Kern Community Foundation Awards Close to $115,000 in East Kern Earthquake Disaster Relief Grants

It is exactly three months to the day since the first of three large earthquakes and countless aftershocks struck Ridgecrest, China Lake, and surrounding areas, causing damage to local homes, businesses and government installations, and displacing entire families who continue to struggle to this day.

Fortunately, thanks to the generosity of Kern County’s giving community and key philanthropic partners, Kern Community Foundation recently awarded $114,875 to eight nonprofit agencies from donations received through the Foundation’s Kern County Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund, which KCF established within 24 hours of the massive 7.1 quake that reverberated throughout Kern the evening of July 5.

More than 90 percent of donations were large gifts of $10,000 to $50,000 received from Berry Petroleum Company, Mojave Pistachios, W.A. Thompson Distributing Company, and The California Endowment. Smaller gifts were received from a number of generous community members.

Grants were awarded in late September through a competitive application process, and range between $1,500 and $28,000. Moneys will help the following nonprofit agencies with ongoing earthquake relief activities as well as facilities repairs:

  • High Desert Lighthouse Ministries: $28,000
  • The Salvation Army Ridgecrest Corps: $28,000
  • Women’s Center High Desert: $28,000
  • Desert Area Resources and Training: $11,476
  • China Lake Museum Foundation: $10,000
  • Mission Community Services Corp. (MCSC) Kern Women’s Business Center: $6,399
  • Almost Eden Rescue: $1,500
  • Socks & Paws Animal Rescue: $1,500

“The needs of the Ridgecrest community were so varied and critical after this horrible event, it was simply mind-boggling,” said KCF Board Member Justin Leland, Director of Business Services for Moneywise Wealth Management, who participated in the grants evaluation and allocation committee. “By being able to take part in the grantmaking process, we had a window into the most pressing needs of the community through the compelling written testimonials of those people and organizations with boots on the ground. Personally,” he said, “I will forever be more mindful of the needs within a community after a natural disaster. It isn’t just buildings and property affected by these disasters but lives, community services and outreach, personal connections, and financial stress.”

Indeed, through their funding requests, grantees described how they found themselves facing such challenges as having to respond to a noticeable increase in domestic violence following the quakes; to scrambling to locate temporary lodging for displaced families; to helping those who were still housed with much-needed home repairs; to taking in runaway dogs that had gotten spooked by the combination of both the quakes and Fourth of July fireworks; to providing Small Business Administration workshops and services to help affected businesses get back on their feet; and many other dire circumstances.

Most grantees had to respond to community needs while taking care of the damages their own facilities had incurred. For that reason, the grant application included a section for applicants to detail lessons learned from the East Kern quakes with a view toward implementing emergency preparedness in the future. I got Priligy prescribed by my doctor since I usually came after 2-3 bumps, and I had hope for at least 3-5 minutes. Unfortunately, at the price at about 10 USD per tablet is quite a high one and you have to wait at least 1 hour until the effect occurs completely.

KCF President and CEO Kristen Beall Watson said, “In addition to providing critical resources to the communities impacted by the earthquakes, this process helps us identify gaps in the response continuum and design more proactive systems for meeting great needs.”

Donations can still be made to the Kern County Earthquake Disaster Relief Fund. Simply follow this link.

East Kern Earthquake Relief Grant Opportunity

Thanks to generous funding from our valued community partners, this one-time competitive grant opportunity is available to 501(c)(3) nonprofit agencies operating in Kern County that:
1) Are registered with Kern Community Foundation; and
2) Have a Silver or higher Transparency Rating on; and
3) Are involved in disaster relief efforts following the East Kern Earthquakes of July 4th and 5th, 2019; or
4) Have incurred earthquake damages that have compromised their ability to function and deliver services to the community at normal capacity.

To make emergency relief funding available as quickly as possible, the application period for this grant opportunity is brief: 12 a.m. Friday, August 16, through 5 p.m. Friday, August 30, 2019. The maximum award is $20,000. Visit our Available Grants page to get started: 

If you are unsure about any application prerequisites or have questions about this grant opportunity, please contact Director of Community Impact Louis Medina at 661.616.2603 or

Kern Nonprofits: Prepare to Apply for Philanthropy on Tap 2020 by Reading our FAQ Document

Philanthropy on Tap is a competitive “Visibility Grant” opportunity that Kern Community Foundation offers to Kern County nonprofits in partnership with the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce.

Designed as a “Guided Q & A” in a new format similar to a talk show beginning in 2020, and held in an informal setting with free drinks and hors d’oeuvres for the audience, Philanthropy on Tap showcases charitable organizations’ programs, leadership and needs to local business leaders and other members of the community. It is a great networking opportunity designed to raise the visibility of nonprofits, exposing them to potential donors, volunteers and advocates. It is part of Kern Community Foundation’s Nonprofit Strengthening Initiative and helps to fulfill the Foundation’s Mission: “Growing Community. Growing Philanthropy.”

Also beginning in 2020, we are switching to an every-other-month format for Philanthropy on Tap presentations. There will be a total of six events in Bakersfield, alternating between two popular venues on the first Tuesday of even-numbered months.

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Philanthropy on Tap that can help nonprofits prepare for applying during the next application period of August 1 – 30, 2019, in order to be featured in 2020, click here.


American Red Cross Offers FAQ’s about East Kern Earthquake Relief & Earthquake Preparedness Tips in English and Spanish

Our friends from the Central Valley and Kern County Chapters of the American Red Cross have prepared some useful information about East Kern earthquake relief efforts in FAQ format, plus general earthquake safety information in English and Spanish. Please click on this link to access this life-saving information, including contact phone numbers, e-mail addresses and web resources from a number of community partners.

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.

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