PASADENA, Calif. — Nearly a year after the devastating Thomas Fire, Ventura County individuals, families and businesses continue to be impacted. To boost recovery efforts, Kaiser Permanente Southern California this month funded a group of one-year grants to support 10 nonprofit organizations in Ventura, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Camarillo. The grants totaling $570,000 range from $35,000 to $75,000 each.
The funds will be used to:
- Enhance vulnerable populations’ access to essential post-disaster recovery services and resources
- Improve residents’ mental health and wellness.
- Increase survivors’ financial stability.
- Strengthen the organizational capacity of nonprofit and community-based organizations that were financially impacted. This includes developing grants and creating disaster relief emergency contingency plans/protocols to sustain operations during and after an emergency or natural disaster.
“Full recovery from these devastating fires is complicated and takes time, so this contribution of $570,000 for the Thomas Fire is an extension of our commitment to our Kaiser Permanente members, their families and the communities we serve,” said Julie Miller-Phipps, president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Over the past year, we have contributed more than $1 million toward wildfire recovery in Southern California, including the Thomas Fire.”
As nonprofit organizations in Ventura County topped off 2017 with holiday fundraising events and donation request letters, the Thomas Fire hit on December 4, claiming lives, destroying homes and closing businesses. The tragedy became the second largest wildfire in California history, affecting numerous charities, many of which were first-responder organizations.
“They all stepped up — and stepped in — to do what they could to assist those in need,” said Dena Jenson, director, Center for Nonprofit Leadership at California Lutheran University.
The center is one of the grant recipients. Shortly after the Thomas Fire ignited, the Center convened a Thomas Fire Nonprofit Taskforce composed of dozens of disaster response and nonemergency responding agencies to focus on community recovery efforts.
“We deeply appreciate the Kaiser Permanente funding,” said Jenson. “This will allow the Center to build and strengthen the financial capacity for our nonprofit organizations and increase their ability to adapt and respond to a disaster. It’s a natural extension of our core mission and what we already do 24/7.”
The Center plans to establish a Nonprofit Leadership Resiliency Academy to enhance fundraising policies and financial practices for 18 nonprofit organizations in Ventura County. Tapping into the taskforce, the Center will recruit a group of nine organizations in October, and another nine in December, that demonstrate readiness to evaluate their business model through a different lens.
“We don’t know when the next disaster will be — but we know there will be a next time,” said Jenson. “Our goal is to develop our program in a way that is replicable, scalable and can be shared with other communities to help all of us be better prepared.”
Last year, Kaiser Permanente contributed financial resources to relief and recovery efforts following several major natural disasters nationwide. In Southern California, Kaiser Permanente donated $600,000 in December 2017 to the United Way of Ventura County and the American Red Cross to provide immediate support for relief efforts in communities impacted by multiple wildfires, including the Thomas Fire. Continuing that commitment, Kaiser Permanente community health staff met in 2018 with Ventura County partners and organizations affected by the Thomas Fire to learn about their ongoing needs and assess how to best support recovery efforts.
“As Ventura County recovers from the devastating Thomas Fire, Kaiser Permanente remains committed to investing in local efforts to address residents’ most critical needs,” said Sandra Silva, director of community health, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “The nonprofit organizations we have partnered with demonstrate their ongoing dedication to improving the lives of the people they serve every day.”
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.