Epic Neighborliness: $1.7 million for Flood Relief
As of January 31st, thanks to the stunning generosity of our community members and neighbors, the Resilience Fund of the Whatcom Community Foundation, in partnership with Whatcom Strong, now known as the Whatcom Long Term Recovery Group, made grants totaling $1,701,199 to organizations working on the ground in the communities impacted by flood.
The funds have made it possible for organizations to distribute direct aid (checks and gift cards) for necessities like food, shelter, and gas, as well as storage and cleanup supplies, such as bins, work gloves and fans. The funds also support increased food services via area food banks. Primary organizations that have received funding to date are Sumas Advent Christian Church, Valley Church (Nooksack), Haven Church (Everson), First Reformed Church of Lynden, Ferndale Community Resource Center, Food banks in affected communities, Catholic Community Services and North Sound ACH, among others.
“We are so grateful to those who have donated to the Resilience Fund and humbled to be a part of disbursing that funding. We’ve focused our efforts on families in the Nooksack area that had flood waters inside their homes. The need is overwhelming, but this support has been a boost to people, letting them know they are not alone – that people care,” said Kyle Hopkins, Lead Pastor, Valley Church in Everson.
Total costs associated with the floods are currently estimated at $100 million and may go higher. Right now, there simply is not enough money to give people everything they need to return to pre-flood conditions. Many families whose houses are uninhabitable remain in hotels, which makes meal preparation, childcare, transportation, and pet care a major challenge. We continue to work closely with community partners to support people through these challenging days and are so grateful for the community’s continued gifts to the Resilience Fund. More grants went out this week to help support our neighbors with the greatest needs.
Philanthropy, such as the Resilience Fund, is the fastest and most flexible money available in a crisis: it is private money for public good. Philanthropic dollars are critical to help stabilize people, and they are nowhere near enough to solve the long-term challenges associated with a disaster. Lasting solutions for housing, infrastructure and business recovery hinge on local, state and government relief and recovery funding. Our staff is working with both the Long-term Recovery Task Force and the Human Services Branch of the Office of Emergency Management.
The Resilience Fund is our community’s emergency bounce-back fund. It puts philanthropic (i.e. private) dollars to work providing emergency assistance, such as financial support, food or childcare, to our community’s most vulnerable neighbors as fast as possible in a crisis, whether a pandemic, a flood or other disaster. Every dollar raised here stays here and 100% of all donations made to the Resilience Fund are currently being granted for flood relief.
The Whatcom Community Foundation not only steps up when disaster strikes. Our day-to-day work is to connect people, ideas, and resources so that everyone in Whatcom County can thrive. The Foundation has been serving Whatcom County for 25 years and has invested more than $53 million toward community health, happiness and prosperity since 1996.