Update #1: Key Information on Borderline Shooting Response

 In Blog, Latest Coverage

Dear Ventura County Community Foundation Family,

I sit here having just left a sobering meeting with our local heroes on the ground at the Thousand Oaks Assistance Center Office of the District Attorney Crime Victims’ Assistance Program and wanted to reach out directly to you. In ways unimaginable, this has been a heart wrenching and devastating week for Ventura County, but there are very important steps we, as key community partners and individuals, can take. I realize this email is quite lengthy but there is a lot of key information here that I felt important to pass on to you.

I think the Editorial Board for the Ventura County Star said it best when they wrote in this morning’s paper, “When multiple tragedies befall a community as they have this past week in Ventura County, it’s natural to feel a sense of helplessness…Our community is hurting right now. Yet, as individuals we are not helpless. We can leave cynicism, fatalism and paralysis behind and take personal responsibility for doing what we can to support the victims while preparing ourselves for emergencies.”

To that end, I feel this is vital information to pass on directly to you. As leaders and key philanthropists in our community, I know of no other group that can best help get this key message out and I ask that you pass this message on to your individual networks as you see appropriate.

Regarding the Borderline Shooting

· By 8 a.m. the morning after this horrific event, the Ventura County Community Foundation, in coordination with the City of Thousand Oaks, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Amgen Foundation, California Community Foundation, Edison International, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, and others, had set up a specific fund to help support the victims, families, law enforcement community, and organizations providing first and second line support.

· By Friday evening, we granted the first $70,000 that came in through immediate grassroots donations to Interface Children and Family Services so they can utilize their case management expertise and provide immediate and direct grants to those impacted in the shooting over the weekend.

The type of support provided to victims includes:

o Food money, rent money, groceries, travel expenses (gas, hotel, flight), money to help get their drivers licenses back if lost in the chaos, cellphones which were lost, clothes and shoes, baby supplies for those with young children, etc.

o This support compliments the services that the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) provides to victims and survivors and we are working directly with their Advocate Liaison Claimant Assistance Branch to not duplicate efforts and to maximize the impact of each philanthropic dollar.

Important Message for Those Offering Support

If you are working on assisting victims as well, please consider collaborating with us and 2-1-1 Ventura County so we can all work collectively together. This type of case management is very complicated and we are best served by working collectively together.

Additionally, we couldn’t agree more with Supervisor Kelly Long who wrote in a message to our community that it is important we have all of the individuals that need assistance fill out 2-1-1’s intake form and to encourage your clients to agree to give consent to share their information with other service providers. This will help to reduce complications in filling out multiple forms and improve overall service provision exponentially. The intake form is available online here: http://www.211ventura.org/hill-fire-woolsey-fire/ in English and Spanish. ** This is also important in relation to all fire relief efforts.

Convening our Community to Discuss Underlying Factors and Ways to Best Support Those Impacted

Dena Jenson, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Cal Lutheran University, and I are working together to convene a meeting on strategic ways we can address the underlying factors and address the immediate and long-term support needed during this time in our community. If you would like to join this effort, we welcome you. Please reach out to Dena directly and she can get you plugged in (djenson@callutheran.edu). More information will follow in the next days.

Employment for Out of Work Survivors

Because Borderline Bar and Grill is closed currently, many of the employees are looking for part-time and immediate work. If you know of any opportunities, please contact 2-1-1. Bruce Stenslie, President & CEO of the Economic Development Collaborative and I connected this morning to see what else might be done and he is working with his key partners on this issue as well.

Hill and Woolsey Fires

Less than 24 hours after the horrific mass shooting, our community was struck by a second tragedy. I’m meeting with Kimberly Coley, Executive Director for the Pacific Coast and Ventura County Chapters of the American Red Cross this afternoon to discuss sudden and urgent needs that have arisen as a result of the Hill and Woolsey Fires. The Ventura County Community Foundation activated a Sudden and Urgent Need Fund as a vehicle to collect the generous donations from our community. We will keep you abreast of these efforts as well.

A quick shout out to Emily Barany with Thomasfirehelp.org and Abundance Networks for getting online access to our community yesterday. They have also once again activated their volunteer pilots to help fly families of victims and urgent situations of both tragedies that are within 300 miles of Ventura County. Learn more at www.thomasfirehelp.org.

In Closing

Let us all remember that the victims and survivors of the Borderline shooting expand beyond those that were immediately present that horrific Wednesday night. These include loved ones of the victims and survivors, Borderline employees, neighbors, family, friends, teachers, colleagues and beyond.

I am deeply moved by the incredible work being done by our County, City, State, and Key Nonprofit and Religious Organizations as we stand together to help our community and neighbors during this time. Please stay safe and keep in touch.

Vanessa Bechtel
President & CEO
Ventura County Community Foundation | VCCF Nonprofit Center

· If you wish to contribute to the Conejo Valley Victims Fund to support those affected by the Borderline shooting, please click here.

· If you wish to contribute to the Hill and Woolsey Fire Sudden and Urgent Needs Effort, please click here.

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