It’s easy to feel helpless after watching communities experience devastation. Many find it overwhelming to determine the best way to help whether they are directly affected by tragedy themselves or hope to lend a hand from afar. Although an immediate thought is to send items — food, clothes, blankets — in the wake of a disaster the most valuable resource to give is money. The needs of affected communities change constantly as they try to recover and by receiving direct donations, they are able to use the money in the area of their most pressing need.

Living in a digital world makes it very convenient for donors to click a link, make an online donation, and continue with their day. But, just like any other online transaction, it’s imperative to vet the source before sending money to ensure the donation reaches those who need it most.

One of the best ways to do this is to send donations to a community foundation. A foundation’s role is to have the knowledge and relationships within the community it serves to fill that community’s needs. They accomplish this by bringing donors and nonprofits together. When giving to a community foundation, let them know how you want your donation designated. By making a specific designation, that contribution can be restricted and only used to support the efforts for which you intended your dollars to benefit.

When disaster strikes, community foundations establish disaster relief funds so your donation can go directly to the communities affected. Below is a list of foundations in communities you’ve been hearing about lately:

• Oklahoma Cattleman’s Foundation — Fire Relief Fund

• Miami Foundation — Hurricane Relief Fund

• Napa Valley Community Foundation

• Community Foundation Sonoma County

• North Carolina Community Foundation — Disaster Relief Fund

• Central Carolina Community Foundation — One SC Fund

Contact the Bartlesville Community Foundation to learn more about getting involved in your community. Together we can make a difference in the lives of others. Call 918-337-2287 or visit their website to donate online at