CDP Colorado Wildfires Recovery Fund announces final grant and fund closeout

Students using Magnitiles to recreate shelters for animals impacted by wildfires in Colorado. (Photo courtesy of Impact on Education)

In October 2020, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy opened the CDP Colorado Wildfires Recovery Fund with encouragement and support from Governor Jared Polis and his team to help fund recovery from the historic 2020 Colorado wildfire season. That season saw massive destruction from the Cameron Peak Fire, the East Troublesome Fire and the Pine Gulch Fire in the state.

Three years and multiple wildfires – including the devastating Marshall Fire of 2021 – later, CDP is pleased to announce the final grant award and closing of this recovery fund.

Fund focus

Over the past three years, CDP raised and granted about $1.7 million to support recovery from wildfires across Colorado. Generous donors throughout the U.S. allowed us to support:

  • Expanding local capacity for recovery.
  • Local community recovery groups and their efforts to coordinate resources.
  • Reforestation, protecting the watershed and other efforts to address the effects of climate change on the environment to mitigate future devastating damage.
  • Providing trauma-informed care and psycho-social support for communities as they recover from disasters.

Thank you to our donors!

We could not do what we do without numerous partners, friends and donors. Thank you to everyone who helped us support the state of Colorado and the communities affected by these wildfires over the past three years. Major donors and partners to the CDP Colorado Wildfires Recovery Fund include:

  • General Motors Company
  • Bohemian Foundation
  • Fidelity Foundation
  • UKG – Ultimate Kronos Group
  • Custom Microwave, Inc.
  • The Finkelstein Family
  • Mary and Dan Druml Charitable Fund
  • Kelley Ryan

Our grantee partners

Our most recent and final grant from the fund is a second grant to the Impact on Education Foundation for Boulder Valley Schools. Their first grant, $309,696 awarded in March 2022, supported hiring four mental health advocates (MHAs) for the school district’s seven schools most affected by the Marshall Fire. This second grant awarded $441,000 to the foundation to expand this program with a total of nine MHAs and the expansion of “wellness centers” into all five high schools in the district.

The following grants were awarded in previous rounds.

  • The Grand Foundation received $194,840 to build its organizational capacity for long-term recovery. They hired a disaster coordinator for the long-term recovery group, supported the disaster case management process and hired a liaison to help with volunteer and construction coordination. This allowed the Grand Foundation to help keep the local focus on this community’s recovery from the East Troublesome Fire, which affected more than 20% of the county.
  • Marshall ROC (Restoring Our Community), the local long-term recovery group, received $250,000 to provide the Marshall Fire Recovery Center in a centralized location to expedite the access and delivery of disaster-related services and resources. The center, which opened last fall, houses Recovery Navigators providing disaster case management support to fire survivors in Superior, Louisville and unincorporated Boulder County as they navigate the complexity of their recovery. The center also provides space for mental health and technical professionals to help facilitate coordination and collaboration among local, national and government organizations supporting recovery.
  • The National Fish and Wildlife Federation received $250,000 in 2021 to help communities restore natural resources, particularly river and stream corridors, water quality, and essential wildlife habitat significantly affected by the fires in 2020. The project assists in preparation and mitigation efforts in Grand County and other areas of western Colorado previously without active forest management activities.
  • The Nature Conservancy in Colorado received $100,000 to expand local capacity for climate-forward reforestation of the Calwood and Cameron Peak burn scars. Wildfires pose a tremendous threat to forests, water and infrastructure, and reforestation is essential in reducing these impacts on surrounding communities. The funded project evaluated gaps in seed stock and prioritized collection areas, created a seed tree network, and trained land managers in native cone collection. These efforts build resilience and prevent future devastation from fires and other effects of climate change.
  • And finally, $60,000 of a total grant of $250,000 went to the Disaster Leadership Team to support expanding the capacity for long-term recovery in disaster-affected communities in Colorado. The DLT team provides mentorship and support to long-term recovery groups and others engaged in community-led recovery from disaster.

CDP’s commitment to Colorado continues

Though we no longer maintain a fund specific to Colorado wildfires, CDP remains committed to supporting our funding, grantee and community partners in Colorado as they prepare for, respond to and recover from climate-caused disasters throughout the state. Local community foundations and place-based funders in Colorado continue to step up for the areas they serve, and we support their efforts to understand how best to engage with disaster-affected cities, towns and counties. And, should another disaster impact the state of Colorado, we stand ready to help direct funds toward recovery through our CDP Disaster Recovery Fund, which allows donors to target contributions to meet specific philanthropic goals for any domestic disaster.

We are grateful for the friends we’ve made in Colorado and look forward to continuing our partnership for an equitable recovery for all Coloradans.

Sally Ray

Sally Ray

Director, Domestic Funds