Welcome to United Way of the Wine Country

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.

Disaster Relief - Flood Recovery & Wellness Fund

United Way of the Wine Country Launches Flood Recovery and Wellness Fund

New Fund to Support Residents, Neighborhoods, and Communities in Need

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Santa Rosa, Calif., March 4, 2019 – United Way of the Wine Country (UWWC) is launching the Sonoma County Flood Recovery and Wellness Fund. The purpose of the fund will be to support flood survivors to get back on their feet. All funds raised will be used to support flood relief through agency partners in the region. Visit unitedwaywinecountry.org or call 707-528-4485 to support the fund.

Flooding this week caused an estimated $155 million in damage. There is damage to an estimated 2,600 properties. About 1,900 homes were affected, with 1,760 sustaining major damage. In addition, an estimated 578 businesses were impacted, forcing many to consider whether to reopen.

Lisa Carreño, President/CEO, advised: “The extent of the recent flooding and its impact on families, especially low- and moderate-income families along the Russian River, Laguna de Santa Rosa, and small businesses in the region demand our attention. Every family and every business matters as we recover and rebuild from fire and flooding. We need to rally around them, because our recovery will be stronger if we can rebuild together.”

Karissa Kruse, United Way Board Chair and President of Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, added: “We are hopeful that we can once again tap into the caring power of our community.  We understand that there may be donor fatigue around what feels like yet another disaster, but that does not diminish the help that our neighbors need now.” 

“Once the damage has been assessed and the 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.

Flood Recovery & Wellness Fund FAQs:

  1. What about overhead costs, or is every dollar going to victims? All funds raised will be applied to the flood relief effort. Uses for funds raised may include agency case management, advocacy, and direct support and aid for flood survivors. 
  2. Who will determine where the funds will go? United Way will work with and through agency partners in the region to distribute funds raised based on the needs identified.
  3. Will insurance make a difference in who gets money? United Way is uncertain how successful we will be with this effort, and funds available to award may be very limited. We intend for funds raised to go to those with the greatest need and fewest resources – people with low and moderate incomes, seniors, families with children, the uninsured - who were displaced from their homes by flooding. We will rely on agency partners to grant funds so that these priority populations receive needed supported.
  4. Will there be an application process for individuals? No, United Way intends to do grantmaking to agencies rather than making gifts to individuals.
  5. When will money be available to community members affected by the floods? UPDATE:  United Way will accept donations to the fund through May 31, 2019. United Way will begin distributing fund to agencies during the first two weeks of April 2019.  United Way will be distributing funds through the following agency partners:  West County Community Services and CAP Sonoma County.


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