The Governor’s Disaster Relief Fund
How can you help?
Governor Ralph S. Northam invites all Virginians to make a donation to the Disaster Relief Fund. The Fund provides financial assistance to help Virginia residents recover from disasters and emergencies, including those that do not cause property damage but which require human services.
What is the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund?
The Fund is as a “tool of last resort” when other state, federal, or private aid is not available to assist victims of disasters. Anyone can donate to the Fund, including individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, faith-based groups, etc. Donations are tax deductible.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management administers the Fund in collaboration with an advisory committee that includes representatives from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Department of Social Services, and Virginia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. See https://vavoad.org/).
How will the proceeds be distributed?
By design, all donations to the Fund go into a single account. Therefore, grants are not disbursed to specific individuals. Rather, any organization that is a member of Virginia VOAD can request grants on behalf of individuals or families to help them recover from emergency events.
VDEM staff and an advisory committee that includes representatives from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, the Virginia Department of Social Services, and Virginia VOAD review the grant applications.
The requesting organizations must demonstrate that they have adequate controls in place and the ability to ensure that the grants are used for their intended purpose. There is no specific list of allowable expenses; rather, the advisory committee makes a determination on a case-by-case basis that the requested amount will address a basic need.
Why is the program set up to work with VOAD organizations and not individuals?
Working through VOAD organizations enhances accountability and maximizes uses of the Fund. In this manner, the advisory committee can assess the extent of the need and verify whether other resources such as insurance may have already met a particular need. VOAD organizations will work with those individuals and families to request grants to meet those needs.
How can individuals in need of assistance inquire about the Fund?
Virginia residents with unmet disaster needs, including COVID-19, should first contact their local emergency management office. That office will then put the individual in contact with the respective VOAD organization that can best assist them. The VOAD organization will evaluate their need and may then submit a grant application, if the need meets the criteria set above. For a directory of local emergency management offices, visit https://lemd.vdem.virginia.gov/Public/Default.aspx.
How can I donate to the Fund?
You may make a donation by check. An online donations portal is being activated soon. Please make the check payable to “Treasurer of Virginia,” with “Virginia Disaster Relief Fund” noted in the memo line, and mail to:
Virginia Department of Emergency Management
Attn: Governor’s Disaster Relief Fund
9711 Farrar Court, Suite 200
North Chesterfield, VA 23236