OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Immediately following the North Bay wildfires, the community came to the rescue making donations, providing monetary support and planning fundraising events to help fire victims get back on their feet. Now, more than four months later, 2 Investigates is following the money trail to see where all of those donations are going.
Two fire relief benefit concerts and major donors helped pull in more than $60 million that 100 percent was said to go directly to help those affected. Since then, it appears all of that money has been distributed to dozens of charities and given as grants to nonprofit groups.
A group called Tipping Point organized and managed the two major benefit concerts. Tipping Point has been around 13 years and focuses on poverty in the Bay Area, however, the group has never done emergency relief.
The managing nonprofit collected $32 million and then researched and looked at need to determine how donations should be distributed to partnering and other nonprofit groups, including the Salvation Army, Santa Rosa Community Health and Catholic Charities Santa Rosa.
Tipping Point said right now, about 20 organizations have received a total of $11 million. The rest of the $32 million dollars is said to be given out throughout the year, based on need. The group does not give out individual checks to fire victims.
2 Investigates looked at the long list of charities Tipping Point has donated to and none of them appear questionable.
Redwood Credit Union also set up a massive collection called the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. It closed Friday and is no longer accepting new donations.
That fund did initially give out small checks directly to fire victims, typically about $1,000 a person. Additionally, it gave out $500 checks to 2,200 students to help them out following the fires.
Redwood Credit Union’s North Bay Fire Relief Fund also raised $32 million, and was made up of 40,000 donations. Recently, 50 grants were awarded to 56 charities, of which 2 Investigates found none to be suspicious for fraud.
If a fire victim needs assistance, visit the North Bay Fire Relief Fund website to find and contact individual nonprofits that could fit a victim’s needs.
2 Investigates followed the money to make sure help is going directly back into the affected communities. Tips alleging fraud can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org