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Donations lift Oregon Wildfire Recovery Fund to $5 million

Vehicles Hwy. 22 burned by fire FEMA
Dominick Del Vecchio/FEMA
Burned vehicles along state Hwy. 22 in area hit by wildfire

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Oregon’s three largest foundations announced new donations Monday to the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund, a pooled philanthropic fund dedicated to helping Oregon communities recover from the state’s worst fire season on record.

Announced by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Sept. 14, commitments to the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund grew to $5 million in just two weeks, thanks to support from thousands of individual donors, companies like the Beaverton-based Nike Foundation and businesses with strong connections to the Pacific Northwest.

When Gov. Brown asked The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust and Oregon Community Foundation to collaboratively manage the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund, they responded by providing $3 million in seed funding.

The goal: to gather resources and begin planning for what comes next after the extraordinary devastation brought by wildfires across a state already reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and consequences of racial injustice.

The 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund will focus on supporting communities and Oregonians it hard from the devastating wildfires over the long-term, allowing national and local relief organizations to continue addressing people’s urgent and immediate needs.

“If there’s one thing we can always count on in a crisis, it’s the generosity of Oregonians,” Brown said. “The outpouring of donations and support in recent days, large and small, has been truly inspiring. I’d like to thank the Oregon Community Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, The Ford Family Foundation and their partners for leading this effort to help Oregon families impacted by these devastating wildfires.”

The partnership of these three foundations will magnify donor impact and ensure that each organization’s unique expertise is part of the effort.

  • The Ford Family Foundation, with roots in Southern Oregon, has a deep understanding of rural Oregonians and has worked closely with many of the towns and communities
  • Meyer Memorial Trust focuses on ensuring the most vulnerable Oregonians flourish, and is committed to making sure that particularly hard hit Latinx, Tribal and timber communities are centered in rebuilding efforts.
  • Oregon Community Foundation will provide infrastructure for the fund and utilize its experience mobilizing and deploying statewide resources to communities where they are needed most, and activate experience bringing together rural and urban communities, diverse community leaders and donors.

The three foundations are collaboratively managing the pooled fund to address the state’s mid- to long-term needs to rebuild systems of support for communities, including housing, health care, education and employment. The state’s vulnerable residents — Latinx, Tribal and rural communities — have been disproportionately impacted by the wildfire and will be a core focus of 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund grants.

“A core part of Meyer’s mission for a flourishing and equitable Oregon calls us to join with other Oregonians in moments of severe crisis to support the resiliency of communities facing hardships,” said Michelle J. DePass, president and CEO of Meyer Memorial Trust. “Within these wildfires, the underlying injustices caused by systemic racism and economic inequality are intersecting, exacerbating historic disparities with new risk, trauma and harm.”

The Nike Foundation is among several private foundations and businesses with strong ties and 0perations in Oregon, committing funds to ensure that Oregon’s recovery leaves no community or Oregonian behind.

“Now is the time to come together to support our fellow Oregonians and the communities that have been impacted across our treasured state,” said Jorge Casimiro, president of the Nike Foundation. “Nike’s roots in Oregon run deep, and we’re proud to join other Oregon foundations, companies and individuals to support the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund with a $750,000 donation from the Nike Foundation.”

Facebook also has contributed to the fund.

“Oregon has been our home since 2010, when we broke ground on our Prineville Data Center, and our heart goes out to all those who have been affected by the devastating wildfires across the state, said William Marks, Facebook's community development regional manager. "We’re proud to partner with the Oregon Community Foundation and other foundations, companies and thousands of individual donors to help provide relief to those in need through the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund. Our thanks also goes to Fortis Construction for joining us in support of the fund.” 

Foundation leaders expect the fund to continue to grow over the coming months as businesses and individuals recognize the importance of supporting diverse communities across Oregon over the long-term and invest in the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund.

“This fund says a lot about the strength of our collective commitment to the future of Oregon," said Anne Kubisch, president of The Ford Family Foundation. "For years The Ford Family Foundation has built long term relationships with partners in communities severely affected by the wildfires. We'll keep listening to rural residents, leaders and organizations to learn how we can best support them through local efforts. We're here for the long haul."

“In one of Oregon’s most difficult moments, Oregonians continue to step up,” said Max Williams, President and CEO of Oregon Community Foundation. “We have a long road ahead, but we are heartened by the willingness of diverse organizations and our partners, who are pulling together collaboratively to multiply our impact. Together, we’ll support each other through this time of crisis and suffering, and together will rebuild Oregon.”

About The Ford Family Foundation

The Ford Family Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation with headquarters in Roseburg, Oregon — timber country. The Foundation makes grants to public charities and agencies predominantly benefiting communities in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif. In addition, the Foundation designs, manages and funds programs that aim to improve the wellbeing of children, families and communities in our region, including a scholarship program for students attending college or university. Our mission is “successful citizens and vital rural communities,” and we invest in both people and places to achieve that mission. Learn more at tfff.org.

About Meyer Memorial Trust

One of the largest private funders in Oregon, Meyer Memorial Trust commits its position, resources and energies to dismantling barriers to equity and improving community conditions to that all Oregonians can reach their full potential. Established in 1982 from the estate of  grocery store founder Fred G. Meyer, Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded grants and program-related investments in excess of $834 million to more than 3,400 organizations. With current assets of approximately $840 million, Meyer focuses on work in Oregon in four areas Oregonians have identified as crucial to making the state better for all its residents: housing, education, the environment and building stronger communities. In July, the foundation established its largest initiative to date, Justice Oregon for Black Lives, a $25 million commitment over five years to invest in Black-led and Black-serving organizations, reimagine public safety and support large-scale systems change. Learn more at mmt.org.

About Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) puts donated money to work in Oregon — more than $100 million in grants and scholarships annually. For nearly 50 years, OCF grantmaking, research, advocacy and community-advised solutions have helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations create charitable funds to improve lives for all Oregonians. Impactful giving–time, talent and resources from many generous Oregonians–creates measurable change. Learn more at oregoncf.org

For more information and to take action to support the 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund, visit oregoncf.org/oregon-wildfire-relief-recovery/.

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