Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corporation – Ridgecrest Strong – Help for Businesses Following Quakes

One of Kern Community Foundation’s newest registered nonprofits, which came on board at full strength last year and was selected to participate in the roll-out cohort of our yearlong Jumpstart Fundraising Technical Assistance Program, is the Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corporation (IWV EDC).

As IWV EDC is based in Ridgecrest, we made sure to contact Executive Assistant Rebecca McCourt to see how she and others are faring following last week’s devastating earthquakes. Via e-mail, Rebecca provided the following informative and truly moving account of community needs and what IWV EDC and other partners are doing to meet them–especially the needs of the business community.

We think you will agree that the best of many people’s humanity is shining through in response to the disaster our East Kern neighbors are dealing with. Thank you, Rebecca, for the role you and IWV EDC are playing. We are proud to call you our partners.

Testimonial From Rebecca McCourt of
Indian Wells Valley Economic Development Corporation
(with hyperlinks, subtitles and formatting by us to highlight important information)

“Thanks again for reaching out. Operations-wise, the IWV EDC is a small organization and we fared well. We had some downed ceiling tiles in our rented office, but building owner already had A&R Construction come in and repair them. Our neighbor, the Kern Regional Center, had more extensive damage, including broken glass and damaged computers, but they are currently operating out in the field where they are needed.

Assistance at the Ready

The IWV EDC has access to a grant database, so other nonprofit organizations looking for relief funds are encouraged to contact us so we can help identify and assist in writing grant applications. 

The City of Ridgecrest, with help from Kern County Economic Development Specialist Suzette Caufield, set up a call center for people to request home inspections if they suspect structural damage. They were in need of additional phone support from experienced general contractors and civil engineersA Local Assistance Center was available to residents during the week following the quakes, and FEMA assistance is available as well. 

We spoke with Cal State University Bakersfield’s Small Business Development Center (CSUB SBDC). They will be coming to Ridgecrest with some information about options for small businesses that not only sustained property damage, but also are hurt from the economic implications of business closures, including that of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station


Inyokern, from what I have heard, was very mildly affected.

Trona (technically in San Bernardino county) has ongoing needs for basic necessities, including water and hygiene items.

Ongoing needs in Ridgecrest are going to be monetary. And time: Recovery is going to take time and we all need to be patient with each other, and especially ourselves, as we allow things to calm down and return to whatever normal now is.

A Cautionary Note

Please be sure to seek out a reputable source if looking to make a donation. Unfortunately, events like these also lead to scams, so please donate wisely.”

Thanks for that advise, Rebecca, and for your great updates!

Give to Earthquake Relief Through Trusted Community Partners

You can be a partner in Kern Community Foundation’s efforts to help East Kern communities by donating to the Kern County Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund using this link.

To help with Trona (San Bernardino County) recovery efforts, you can donate to the Inland Empire Disaster Relief Fund at The Community Foundation using this link.

The Desert Valleys Federal Credit Union is sending its mobile branch to Trona daily to serve members who need on-the-spot services after being impacted by recent earthquakes. They are also providing short-term “Quake Relief” loans of up to $1,000 for members of the credit union. The loans will have a 90 day repayment option and low interest rate to allow members the chance to apply for assistance programs or insurance support. Desert Valleys can provide up to 1,000 loans to the community as demand requires. The time window to apply for these loans is July 8 – 12. Click here for information. Desert Valley FCU is also working with the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues to collect funds for those affected. Please click here for more information and a link to a Desert Valleys Employee Foundation PayPal account where donations can be made.

Women’s Center High Desert – Ridgecrest Strong – Identifying Community Needs

We had an eye-opening conversation with Carol Beecroft, Executive Director of Women’s Center High Desert (WCHD), the only domestic violence and sexual assault shelter in East Kern with a large service area of 2,600 square miles stretching from the desert communities (Ridgecrest, Mojave, Rosamond, California City, Iyokern) to the Kern River Valley area (Lake Isabella, Kernville, Wofford Heights), to Tehachapi. WCHD also serves Trona because, while it’s in San Bernardino, WCHD is a better alternative to the other closest shelter in Barstow, which is almost two hours away. WCHD also provides some homeless services like rapid-rehousing. WCHD is a Kern Community Foundation-registered partner.

