Community Rebuilding Fund
The Community Rebuilding Fund launched in September 2020 following Oregon’s devastating wildfire season which burned over one million acres, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed nearly a dozen Oregonians. These wildfires forever changed many of Oregon’s vibrant rural communities. The fund awarded $10.8 million in grants to 75 organizations, helping these communities rebuild the fabric of our diverse and dynamic state.
- September 13, 2022: Oregon Community Foundation Deploys Another $1.7 Million in Community Rebuilding Fund Grants as Ravaged Communities Mark Two Years Since the 2020 Labor Day Fires
- February 9, 2022: Oregon Community Foundation to Deploy Nearly $1.46 Million in American Red Cross Relief for Fire Impacted Communities in Oregon
- November 10, 2021: Oregon Community Foundation and Community Rebuilding Fund Deploy $2.3 Million in Third Round of Relief for Fire Impacted Communities
- September 15, 2021 Second Round of 2020 Community Rebuilding Fund Relief Deploys $1.4 Million for Fire-Ravaged Communities in Need
- August 11, 2021: Nearly $4.7 Million Deployed for Long-Term Rebuilding of Communities Impacted by 2020 Fires in Oregon
The Community Rebuilding Fund was a partnership between Oregon Community Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, The Ford Family Foundation and The American Red Cross, with primary funding through individual donations and corporate and foundation support. The Fund catalyzed rebuilding efforts while centering to the needs of Oregon’s vulnerable residents most impacted – including Latinx, Tribal and rural community members.
The Fund helped Oregon by supporting community-led rebuilding that engaged all residents in shaping the future of the places they call home. Using community-led processes to build resilience and capacity was critical as Oregon recognized the new reality of living in a fire-adapted landscape where megafires will occur again.
The Fund upheld the following tenets and values:
- Rebuild adaptively and responsively. Uncharted events equal uncharted responses. This work is unprecedented, for all of us. We accept we do not and will not have all the necessary information, answers, and direction. Instead, we pledge to refine our approach as we continue to learn from those most impacted. We ask for grace while we work together in this new, evolving landscape.
- Rebuild resiliently. Incorporating resilience into rebuilding extends beyond firewalls and defensible space zones. Communities are truly resilient when social networks are strong, resources are readily identifiable and easily activated, communication is far-reaching, leadership is trusted and representative, economies are diverse, and all members share a sense of place and community identity.
- Rebuild equitably. It is no surprise, as COVID-19 continues to demonstrate, that those most impacted by any disaster are those already facing economic, health, social, and educational disparities. At its worst, sources suggest the rebuilding period following a disaster has the potential to accelerate gentrification and deepen disparities in a major way. At its best, the rebuilding process has the potential for diverse communities to come together, envision, then build, a more just Oregon for all; and we believe in the best.
- Rebuild together. Effective and equitable rebuilding starts with active listening and proactive inclusivity. The Fund’s teams are working in and with communities to listen and learn. Voices are then elevated through community-led strategies, giving those most impacted the power to shape the Fund, set priorities and direct resources. This includes developing a diverse Advisory Team, engaging local recovery experts, and more.
- Rebuild and celebrate together. Recognizing the rebuilding road is long and challenging, and that megafires are no longer the anomaly they once were, it is important we celebrate, reflect and learn along the way. We aim to lift up recovery heroes and celebrate community successes. Hope and appreciation are important elements in successful recovery, rebuilding, and resiliency efforts. And, the learning and reflecting built into this Fund will allow us to better serve communities impacted by future disasters in Oregon, particularly our most vulnerable residents.
Thanks to the generosity of individuals, families, businesses, and fellow foundations, the Community Rebuilding Fund was able to provide nearly $11 million to support fire-impacted communities across Oregon.