Big Sur Aid Topped $1.3 Million

Big Sur Aid Topped $1.3 Million

Community Rallied to Support Big Sur

In the wake of a fire, then flooding, then a landslide that isolated iconic Big Sur, generosity proved be just as formidable as the destruction caused.

Donations totalled $1,392,199 to aid the Big Sur community through the Big Sur Relief and Soberanes Fire Funds of the Community Foundation for Monterey County. Help was swift and strong.

The Pfeiffer Bridge was closed for eight months until being rebuilt and opened Oct. 13, 2017.

The bridge opening was celebrated with a gathering of community on the new bridge with local dignitaries, state officials and bridge workers thanked for their dedicated focus to reconnect a key span of Highway 1. Click here to here to watch.

Some 13 acres was added to the California coastline due to the one-million-ton Mud Creek landslide south of Big Sur on May 20th. The community’s economic lifeline – Highway 1 – was closed and communities are recovering.  (Note: Highway 1 at Mud Creek reopened July 18, 2018).

Helping Those in Need

Big Sur Relief BannerThe Big Sur Relief Fund was created at the urging of David Fink, Founder/CEO of Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group, together with owners of Nepenthe, Ventana Inn & Spa, Post Ranch Inn and other businesses in the hospitality industry.

Big Sur Relief Fund Grants

In 2017 $352,199 was granted to aid residents and workers. Support was directed to qualified individuals through an extensive vetting process by the Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA). A final $60,000 was granted in 2018 to Big Sur Fire, Big Sur Health Center and Mid-Coast Fire Brigade, bringing the total raised and granted to $412,199.

We are working closely together to leverage the donated funds to realize the maximum benefit for the greatest number of folks impacted.” – Patte Kronlund, CPOA Advisory Board

Big Sur Relief Fund Grant Detail


Organization Name Date Awarded Amount Description
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 5/10/17 $208,000 Immediate relief for those not working in the Big Sur area due to the failure of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and closures along Highway 1
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 9/15/17 $135,000 Immediate Relief for those not working or reduced hours in Big Sur due to Pfeiffer Canyon and Hwy 1 closures
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 12/8/17 $9,199 Final distribution to those impacted by the Highway Closure
Big Sur Health Center 7/24/18 $25,000
Big Sur Fire 7/24/18 $25,000
Mid-Coast Fire Brigade 7/24/18 $10,000
Total $412,199

See photos from July 2018 check presentation ceremony.

Soberanes Fire Sparked Giving

CPOA_LynnChristineThe Soberanes Fire Fund was created within 72 hours after the July 22, 2016 blaze began. The goal was to provide resources for relief, recovery and rebuilding. In addition to individual contributions, donations came in from area businesses, artists and retailers, restaurants and wineries, with 8% of the gifts coming from individuals outside California and even other countries. Gifts ranged from $5 to $110,000 and totaled $980,052.

“The partnership between CPOA and CFMC has been seamless,” says Patte Kronlund, CPOA advisory board member. “It was CPOA’s intimate knowledge of community and landscape and CFMC fundraising capability which has allowed meaningful immediate relief.”

Soberanes Fire Fund Grants

A special grant committee, made up of veteran grantmakers and people from Big Sur, deliberated on grant awards totaling $980,052 though September including:

  • Immediate relief, ash and debris removal
  • Water system repair and replacement
  • Septic system inspection and repair
  • Shared private roads repair and maintenance

Soberanes Fire Fund Grant Detail

Organization Name Date Awarded Amount Description
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 8/4/16 $10,000 Relief to Big Sur residents displaced by the Soberanes Fire
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 8/19/16 $30,000 Relief given to property owners who lost their dwelling
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 8/25/16 $25,000 Relief given to property owners, renters and caretakers who lost their dwelling
Community Emergency Response Volunteers
of the Monterey Peninsula
8/30/16 $10,000 Relief to Cachagua / Tassajara / Jamesburg residents displaced by the Soberanes Fire
Community Emergency Response Volunteers
of the Monterey Peninsula
9/2/16 $20,000 Relief to Cachagua / Tassajara / Jamesburg residents displaced by the Soberanes Fire
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 9/13/16 $306.72 Reimbursement for bottled water for Palo Colorado residents
Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey 9/16/16 $20.00 Spanish translation services for a fire victim resource guide
Mid-Coast Fire Brigade  9/16/16 $36,756.40 Water tanks and community signage
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 9/21/16 $120,000 Water system subsidy for uninsured or underinsured property owners impacted by the Soberanes Fire
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 9/30/16 $24,000 Septic system inspection fees for uninsured or underinsured property owners impacted by the Soberanes Fire
Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council, Boy Scouts of America 10/11/16 $18,000 Fire management plan and tree removal equipment for Camp Pico Blanco
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 11/17/16 $24,610 Support for artisan food producers impacted by the fire (funds from Cultura Carmel Fundraiser designated for this purpose)
Big Sur Land Trust 11/17/16 $50,000 Restoration projects at Mitteldorf Preserve including tree removal, road drainage, debris blockages and road repair
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 11/23/16 $97,353 Road repair and replacement of culverts to prepare for winter rains
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 12/30/16 $50,000 Ash & debris removal in Palo Colorado
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 1/19/17 $50,000 Emergency road repair due to winter rains
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 3/31/17 $200,000 Reimbursement of immediate relief and ash and debris removal
Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) 5/16/17 $188,000 Ongoing rebuilding
Los Padres Forest Association  6/23/17 $11,547.50 Big Sur Station operating support
Big Sur Land Trust  6/23/17 $11,547.50 Road Restoration at Glen Deven Ranch

A Magical Place

Hopes for Big SUr ReliefBig Sur holds a special place in the hearts of many, evident by the donations that came from throughout the nation. Many donations received by the CFMC have included special notes of encouragement.




We are devastated to hear about the conditions in Big Sur – It’s always been our happy to-to magical place.” – Nancy and Thomas, NYC

100% of donations were used to provide relief and assistance to the affected residents and individuals working in Big Sur in Monterey County, California.

Updated 7/31/2018

About the Community Foundation for Monterey County The mission of the CFMC is to inspire philanthropy and be a catalyst for strengthening communities throughout Monterey County. Thanks to generous community members who have created charitable funds in their lifetimes or through their estates, the CFMC has granted more than $150 million to nonprofits working towards healthy, safe, vibrant communities. In 2016 the foundation awarded more than $15.4 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofit organizations. For more, information visit, call 831.375.9712 or stay connected at or