Carol identified the needs below that have arisen as a result of the earthquakes (which, by the way, haven’t stopped and continue to be a source of PTSD to locals):

WCHD’s Own Needs

  • Shelter – The women’s shelter operated by WCHD is open, but they are holding off on taking more clients because they are still in wait-and-see mode, as the ground hasn’t stopped shaking. They don’t want to take on more clients pending another possible big jolt.
  • Damage to Administrative Offices – WCHD Administrative Offices are located at 134 S. China Lake Blvd., in a small office complex. The building has been inspected and Carol was told by the inspector that the entire building has shifted and certain offices are unsafe. They are providing limited services out of a service window because they don’t want clients going into the building. Carol is certain that the city is going to eventually red-tag it.
  • Relocation – Carol believes WCHD will need to relocate its administrative offices, but the agency can’t afford that expense.
  • Rise in Domestic Violence – Families at risk for domestic violence are experiencing more stress due to the quakes, the fact that it’s summer, it’s hot, and children are home from school, etc. WCHD has given out six (6) restraining order packets since Monday, which is double what they might give out on an average week, and these are all NEW families that have never sought services from WCHD before.

Community Needs

  • Stores Closed – Ridgecrest, which doesn’t have a lot of shopping options to begin with, is experiencing the temporary closure of a number of stores since the quakes: clothing stores, shoe stores, supermarkets, etc.
  • Restaurants Closed – Electricity was off for a whole day following the first quake, so food went bad in a number of restaurants that are still closed.
  • Family-Owned Businesses Closing – Carol knows of some family-owned businesses that are going to close down altogether because the owners don’t have money for rebuilding/repairs.
  • China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station “Not Mission Capable” – The base continues to be largely closed, as it has incurred much damage.
  • Loss of Income – The above closures represent hundreds of individuals who are temporarily or permanently out of work.

Biggest Needs in Carol’s Opinion

  • Money to help people/families move or relocate out of area altogether. Some people are too afraid to stay in East Kern.
  • Money to help families who have earthquake insurance with high deductibles be able to afford their deductible so their home can be repaired or rebuilt.
  • Money to help social service agencies like WCHD relocate so that essential services can continue to be provided to the community.

Kern Community Foundation has shared this information with Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office to help with a coordinated response to these great earthquake disaster relief needs.

We will continue to work with the Governor’s Office, other Community Foundations, and partners like WCHD to identify and respond to community needs in East Kern in the best way possible.

You can be a partner in our efforts to help East Kern communities by donating to the Kern County Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund using this link.

To help with Trona (San Bernardino County) recovery efforts, you can donate to the Inland Empire Disaster Relief Fund at The Community Foundation using this link.

CAPK Seeks Director of Community Development

Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), a large poverty-fighting nonprofit with a $65 million annual operating budget and more than 900 employees, is looking for a Director of Community Development to oversee the agency’s grant writing, fund development, advocacy, outreach, strategic planning and other efforts. This is an executive team level position that reports directly to the CEO.

Please click here for details. Questions? Call 661.336.5236.

Webinar: Starting a Nonprofit in California

Thinking about starting a nonprofit? California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) is offering a jam-packed, fast paced webinar that includes:

– Step-by-step legal instructions
– FAQ on bylaws and articles of incorporation
– Common ways of finding your first money
– Types of nonprofits (making sure you choose the right one)
– Getting started before your tax-exemption is approved

The Thursday, July 11, Webinar starts at 11 a.m. and will be led by Jan Masaoka, CEO of CalNonprofits. She has worked with dozens of new efforts as they have formalized their organizations as California nonprofits. She is also a published author and an eight-time designee as one of the 50 most influential people in the nonprofit sector nationwide.

