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.