United Way of the Wine Country has been dedicated to improving lives locally for 50 years. Everyone deserves a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, income that can support a family through retirement, and good health. To create lasting change, United Way focuses on solving the underlying causes of common problems related to education, income and health. We are committed to achieving lasting solutions - not just quick fixes - for our entire community.
Due to the Kincade Fire, United Way has opened the Kincade Fire Emergency Relief & Recovery Fund to help in the relief and recovery efforts post-fire. All gifts made via our website will be directed to the fund until further notice.
Thank you for your support,
United Way of the Wine Country Board & Staff
United Way of the Wine Country
Rich Rhodes, Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
United Way of the Wine Country Launches
New Fund to Support Residents, Neighborhoods,
And Communities in Need
Santa Rosa, Calif., October 30, 2019 – United Way of the Wine Country (UWWC) is launching the Kincade Fire Emergency Relief & Recovery Fund with seed funding from Community Foundation Sonoma County. The purpose of United Way fund will be to support Kincade fire survivors and evacuees and the need for immediate relief, response and recovery efforts while the Community Foundation’s Resilience Fund will focus on long-term recovery and rebuilding needs.
The 77,000 acre fire has forced the evacuation of over 185,000 residents – 40% of the county population - from their homes while destroying homes and threatening neighborhoods that are rebuilding after the 2017 Tubbs fire. First responders including over 5,000 fire fighters and hundreds of pieces of fire-fighting equipment, are battling historic Diablo winds, treacherous terrain and an overabundance of fuels on the ground while local government officials and dozens of community organizations provide thousands with shelter, food, transportation services, medical and mental health support, and veterinary care to sheltered small and large animals.
Lisa Carreño, President/CEO, advised: “United Way of the Wine Country mobilizes the caring power of our communities. The growing fire emergency and its impacts on seniors, children, people with disabilities and special needs, low- and moderate-income families, and multiply-marginalized individuals already struggling to stay afloat, demand United Way’s attention. We don’t know what the next few days and weeks will bring, but we do know there will be losses – homes, wages, and livelihoods along with the cherished stuff that makes ordinary lives special. With rent and mortgage payments due in a few days, we don’t want people to be forced to choose between shelter, food and their families well-being.”
Henri Komrij, Board Chair and Vice President & General Manager at Keysight Technologies, added: “The 2017 wildfires showed us all how important community support is when you’ve lost everything. The Kincade fire reminds us that community ties are critical to surviving and overcoming the trauma we share.”
Elizabeth Brown, President & CEO of Community Foundation Sonoma County, stated: “While the scope of this disaster isn’t yet known, we have faith that United Way will be able to offer the immediate relief our community needs, and are grateful to the donors who have already contributed to support Sonoma County as we begin to recover.”
“Once damages are assessed and needs are clearer, UWWC will develop our funding strategy based on the amount of funding that we are able to secure,” reported Jennifer O’Donnell, Executive Vice-President, who has been overseeing United Way’s fire relief grants to individuals, neighborhoods and other strategic partners since 2017.
About United Way of the Wine Country
For over 50 years, United Way of the Wine Country has been dedicated to improving lives locally through lasting solutions for residents in addition to serving as a vital link for nonprofit organizations, businesses and government leaders in Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Del Norte counties. With a goal to advance the common good by focusing on what matters most in education, financial stability, and health, the United Way of the Wine Country strengthens communities by raising funds, advocating for programs that help people in need, and increasing volunteerism. For more information, visit www.unitedwaywinecountry.org.