All registrants will get the slides and recording after the webinar.

The webinar is FREE for CalNonprofit Members / $10 for Non-Members

Click on this link to go to the CalNonprofits home page. Then, find the registration link under “Our Upcoming Events.”

Save the Dates for 2019-20 Kern Alliance of Nonprofits Training Workshops

Save These Dates!

The flyer at left has the dates of the 2019-20 Training Workshops to be offered by the Kern Alliance of Nonprofits (KAN). Please note that you cannot register for these FREE workshops yet on eventbrite. Separate announcements will be made closer to each workshop date, with information on how to register. In the meantime, please continue to monitor the KAN Facebook page (@kernallianceofnonprofits), the Kern Community Foundation Facebook page (@kernfoundation), and the KAN Events calendar for the latest information. For now, just mark your calendars.

Give Big Kern Report to the Community – 2019: The Year B-i-i-i-g Dreams Came True!

Celebrate with Kern Community Foundation our BIGGEST Give Big Kern Online Day of Giving to date by reading our latest Give Big Kern Report to the Community – 2019: The Year B-i-i-i-g Dreams Came True!”

Click on either the hyperlink above or the photo at left to access a downloadable copy.

In it you will find an analysis of this year’s accomplishments, the reasons for our runaway success, a listing of competitive and opportunity drawing prize winners, a map showing how Give Big Kern lit up the globe with giving (Gracias! Merci! Obrigado! Shukraan Lakum! Dankie!), quotes from grateful participating nonprofits, trends in social media and online giving, an acknowledgment of our sponsors, what’s coming up next year, and more!

Please share it with others–especially nonprofits. Also, save the date for next year’s Give Big Kern, when, festively, Kern’s Online Day of Giving falls on Cinco de Mayo (May 5)!

And as our Mascot, Billy the Give Big Goat, likes to say, “Happy r-e-e-e-a-a-d-i-n-g!”

(For more information on Give Big Kern, please visit


K-12 Catholic Education Scholarship Application season currently open through July 31, 2019!

Kern Community Foundation’s online application for The Peter Anthony Catholic Education Scholarship for K-12 Catholic Education is open now through July 31, 2019.

This Scholarship was established in 2017 to provide tuition assistance for a Catholic education to qualifying K-12 students in Kern County. Thus far, this fund has awarded close to $33,000 in scholarships to 40 students from 20 families, attending 4 Bakersfield area schools, and endorsed by 7 parishes.

This opportunity is open to students/families who fulfill the following criteria:

  • Active and practicing Catholics as verified by the parish pastor;
  • Demonstrate financial need as verified by Kern Community Foundation;
  • Attend or plan to enroll in a Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)-accredited K-12 Catholic school in Kern County; and
  • Complete the Peter Anthony Catholic Education Scholarship application through Kern Community Foundation with all materials by the deadline of Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

To get started, visit

For more information or assistance, please contact Kern Community Foundation by calling 661.616.2605 or writing to
Si tiene preguntas en español, favor de llamar y preguntar por Louis Medina al número, 661.325.5346.

Give Big Kern on KRAB Radio Sunday, April 7 at 7:30 a.m.!

On April 3, Kern Community Foundation’s Director of Community Impact, Louis Medina, was interviewed about Give Big Kern by Robin Jones of KRAB Radio, 106.1 FM. The interview is airing on Robin’s show, “Kern County This Week,” on Sunday, April 7–the same day goes live for receiving donations! Listen to the interview by clicking here. Then, click on the file name, “GIVE BIG KERN.mp3,” and finally on the play button on the right side of your screen.

You will also be able to listen to the interview over the airwaves on Sunday, April 7, at 7:30 a.m. on the following stations:

  • KRAB Radio 106.1 FM
  • The Fox 98.5 FM
  • Sunny 105.3 FM
  • Sports 970 AM
  • Comedy 800 AM