On March 11th a levee breach on the Pajaro River in Monterey County resulted in the evacuation and flooding of the community of Pajaro – a predominately Latino farmworker community. This flooding comes on the heel of nearly a dozen consecutive Atmospheric River’s that have wreaked havoc along the Central Coast, putting thousands of farmworkers out of work, displaced from their homes, and at extreme risk from additional weather events. In 2021 Southern California Grantmakers published a blog – Centering Undocumented Californian's and Migrants in Climate and Disaster Resilience – which provides a useful overview of the challenges these communities face in preparing for, and recovering from disasters.
Northern California Grantmakers is working to understand the conditions on the ground through partners – such as the Community Foundations of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. We are working closely with CalOES’s Office of Private Sector/NGO Coordination, the Governor’s Office and the League of California Community Foundations to hear about emerging issues, unmet needs, and how the philanthropic sector can leverage public disaster response efforts.
NCG also supports the vetting of disaster response, relief, and recovery funds hosted on the Philanthropy California Disaster Response webpage. These are trusted funds for place-based relief and recovery that prioritize marginalized or disinvested communities.
In January, NCG hosted a Disaster Funder’s Briefing on the early 2023 Winter Storms with an intentional focus on resilience building – understanding that storms like these will continue to happen as our climate changes, and will continue to disproportionately impact undocumented and farmworker communities.
How Members Can Move Resources
The complexity of the current flooding in Pajaro has facilitated both the Community Foundation of Monterey County and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County to partner in providing direct, immediate relief to impacted community members. In a press release, the foundations announced that they have already given away $1.8 million in response to the storms.
Funders who wish to support their efforts can visit:
In addition to the vital work these community foundations are undertaking, the response to this disaster will be especially complicated for those who are undocumented or have complex immigration status. For years, Undocufunds in Ventura and Sonoma Counties have been providing direct financial relief to undocumented populations in times of crisis – from wildfires, to earthquakes, to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re excited to uplift the new Undocufund Network that can help funders find local UndocuFunds across the state, including Undocufund Monterey Bay, which is accepting donations to support storm-affected individuals. Funders interested in connecting with the UndocuFund Network can email Beatrice Camacho (email@example.com)
As funders in the Bay Area, it is vital to mobilize resources where climate disasters continue to disproportionately impact those most marginalized in the region.