About the Central Texas Wildfire Fund

photo by Joel Salcido

The Central Texas Wildfire Fund was created on September 5, 2011, in response to the devastating wildfires that struck Central Texas over Labor Day weekend. The CTWF allows anyone to contribute to the immediate and long-term efforts by nonprofit organizations working “on the ground” in those areas hardest hit.

The CTWF gives grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofits that serve the individuals, families, businesses and communities. The goal is to help those communities recover, rebuild and return to the quality of life that existed before the fires began.

The CTWF is administered by the Austin Community Foundation. Since 1977, the Austin Community Foundation has administered thousands of funds for a wide range of causes – from the arts to healthcare, from education to the environment – all with the goal of fostering philanthropy for the lasting good of Central Texas. All contributions to the CTWF are tax deductible.

WATCH A VIDEO about the recovery efforts and learn more about the need.

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FIND OUT which organizations have received grants from CTWF.

 

Frequently asked questions about the Central Texas Wildfire Fund:

What is the Central Texas Wildfire Fund?

What is the Austin Community Foundation?

How will you decide where the money goes?

How does a nonprofit apply for a grant?

How do I get help?

Can I have a fundraiser for CTWF?

 


 

What is the Central Texas Wildfire Fund?

The Central Texas Wildfire Fund (CTWF) is a charitable-giving vehicle that allows anyone to make a tax-deductible donation to support work being done by nonprofits in Central Texas that are assisting individuals, organizations, small businesses and more recover from wildfire disasters.

The CTWF is administered by the Austin Community Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

What is the Austin Community Foundation?

There are more than 700 community foundations across the United States, all with similar origins and missions. They are created by the citizens of those regions to serve local needs and create an endowment for future needs.

Since 1977, ACF has given almost $200 million in grants to nonprofits in Central Texas and beyond. By offering donors a tax-exempt vehicle for their philanthropic goals, we provide a unique set of services that are unmatched by other similar "umbrella" organizations.

Our role in the community includes the following:

  • to provide guidance and donor services to generous people from all walks of life
  • to serve as a leader and a convener for the nonprofit community
  • to build an endowment for the long-term needs of Central Texas

How will you decide where the money goes?

The Austin Community Foundation plays an active role in wildfire relief through the Central Texas Wildfire Fund. It also facilitates gifts from donors who have specific ideas about the kinds of projects they want to support for wildfire relief.

The Central Texas Wildfire Fund is focused on getting people’s lives restored from the wildfires, stretching every dollar, making highly informed grant decisions and retaining flexibility to address emerging needs.

Here is how the process works:

  • During a time of disaster, the Austin Community Foundation serves as a central location for collecting donations of any size, from anywhere, into disaster funds. ACF does not take any fees for adminstering wildfire relief funds.
  • ACF then works with a volunteer committee of community leaders to make grants from the fund to nonprofit organizations and government agencies (not to individuals) that we know are providing direct services and have established systems in place to assess needs and get help to wildfire victims.
    • Grants were made proactively to first responders in the wildfire’s aftermath, and then in reaction to grant applications submitted by qualifying organizations.
    • After local nonprofits apply for grant funding, and get approved, ACF works expeditiously to distribute funds.
    • Finally, ACF also monitors for needs that aren’t being met and actively encourages collaboration among responders to craft solutions.
  • ACF's role is to ensure that resources are deployed to organizations that are getting help to people who need it most – and doing so reliably, efficiently and with consistency. Because our grantees, rather than ACF, provide assistance to people impacted by the wildfires, many wildfire victims aren’t aware that ACF funds are part of the equation.
  • Due diligence is a key component of disaster grantmaking, with ongoing reporting required of every organization that receives a grant. Along with ensuring grant funds are used to meet the needs intended, we are continuously working with experts and people on the ground to keep our response, and that of grantees, agile according to evolving and emerging needs. Efforts are also made to ensure that our efforts aren't duplicated, so that we can ensure further that our donors' dollars go as far as possible.
  • While funds are available, we continue to seek applications from qualifying organizations serving wildfire victims, and to create solutions for needs, applying disaster funds to the best possible programs to get people back on their feet.

Now that we have transitioned into the long-term response, recovery looks different than it did a year ago but needs continue to arise and change and will for months and years. ACF is focused on ensuring resources are invested wisely to support these long-term needs from the wildfire of 2011, such as legal and financial issues, mental health counseling, supplies of all kinds and more.


The Austin Community Foundation has pledged to be a part of years of long-term recovery and ensures funds continue to be distributed to grantees focused on wildfire victims’ recovery.

How does a nonprofit apply for a grant?

The application is closed. We will announce the next round of grantees in May 2012. Click here to see how grants were disbursed in December 2011.

How do I get help?

First, we're so sorry for your loss. Please know that we are working with others in the community to get help to all of the victims of the wildfire disaster.

There are a number of resources for those affected by the wildfires. Below are listed websites that are a good place to start:

BastropRelief.org

Combined Community Action, contact Kelly Franke

City of Spicewood

FEMA, Apply for Assistance

If you are aware of other resources for those affected by the wildfires, please let us know.

Can I have a fundraiser for CTWF?

Yes, we accept any and all monetary donations to the Central Texas Wildfire Fund. To learn more about the resources we can offer you for your fundraising event or campaigh, see How to Raise Money for CTWF. We also invite you to contact Monica Williams at mwilliams@austincf.org with any questions.

 Need more information? Please contact the Austin Community Foundation.

 

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Since 1977, Austin Community Foundation has helped caring people give more than $200 million in grants to make Austin the best place to live for everyone. We help people find creative and effective ways to give to the special causes dear to their hearts—or respond to our growing community’s changing needs.

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We are your Austin Community Foundation, where community resources meet community needs.

Together, we are generosity multiplied.