A fund to fight the flames

In response to fires in the fall of 2020, Oregon Community Credit Union’s Foundation created a relief fund focused on mid-term recovery needs.

Over Labor Day weekend 2020, 11 different significant wildfires — defined as burning 1,000 acres or more — broke out in Oregon. All told, these fires burned more than 721,000 acres of land, destroying thousands of structures and causing dozens of injuries and even death.

The largest of the group, the Holiday Farm fire, raged in Lane and Linn counties between September 7 and October 26, affecting 173,000 acres, destroying 770 structures, and resulting in six injuries and one fatality. It ranks as the 10th-largest fire in the state’s history, behind two other 2020 fires — Lionshead and Beachie Creek — that burned concurrently to the northeast.

In response to the activity, OCCU Foundation launched a Fire Relief Fund on September 8. The 501(c)(3) foundation of Lane County-based Oregon Community Credit Union (OCCU) ($2.6B, Eugene, OR) created the fund specifically to support those affected by Oregon’s wildfires.

Here, Laura Brown, OCCU Foundation Administrator, discusses her foundation’s quick response, its experience in establishing the fund, soliciting donations, the future of the fund, and more.


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