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NCO Awarded over $500,000 for Lake & Mendocino Counties

Monday, August 12, 2019


With 5 years of leadership in disaster response and community rebuilding, North Coast Opportunities (NCO) announces a new project. Lake and Mendocino Counties have each received more than half a million dollars towards disaster preparedness for vulnerable populations. The new, Emergency Preparedness in Communities program, known as EPIC, will award mini grants to provide culturally and linguistically competent emergency preparedness trainings, assistance, or solutions.  

EPIC mini grants can range from $1000 to $25,000. Applications will be available this fall, but as EPIC Coordinator Tammy Alakszay explains, "start thinking about your proposal now, we’re here to help you get prepared.” Applicants don’t have to be registered nonprofits. Any group can apply including small businesses, schools, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, student groups, and any other group serving diverse, vulnerable, and hard to reach populations.   

Vulnerable populations include any people most likely to be seriously affected by a disaster. That could mean underserved groups like the elderly, disabled, minority ethnic or racial groups, non-English speakers, LBGTQ+, youth, or people facing homelessness.  Disaster survivors, people living in frontier communities, or living with hazards like limited evacuation routes, are also listed as vulnerable populations. EPIC Coordinator Megan Watson said, “If your community can benefit from extra support preparing for emergencies like fires or floods, this grant is for you.” 

There are many ways to be prepared, other than having a go-bag and evacuation plan. Helping community members, individuals and families to be safe before and during a disaster, then recover and thrive afterwards, counts as preparedness. “We hope that a variety of ideas to address disaster preparedness and education will emerge as groups apply for grants to help vulnerable populations who are at risk from a disaster,” said NCO Executive Director, Patty Bruder. 

Groups that receive grants must be able to track and report their activities, who they are serving, and follow a state mandated curriculum.  NCO will support grantees with training and technical support during the grant period. Grantees will also get a chance to help each other during support days hosted by NCO.  

Grant applications will be assessed depending on the project and need, how many people are reached, long-term sustainability, and the groups’ ability to do the work. In general, funding is for education and communication, not fire-fighting materials such as; chippers or water tanks. No matching contributions are required. NCO encourages applicants to work together on relevant and integrated solutions.  

NCO will release more information as it becomes available. “We are still gathering information from the state, participating in required trainings, and learning about the required curriculum. As soon as our documentation is complete, we will begin accepting applications in both counties. We are determined to make these funds available to community groups as soon as possible,” says Robyn Bera, NCOs Director of Community Projects.  

Any questions about EPIC grants in Mendocino County may be directed to Megan Watson, EPIC coordinator:  

Any questions about EPIC grants in Lake County may be directed to Tammy Alakszay, EPIC coordinator: