Submitted by the Whatcom Community Foundation

The Whatcom Community Foundation has granted more than $280,000 through its Resilience Fund—which has grown by $560,000 since Monday, November 15—to organizations in communities hardest hit by the November 15 flood disaster in Whatcom County. More is on the way as leaders work to assess needs.

Background

Early on Monday November 15, local donors created a $100,000 matching pool to support flood relief efforts for Whatcom County neighbors. Hours later Puget Sound Energy added $15,000 to the match pool which kicked off the fundraising effort. By Wednesday, generous community members, local businesses and organizations had met the match with gifts ranging from $10 to $10,000.

Sumas Advent Christian Church Pastor Chad Hammond, ready to canvas the neighborhood, collecting damage estimation to report to FEMA. Photo credit: Brandon Sawaya

Match pool continues to grow

The match pool continues to grow with generous commitments from several corporate donors, including the largest single gift so far, $100,000, from Superfeet. (See below for growing list of match pool donors.)

A week after launching the Resilience Fund matching pool, it now totals more than $330,000, with $230,000 donated toward that match. That means $560,000 has been raised so far, thanks to the gifts of more than 1,300 individuals, who join 35 corporate and other foundation donors, some of whom have offered their own matching programs.

“I’m just awed by the generosity,” said Mauri Ingram, Whatcom Community Foundation President and CEO. “What the people of Whatcom County do best is show up and step up—with money, food, services, equipment and open hearts. What we do best is mobilize resources and make connections.”

Whatcom Community Foundation works with local leaders and trusted partners to do three things: listen to community voices to identify needs, determine the groups on the ground best suited to meet them, and then get funding to those organizations as quickly as possible. The goal is to meet people’s needs in the hardest hit areas through the organizations who know them the best.

Donna Korthuis (center) and Fiona Houweling organize donated goods prepared in the sanctuary Sumas Advent Christian Church, which received the Whatcom Community Foundation’s first grant Wednesday, November 17. Photo credit: Brandon Sawaya

Local money is the first money

Local dollars are the fastest, most flexible funding available for disaster response. Every dollar raised here stays here. The Foundation made Whatcom County’s first Resilience Fund grant within two days of the flood, giving $50,000 to a local church providing direct resources to people in Sumas.

By Friday November 19, four days after the flood, grants totaled $285,000 to eight organizations in Ferndale, Sumas, Everson and Nooksack and elsewhere in Whatcom County, including the Ferndale Community Service Cooperative, Catholic Community Services and the Miracle Food Network, were being put to work helping people purchase essential needs, salvage their belongings and begin the heartbreaking process of cleanup and damage assessement.

“The Resilience Fund grant from Whatcom Community Foundation is helping us put money in the hands of the people in our community that need help so desperately, said Chad Hammond, Senior Pastor at Sumas Advent Christian Church. “Just knowing that folks care enough to donate to the fund is overwhelming and we are so grateful.”

Resilience Fund matching pool donors also include:

  • Bellingham Industry Association of Whatcom County
  • Comcast
  • Cornwall Church
  • Peoples Bank
  • Petrogas, an affiliate of AltaGas
  • Phillips66
  • Walton Foundation
  • WECU

About the Resilience Fund

Whether for flooding, Covid-19 or other community emergencies, the Resilience Fund puts dollars to work through front line organizations for disaster preparedness, response and long-term recovery. During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Whatcom Community Foundation made Resilience Fund grants to 60 local nonprofits totaling more than $2.6 million.

About the Whatcom Community Foundation

One of more than 1000 community foundations nationwide, the Whatcom Community Foundation connects people, ideas and resources so that everyone in Whatcom County can thrive. We have invested nearly $52 million from Acme to Van Zandt, Bellingham to Blaine toward community health, happiness and prosperity since 1996. Anyone can contribute any amount of money to a community foundation, which builds assets to meet local needs and opportunities. Visit www.whatcomcf.org to make a gift to the Resilience Fund.

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