Community
4:04 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

New Drought Fund To Support Those Most In Need

Credit http://www.fresnoregfoundation.org/_blog/Letters_from_the_CEO

The drought in California is predicted to severely affect communities all over the Valley and many are wondering what they can do to help.

In order to provide assistance to those in need of emergency aid, the Fresno Regional Foundation has launched the “Central Valley Drought Relief Fund.” The local philanthropic organization hopes to distribute the funds raised to local organizations.

“A lot of people realized that we have an imminent crisis here in the Central Valley that could go on for quite some time and a lot of people are going to need a lot of help," says Dan DeSantis CEO of the Fresno Regional Foundation.

The fund launched with an anonymous major gift. Local developer Granville Homes has already pledged  an addition $500,000. DeSantis says a group of Valley based organizations – including food banks, the Salvation Army, the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, the USDA, Catholic Charities, the Poverello House and others – have come together as part of the effort.

"A lot of people realized that we have an imminent crisis here in the Central Valley that could go on for quite some time and a lot of people are going to need a lot of help." Dan DeSantis
The coalition plans to help communities on the west side of the Valley to help communities like Mendota where this mural is painted.
The coalition plans to help communities on the west side of the Valley to help communities like Mendota where this mural is painted.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

“What we’re hoping to do as a community foundation is to reach out to everybody in the community at all levels. Every man, woman and child who has an extra dollar to send we’d love to help them invest that in the community,” says DeSantis.   
 
A five-person Advisory Committee including Judge Anthony Ishii, accountant Stacey Sablan, banker Dennis Woods, community representative Derek Hayashi and an unnamed farmer will decide how to disperse the funds. Grants will be focused on food, housing, utilities, employment, and other essential human services. 

“I’ve been with the foundation over nine years and I’ve seen the freeze and other types of crisis and I’ve seen the community try and respond – they do the best they can, but there’s never really been a focal point," DeSanti says. "Ideally we’d like to create a permanent community crisis fund."

The foundation is “ready to write checks right now with the money that we do have, but we expect a lot more to come in very soon,” says DeSantis.

Tax-deductible contributions can be sent to:

Fresno Regional Foundation with the memo line Drought Relief Fund
5250 N Palm Ave #424, Fresno, CA 93704
(559) 226-5600