Photo: Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

PAJARO—Community Foundations in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties have teamed up to distribute funding to nonprofits that are aiding flood recovery efforts in Pajaro.

The Community Foundation for Monterey County and Community Foundation Santa Cruz County each activated funds to support storm and flood relief efforts when the first winter storms hit in early January. Both the Monterey County Storm Relief Fund and the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund have been working to provide emergency assistance and relief through local nonprofits for immediate needs including food, emergency shelter, financial assistance to those evacuated, as well as longer term recovery efforts. 

Now, with the March 11 breach of the Pajaro River levee, both Community Foundations are directing relief funding to nonprofits who are helping thousands of evacuated residents, the majority of whom are Latino farm working families.  

“The flooding in Pajaro is extremely challenging on many levels,” said Dan Baldwin, CEO of Community Foundation for Monterey County. “The closest services are in Watsonville with Santa Cruz County government and nonprofit leadership, but the people from Pajaro are residents of Monterey County. Both our community foundations have strong and trusted partnerships with nonprofits who are on the ground providing immediate support.” 

Susan True, CEO of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, said people from both counties have been reaching out to ask where they can donate.

“Due to the strong collaboration between our counties, we urge donations to either fund and assure you that your gift will make an immediate impact for the families of Pajaro,” she said. 

Donors are welcome to direct gifts specifically to the Pajaro area by noting “Pajaro” in the comment field of the donation pages: Relief or 

Both community foundations have been in constant contact with nonprofits that are coordinating services for displaced residents. Community Foundation Santa Cruz County has made an initial grant to Second Harvest Food Bank for food for evacuees. Second Harvest is in direct contact with the state’s Office of Emergency Services and will get shipments of diapers, formula and food this week. Both foundations will be making more grants this week and will continue to do so as long as donations allow.  

“People have been through so much already and with another storm looming on the horizon, there is still so much work ahead of us in the coming weeks and months,” True said. “Community Foundation Santa Cruz County will work to bolster the disaster case management system we created with FEMA and the state to make sure that residents are helped with every public dollar available. Local philanthropy can address the gaps for relocation, repairs and rebuilding.”

Those wanting to contribute to the Monterey County Storm Relief can donate online at, mail a check payable to “CFMC” to the Community Foundation for Monterey County, 2354 Garden Road, Monterey, CA 93940 with “Storm Relief Fund” in memo line or call 375.9712 weekdays from 8:30am to 5pm.  

To contribute to the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund, donate online at, mail a check payable to “CFSCC” to Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, 7807 Soquel Drive, Aptos, CA 95003 with “Storm Relief Fund” in the memo line or call 662.2000 from 9am to 5pm.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


  1. Where is FEMA in Pajaro. They were there in Jan. But are now nowhere to be found? Is this some kind of Jock on the people of Pajaro. My tenant was told he is to late to file a claim with the flood as the disaster was in January! We the flood was on March 10th 2023.

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