A Community Acts Quickly After a Disaster to Repair and Heal

 In philanthropy

The small plane crash in East Palo Alto on 17 February, 2010 took the lives of the three people in the plane, all employees of Tesla, and destroyed a number of homes and vehicles on the ground.

Concerned members of the community came together to provide support for the Beech Street residents impacted by this tragic event.  Members of the Palo Alto Airport Association (PAAA) galvanized around this issue, and rallied support and partnerships.  Key to the success of this effort was the ability to raise funds quickly and to provide immediate assistance where needed.  PAAA member and PVF donor, Peter Carpenter, turned to Philanthropic Ventures Foundation to administer a fund to accept donations: The EPA Plane Crash Emergency Assistance Fund.

Partnering with agencies – in particular, Fire Chief Harold Shapelhouman of the Menlo Fire District, and Elizabeth Lam of the East Palo Alto Police Department – the immediate needs were assessed.  Where needs were not covered by the American Red Cross, Human Services Agency, and nonprofits such as El Concilio, funding from individual donors was made available.  For Beech Street residents who lost vehicles and sustained damage to their homes, needs not covered by insurance ranged from interim housing to vehicle replacement and site cleanup.

For example, one resident lost a truck used daily in his hauling and recycling business.  His vehicle was his livelihood, and replacing the truck was an urgent need that could not wait for the insurance process.   In addition to the many who contributed money, Palo Alto Airport Association member Dave Hengehold, owner of Hengehold Trucks, spent significant effort locating a really good replacement truck, ran it through his shop to ensure that it was safe and operational, and handled all the paperwork for the DMV on a pro bono basis.

PVF is proud to partner with the Palo Alto Pilots Association and community donors who acted quickly to repair and heal after this disaster.

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