Community foundation receives $ 19.5 million and counts for those affected by the Marshall fire

In the weeks following the destruction of more than 1,000 homes in the Marshall Fire, Colorado organizations, businesses and individuals donated millions of dollars to support Boulder County residents affected by the fire in order to fill the gaps of insurers and other government agencies. .

“We predict that insurance will be insufficient for many due to rising labor costs (and) due to rising construction costs,” said Tatiana Hernandez, president of the Community Foundation Boulder County.

Hernandez spoke on Tuesday at a virtual press conference hosted by Governor Jared Polis’ office to discuss how organizations like the Boulder County Community Foundation and others are working to help people.

The Marshall Fire swept through eastern Boulder County on December 30 and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. When the numbers finally add up, it will easily be the most destructive fire in Colorado history.

So far, the community foundation has raised $ 19.5 million, Hernandez said. This is the sixth and largest emergency fund managed by the foundation. It has already distributed approximately $ 3.8 million to approximately 1,400 individuals and families.

“I would say we are still running out of what might be needed,” she said.

Polis said on Tuesday that money donated to the community foundation would help people get started with reconstruction or look to buy or rent homes in a new area.

“I think for most families (rebuilding) the one to two year period is probably the closest period you can realistically consider to rebuild,” he said. “For many (it will be) closer to two years.”

John Hayes, CEO of Ball Corp., said on Tuesday the company had donated $ 1 million to the community foundation forest fire fund, which supports those affected by the Marshall fire. Additionally, workers at the company raised over $ 250,000 for the fund, which Ball Corp. plans to match.

He said the money would help people rebuild homes or buy new clothes or cars, but also stressed the need to fund mental health resources.

“Let us also not forget the mental health issues that are happening – whether it’s the people who have lost everything and are overwhelmed by the anxiety they feel or even those people whose homes were spared but their neighbors were not. and the survivor’s sense of guilt, ”said Hayes.

During the virtual press conference, Brian Cain, director of sustainability at Colorado-based Civitas, said he also pledged $ 1 million to support the community foundation’s efforts.

“We know it is an organization that belongs to this community,” he said. “They are not going anywhere and they will continue to mobilize support for those who need it most – not for weeks or months, but throughout this year and the next as we move from triage to triage. recovery and ultimately reconstruction. “

Much of Tuesday’s discussion centered on the restart and the funding available to those affected by the Marshall fire. At the end of the conversation, Polis was asked about plans to mitigate forest fires in the future to prevent the destruction from happening again.

He said the topic will be part of this year’s legislative session, which begins Wednesday.

“We plan to focus this conversation on steps we could take with our legislature to improve fire safety across Colorado,” he said.

About Bradley J. Bridges

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