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Orfalea Fund’s Aware and Prepare Initiative Receives National Recognition

Witt Associates, Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services, Cited Best Example of Collaboration


Witt Associates, the premier public safety and crisis management consulting firm, announced today that their partnership with the Orfalea Foundations and Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services was awarded the California State Emergency Services Association (CESA) Platinum Award for innovations and achievements in emergency management for the Aware and Prepare Initiative. The project was developed in a special philanthropic collaboration among government, private, and non-profit stakeholders. The Platinum Award is the highest award given from the California State Emergency Services Association (CESA) at their annual conference today in Monterey, Calif.

“The Aware & Prepare Initiative was created following the Katrina disaster to ensure proactive measures were taken to build resiliency in our own local community,” said Natalie Orfalea, Co-Founder and Chairperson, Orfalea Foundations.

Aware and Prepare: A Partnership to Strengthen Emergency and Disaster Readiness is an Orfalea Fund initiative that engaged Witt Associates, a firm founded by James Lee Witt the cabinet level director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Clinton. The goal was to enter into the disaster and emergency preparedness arena to build a lasting relationship between residents, businesses, non-profits and local government agencies, while focusing on preparedness at the grassroots level.

”The County of Santa Barbara and its cities see the value in developing strong partnerships with government and private sector,” said Board of Supervisors Chair, Janet Wolf. “The Aware and Prepare Initiative has strengthened our bonds of being ready for our next disaster. The work between the Orfalea Foundations, Witt Associates and the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Services should serve as a model for all emergency management organizations.”

Since its launch, the Aware and Prepare Initiative, in partnership with other local foundations, has committed over $6 million to government agencies and non-profit organizations to implement new programs to enhance capabilities to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies within the Santa Barbara Operational Area.

For more information on the Aware and Prepare Initiative please visit the Orfalea Foundations.

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