF stands ready to help when needed, but in a year as challenging as 2020, it’s been critical to have the support of local businesses and nonprofits too,” said Cynthia Negri, President of the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund. "We mobilized quickly to get money to families that desperately needed help.”

In Napa County where the home loss was greatest, RCUCF initiated a separate $75,000 matching challenge grant. Promoted by the Napa Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and residents stepped up to fully meet it, doubling the impact of their donations and raising an additional $150,000 (included in the above $424,420 total).

Developed in 2013 to support financial wellness and education, RCUCF received 501(c)(3) status in 2015 to expand its mission to also address immediate disaster relief in response to regional wildfires and floods in the communities RCU serves