USA – CALISTOGA (CBS SF) — North Bay wildfire victims approaching a deadline to apply for Pacific Gas and Electric settlement funds are getting a boost from a new tool to help them on their road to recovery.
Goodnation, an online donation platform, is partnering with the Mayacamas Ranch resort in Calistoga which was destroyed in the 2017 Tubbs Fire to enable wildfire victims to earmark settlement money to other wildfire victims who may have more need.
Organizers of the Rise and Regenerate Fund say it will help wildfire victims donate all or a portion of their PG&E settlement funds to nonprofits which are helping victims still facing hardships.
The fund organizerts cited reports showing a majority of the 100,000 wildfire victims have not yet filed claims ahead of the Dec. 31 deadling, or might not even apply for their share of the settlement, in part because they think there are others in greater need of support.
PG&E reached a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of the wildfires blamed on the utility’s equipment. The deal allows PG&E to skip a January civil trial to determine whether the company was liable for the Tubbs Fire that killed 22 people, and cancels plans for a federal court hearing to determine the company’s total bill for all the fires tied to its power systems from 2015 through 2018.
“It may seem counterintuitive that people donate money they are receiving as compensation for damages to their property, but many California wildfire victims are not filing claims because they feel there are others who need the money more than they do,” said Rob Hansen, President of Goodnation in a prepared statemen. “If you don’t file before the deadline, the money will most definitely not get to those who are still suffering. We built the Rise and Regenerate Fund as an easy and innovative way to ensure the PG&E claim money reaches the victims who need it the most and as quickly as possible.”
David Levy, the owner of Mayacamas Ranch, says his wellness retreat is committed to helping his neighbors rebuild their homes and businesses, as he tries to rebuild his own property.
“As a wildfire survivor myself, I understand the devastating trauma people across the state are experiencing, and I also know the transformational and healing power of giving back and helping others,” said Levy in a statement. “In the midst of a crisis, we are often too overwhelmed to take action. That’s why what we’re doing with Goodnation is truly innovative. We’re reaching people who want to help and giving them the ability to easily and immediately act upon that intent.”