Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Last dollars from Waldo fire fund distributed

By: BARBARA COTTER
January 7, 2013
0
photo - 
	 Photo by Gazette file photo
Photo by Gazette file photo 

The hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to a fund established in the wake of the Waldo Canyon fire has all been disbursed, with the last distribution of about $125,000 going to two nonprofits for flood mitigation work.

In the six months since the fire erupted on June 23, the Waldo Canyon Fire Assistance Fund handed out about $940,300 to 18 nonprofits to address an array of short- and intermediate-term needs.

Much of the money went to human service organizations to provide fire victims with rental and utilities assistance, clothing, household goods and other necessities. Some donations also went to replenish nonprofits’ coffers that were emptied when they provided crisis services to evacuees and their pets.

The final disbursement provided $50,000 to The Navigators and about $76,000 to the Coalition for the Upper South Platte for flood mitigation efforts in the burn scar area. The Coalition for the Upper South Platte also received about $24,000 in an earlier disbursement, making it one of two nonprofits to receive more than one grant from the fund.

“I think the thought was that, with $125,000 left, how can the committee make the most impact, and longest-lasting impact? And flood mitigation is one way we felt we could do that,” fund coordinator Preston Briggs said Monday. “Should we get a significant amount of rain in the Springs, we’d definitely see a lot more damage — possibly something that would equate to a second disaster.”

The El Pomar Foundation established the fund with a $125,000 seed grant that quickly ballooned through an unprecedented outpouring of community support. A fundraising concert held about a week after the fire blew up on June 26 brought in about $300,000.

An 11-person committee, including a Mountain Shadows homeowner and people with experience in disaster relief, reviewed grant applications from nonprofits in El Paso and Teller counties, and determined the recipients.

Some donors and people affected by the fire criticized how the money was disbursed, saying it should have gone directly to the fire victims. But United Way officials said they wanted to reduce opportunities for scam artists to get their hands on the money by funneling the donations to nonprofits with experience in vetting clients.

A six-month status update on the fund’s impact is expected to be released next month, with a final report due in September that will detail how the grant recipients used the money.

Although the El Pomar/United Way fund is gone, there's still help for fire victims with ongoing, long-term needs. The Long Term Recovery Group, a collaboration of about 40 nonprofits, faith-based organizations and government liaisons, has case managers to assist fire victims. For more information or to receive help, call 884-6180.


 


 

Comment Policy
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.