Disaster Relief Rundown for Santa Barbara 

A Tally of Nonprofit Giving Since Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow

Kick Ash Bash
Courtesy Photo

The world opened its heart and its pocketbook when disaster struck Montecito in January. More than $11.1 million has been given in the nine months since the tragedy, and about $9.7 million provided to the individuals who lost family, homes, wages, or business revenue. What follows is only a financial rundown of the fire and flood aftermath so far; the human toll is incalculable.

Direct Relief, the international emergency medical nonprofit, received $2,853,912 from 3,584 donors, Communications Director Tony Morain listed. It has disbursed all of it, and Direct Relief itself gave another $350,000 in material and cash assistance, as well as donating the administrative work involved. The funding and recipients included:

• $1 million — Flood and fire victims
• $100,000 each — Santa Barbara Support Network, Foundation for S.B. High School, 805UndocuFund
• $75,000 — S.B. Bucket Brigade
• $55,000 — Greater Goods Ojai

• $35,000 — S.B. Channelkeeper
• $20,000 — Search & Rescue

Another $1.8 million in goods was provided by DR for the 400,000 particle masks that were distributed to the public; trucks, rigging, radios, and other search and rescue supplies to fire companies; protective suits for residents returning home; masks, safety glasses, and coveralls to volunteer clean-up crews; and medical supplies, personal care supplies, and non-prescription drugs to Red Cross shelters.

The Bucket Brigade has been a high-profile, all-volunteer group dedicated to trudging through mud-strewn Montecito to dig out homes, and it continues to search for the two children still missing. The Santa Barbara City College Foundation handled the more than $1 million donated to the Bucket Brigade. Of that, about $700,000 has been spent on heavy equipment and tools and meals for volunteers. The Brigade’s board voted to give the Foundation $60,000 for its efforts, which has included spending $40,000 helping students and employees with temporary housing, clothing, and transportation. The Foundation is also collecting funds for the S.B. Support Network, which received $323,000. Of that, $249,000 has been spent to help more than 50 families with rent, clothing, school supplies, work vehicles, and other necessities.

The 805UndocuFund originated with the realization that hundreds of undocumented workers lost their jobs because of the fire and flood. About 1,400 families responded to the offer of help, and the Fund has given more than $1 million to 626 families. It has received about $2 million so far, but needs another $300,000 to help all the families that have applied, as well as bilingual volunteers to staff its clinics, now held mostly in Ventura.

United Way, the industrial-strength nonprofit for many businesses in town, received $1.9 million at its Thomas Fire and Flood Fund, including $335,000 from its sister organization in Los Angeles. United Way absorbed all the administrative costs of handling the funds and gave back 100 percent.

• $1.046 million — community organizations offering help to survivors
• $800,000-plus — 1,200 individuals who suffered losses
• $99,000 — Montecito recovery efforts.

Three big benefits held at the Santa Barbara Bowl netted over a million dollars. Vendors kicked in-kind donations into the pot, and the Bowl itself gave $112,000 to the cause overall.

Jack Johnson led the way in March. He and his guests Ben Harper, David Crosby, Kenny Loggins, and bandmates gave all the net concert proceeds to charity; concert gear providers discounted their services. Expenses totaled about $185,000. About a half million dollars was raised. Recipients included:

• $203,975 — United Way
• $50,000 — Santa Barbara Foundation
• $42,439 — Bucket Brigade
• about $25,000 each — Direct Relief, Foodbank, FoodShare Ventura, Search Dog Foundation, S.B. Response Network, Habitat for Humanity, Greater Goods Ojai, S.B. Support Network.
• $4,000 each — Cold Spring and Montecito Union schools

Before Brad Paisley‘s show on May 12, radio station KHAY began leaking surprise visits he was making to shops in Montecito and Santa Barbara, and a bartending stint at “some Irish bar” on State Street, Paisley rep Mark Hartley told the Indy. Facebook and Instagram lit up that day with Brad sightings as he worked to boost retail sales, dismal with holiday losses. Paisley is based in Nashville but has a home in Montecito; he covered all his band and equipment costs out of his own pocket, raising more than $350,000, of which 100 percent went to Unity Shoppe, Restaurants Care, Montecito YMCA, Farmers Market, and Visit Santa Barbara’s Shine campaign.

Katy Perry brought the entire team of her Witness world tour the entire way to the Santa Barbara Bowl the next week. Her representatives were reluctant to give actual dollar amounts, but like the other artists, all the profits from her sold-out concert went to provide relief, in her case to: the 93108 Fund, the 805UndocuFund, the Santa Barbara Foundation’s Community Disaster Relief Fund, and to Cold Spring School.

The Kick Ash Bash was held in February, dedicated to first responders and their families — fire, police, sheriff, and CHP alike — and raised $2 million. Event costs for the monster picnic, carnival for kids, and musical feast were $527,000, including deep discounts and outright gifts from many vendors. A committee entirely composed of first responders apportioned $1.323 million to:

• $300,000 — County Sheriff’s truck and mobile command unit trailer
• $275,000 each — Mobile command center: City/County Fire, S.B. Police
• $150,000 — New generator at Montecito Fire
• $70,000 — Carpinteria/Summerland Fire emergency equipment and ATV
• $18,000 — U.S. Forest Service equipment
• $100,000 — Direct Relief
• $50,000 — At Ease counseling services
• $25,000 each — S.B. Scholarship Foundations’ First Responders’ Children’s College Scholarships, S.B. Equine evacuation, S.B. Search & Rescue K-9s
• $10,000 — 93108 fund for disenfranchised employees

The American Red Cross had moved on to dealing with hurricanes Florence and Michael by the time the Independent caught up with its representatives. The nonprofit did not collect funds exclusively for Santa Barbara, but rather for the Southern California Wildfires and Debris Flows. As of April 2018, that number stood at $3.4 million, with $300,000 going to management and fundraising expenses.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.