Paradise, California four months after the Camp Fire.


Lives, houses, vehicles and entire towns were lost in the ravaging fires that swept through California in November. In the north, the Camp Fire in Butte County burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,733 structures, killed at least including 88 people, making it the most destructive and deadliest fire in California history. In the south, the Woolsey Fire claimed three lives, burned 96,949 acres and destroyed 1,500 structures.

In response to these wildfires, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy has launched the CDP California Wildfires Recovery Fund. As with most disasters, cash donations are recommended by disaster experts as they allow for on-the-ground agencies to direct funds to the greatest area of need, support economic recovery and ensure donation management doesn’t detract from disaster recovery needs.

CDP knows that while immediate needs must be met, lives must be saved and vital functions restored, the disaster cycle does not end there. Act now so we do not miss the opportunity to support strategic medium-  to long-term recovery.

With your support, CDP experts on staff will work with local NGOs and other agencies to assess the long-term needs. With an emphasis on recovery, you can rest assured that your contribution will allow CDP to:

  • Support vulnerable populations, especially the elderly whose lives and livelihoods will have been devastated.
  • Fill in gaps where public resources are unavailable or scarce.
  • Foster collaborative relationships among donors – including the sharing of information with funders and nonprofit organizations.
  • Promote cross-sector coordination with government agencies, academics, donors, think tanks and public/private humanitarian actors.

The programmatic expertise of CDP’s board, staff and advisory council – paired with an extensive network of disaster management actors and academics – guides our grantmaking strategy. Emphasis is placed on investing well rather than investing quickly – addressing the greatest needs and gaps in funding that may yet to emerge.


Last year, wildfires raced through California and were responded to immediately by two of our very valuable partners, Starbucks and Google, who promptly launched fundraising campaigns to benefit wildfire recovery efforts. Since then, and because of the generous support of our donors, CDP was able to provide four grants to support rapid rehousing, provide families with emergency financial assistance and comprehensive case management as well as provide support to the most vulnerable:  low-income individuals, immigrants, seniors and families with children. These are the types of organizations we will be looking to support as we monitor the aftermath of the current wildfires.

Major Donors

Thank you to the following donors for their generous support of the CDP California Wildfires Recovery Fund:

  • The Wallace Foundation
  • The Crown Family
  • 21st Century Fox
  • The John & Marcia Goldman Foundation
  • Fallon Family Foundation
  • The Theda and Tamblin Clark Smith Family
  • The Illinois Foundation
  • The William J. J. Gordon Family Foundation
  • The Ho Chen Family Foundation
  • Nion McEvoy
  • Lisa and John Pritzker Family Fund
  • The Victor and Christine Anthony Family Foundation
  • Flocco Foundation
  • The Clark R. Smith Family Foundation
  • BlueMountain Capital Management

Grant Committee

The grant committee for the CDP California Wildfires Recovery Fund includes:

Committee Chair: Lori J. Bertman, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge-based Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation. Lori is the co-founder and chairman of the board of CDP.

Jono Anzalone, Global Disaster Response & Relief Partnerships and Special Projects, Airbnb

Vanessa Bechtel, President & CEO, Ventura County Community Foundation

Alexa Benson-Valavanis, President & CEO, North Valley Community Foundation

Harold Brooks, Former Vice President, American Red Cross

Denise Gilliam, Senior Advisor, Recovery, California Office of Emergency Services

Alan H. Kwok, Director of Disaster Resilience, Northern California Grantmakers

Bob Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Take Action

Please consider supporting the long-term recovery efforts. For up-to-date information on the active wildfires please see our disaster profile page.


For more information or for additional assistance, please contact:

Regine A. Webster
Vice President
(206) 972-0187