Ventura County Community Foundation Receives $200,000 from Amgen Foundation for Thomas Fire Relief

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CAMARILLO, Calif. — The Amgen Foundation recently granted $200,000 to the Ventura County Community Foundation’s Disaster Relief Fund, which helps support mid- and long-term relief and rebuilding efforts.

“The Thomas Fire has deeply impacted our community and Amgen staff members,” said Eduardo Cetlin, president of the Amgen Foundation. “As part of the $500,000 committed by the Amgen Foundation to assist victims of the Southern California wildfires, we are proud to contribute to VCCF’s rebuilding efforts. As we come together to support each other, I have no doubt we will all come out of this stronger.”

Since the Thomas Fire started, the VCCF has secured more than $650,000 in community-based contributions to support relief and recovery efforts. The VCCF Board of Directors also committed an additional $200,000 towards the mid- to long-term relief strategy. Donors include family foundations and individuals, with about a third of contributions coming from corporations and corporate foundations.

With the help of the corporations like the Amgen Foundation, Peet’s Coffee, the REI Co-op, Blackbaud, Carhartt Vineyard, Carhartt, Inc., The Kearney Group at Merrill Lynch, Nutrishop Oxnard, Sunrun Inc., and Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, among others, the VCCF has received several hundred thousand from corporate donations to serve those in need.

Some organizations, like Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, launched employee giving campaigns and have seen an outpouring of employee leadership and support. Service clubs have also been active — the Rotary Relief Fund was established at VCCF in the first 24 hours after the start of the Thomas Fire and Rotarians throughout the district have been actively responding to the call to help.

“Never has our county seen such devastation as we have from the Thomas Fire. Likewise, we’ve never seen our community’s corporate sector come together with such generosity to help rebuild and heal — a process that will take years,” Vanessa Bechtel, president and CEO of the VCCF, said.

In addition to the Disaster Relief Fund, the VCCF launched the Sudden and Urgent Needs (SUN) Fund to provide a quick funding response to help avoid the loss of critical safety net services provided by nonprofits. All donations to the VCCF SUN Fund and the Disaster Relief Fund are directly applied 100 percent to supporting nonprofits who are providing direct services to those impacted by the fires. Donations to the fund can be made at

Since the Dec. 4 start of the Thomas Fire, the VCCF has contributed more than $1,000,000 to nonprofit organizations engaged in front-line relief and support efforts. Those organizations include:

  • The Red Cross Central Coast Region in the amount of $364,440, which includes a $100,000 contribution directly from the Martin V. and Martha K. Smith Foundation.
  • The Salvation Army in the amount of $221,388 for basic services and emergency relief for families who have lost homes.
  • Ventura County Community Disaster Relief Fund in the amount of $52,172.
  • Help of Ojai in the amount of $20,000 for basic needs of Ojai families in crisis due to the fire.
  • MICOP in the amount of $10,000; $5,000 for their radio antenna replacement and $5,000 for health outreach for farmworkers.
  • Habitat for Humanity in the amount of $5,000 for housing assistance for those affected by the fire.
  • Interface in the amount of $95,000; $35,000 for the purchase of a permanent generator for 2-1-1 and $60,000 to support their emergency 2-1-1 call center.
  • FOODShare in the amount of $10,000 for transportation and food sorting for shelters and for administrative support.
  • in the amount of $3,000 for their technology design, development, and server space. (This service helped facilitate needs caused by the disaster for 51,000 individuals to-date.)
  • Ventura College Foundation in the amount of $4,950 for support of single parents who were victims of the Thomas Fire.
  • Rubicon Theatre in the amount of $6,756 to cover the costs of mandatory cleaning in response to the Thomas Fire.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme in the amount of $7,700 to cover the increased costs of childcare due to school closure as a result of the Thomas Fire air quality.
  • Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Cal Lutheran in the total amount of $6,000, with $2,500 to cover the costs of convening nonprofit organizations during the recovery period and $3,500 to cover the training of our region’s nonprofit sector by bringing in an expert consultant to train local organizations on how to fundraise before and after a period of a disaster.
  • Humane Society of Ventura County in the amount of $65,568 to cover vet bills and staff supplies as result of the Thomas Fire.
  • National Disaster Search Dog Foundation in the amount of $65,000 to cover dog boarding expenses and clean-up efforts from the Thomas Fire.
  • in the amount of $3,000 for infrastructure.
  • United Way of Ventura County in the amount of $7,000 for the Thomas Fire Fund.
  • Moorpark Boys & Girls Club in the amount of $1,000 for the deductible for their insurance company to fix their damaged roof caused by the extreme winds during the fire.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley in the amount of $8,042.22 to cover costs associated with school closures during the fire – they are serving families in three communities (Santa Paula, Fillmore, and Piru) within our county.
  • Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center (SPARC) in the amount of $7,200 to cover boarding fees, overtime pay, mileage, transportation costs, and adoption fees as a result of the fire.

Organizations can apply for funding online at For details, contact Roseannah Millsgrassin at or (805) 330-6673. To make a donation, visit www.vccf.orgPeople can contribute by sending a check or donating directly online; wire transfer is also an option.

About VCCF

VCCF invests the charitable capital that drives the philanthropic engines of Ventura County. The foundation was established in 1987 and endeavors to build philanthropy in the region and to give generously for the well-being of all in Ventura County. VCCF invests in the future through scholarships, grant making and collaborative partnerships. For more information or to donate, visit

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