Solano Community Foundation and Nonprofit Partners Distributed over 100 Air Purifiers in South Vallejo on Sunday
“Solano Community Foundation Funds New Strategies that may Keep South Vallejo Kids Healthier During “Wildfire Season’”
(Fairfield, Calif.) – It was cold and foggy in South Vallejo on Sunday November 14 but over a hundred families turned out for an air-purifier give away that is part of the Solano Community Foundation’s Wildfire Smoke Harm Reduction Pilot Project. The IAF Common Ground, Fresh Air Vallejo, Loera Diaz Centro Latino, and Touro University staff, greeted a line of cars filled with South Vallejo families at Grace Patterson Elementary to give them Smart Air Purifying HEPA devices that could not only improve day-to day-air quality in their homes, but protect them from dangerous wildfire smoke.
The Wildfire Smoke Harm Reduction Project is being piloted in South Vallejo and the giveaway took place at Grace Patterson Elementary School. Dr. Lori Allio the Director of Strategic Partnerships at the Solano Community Foundation stated, “South Vallejo seemed the ideal place to see if this strategy can help families with young children. South Vallejo and the 94590 zip code already have some of the highest asthma rates in California and many young children live there who are particularly vulnerable to lung damage from wildfire smoke.” Dr. Allio noted that the smoke was particularly dangerous because the smoke did damage in addition to the everyday burden of air pollution in the area.
The collaboration of these nonprofits began when the Solano Community Foundation reached out to the organizations about the potential for a grant and whether they would be willing to try the idea of aiding families with some of the highest pollution burdens to create “Clean Air Zones” in their homes. With wildfire becoming an annual event, the dangers of repeated exposure to wildfire smoke are very serious, particularly for small children whose lungs can suffer damage that will last a lifetime. Where staying inside with the windows shut can provide you with protection for 30% of the smoke, an air purifier with a HEPA filter can reduce the smoke indoors by 50-80% according to Western States Pediatric Health Unit.
Four specific organizations were selected by the Foundation to participate and receive grants for this Project to see if providing the purifiers would could help families to reduce the damage done by local pollution along with the episodes of dense widespread wildfire smoke that were occurring. The nonprofit organizations IAF Common Ground, Fresh Air Vallejo, and Loera Diaz Centro Latino were selected based on their close connections with the South Vallejo resident community and Touro University was chosen because of their understanding of community health and their ability to coordinate a large purchase of 125 air purifiers. Touro also took responsibility for training participants and assisted the group in documenting and learning from the project.
The grants began in June when the nonprofit community-based organizations came together with Touro staff to co-design the distribution, identify additional individuals to serve as promotoras or community health promotors, and to begin their community outreach and education regarding the distribution and use of the purifiers The nonprofit volunteers and staff members were also key in getting the details out to the community so that parents and kids were aware of the opportunity and arrived at the campus at the right time and place. The project will conclude in coming weeks as the nonprofits and university follow up with the families and provide them with additional resources.
The program was made possible by a donor who specified that the funds should be targeting communities bearing a high burden from the wildfires with few resources to address them. CEO Harris stated, “We are grateful to our donor who gave us the opportunity to help South Vallejo families by giving them devices that can help them to stay healthy even when conditions outside are not.”
The Solano Community Foundation is a qualified public charity that received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt determination in March of 1996. It serves the charitable needs of Solano County residents. It administers a number of component funds that make grants and award scholarships to other non-profits and schools. The Foundation also offers community workshops and training in the areas of governance, fundraising, leadership, and management, and advocates for needed programs and services. To learn more about SCF’s mission, funds, or programs, or to join their Nonprofit Partnership Program, visit their website at www.solanocf.org. Look for them on Facebook as Solano Community Foundation. They are also on Twitter and Instagram.