Southern California Wildfire Rebuilding and Recovery Campaign Efforts

CHICAGO, Sept. 3, 2008 – The McCormick Foundation’s Board of Directors approved more than $6 million in grants for the 2008 southern California Fire Intervention Relief Effort (FIRE) campaign, based upon the recommendations of an advisory board consisting of representatives from AEG, legendary performer Garth Brooks, American Express and professional firefighters from the affected areas. The money will be granted to agencies providing aid to victims and their families, and first responders of the Los Angeles and San Diego wildfires. The grants will also provide financial assistance to California firefighting departments and organizations in need of additional or replacement firefighting equipment. A complete record of grants awarded is provided below.

In January 2008, AEG, Garth Brooks, Los Angeles Times and Ticketmaster reached out to the McCormick Foundation to facilitate the raising and distribution of funds to benefit southern California wildfire victims, as well as for the future of firefighting efforts in the state of California. Garth Brooks played five record-setting, sold-out concerts in two days at the Los Angeles STAPLES Center, with net proceeds donated directly to the 2008 FIRE Campaign.

The McCormick Foundation 2008 FIRE campaign raised $4.9 million, which includes Garth Brooks’ significant gift, American Express’ $1 million donation and additional contributions from Ticketmaster and hundreds of generous donors. With matching dollars provided by the Foundation, approximately $6 million will be distributed to nonprofit agencies providing direct services (i.e., shelter, housing and healthcare needs) to the most vulnerable survivors and the skills and resources needed to rebuild. Grants will also be used to replace and upgrade fire equipment for fire stations.

“All of the credit for the millions of dollars raised for our heroic firefighters goes to Garth Brooks and his unselfish fans who donated to this incredible cause,” said Timothy J. Leiweke, President and CEO, AEG. “We also owe a great deal of gratitude to our partners at American Express, The Los Angeles Times and Ticketmaster for stepping up when their assistance was truly needed and to David Grange and the McCormick Foundation whose efforts were invaluable in collecting and distributing the millions of dollars of donations to the appropriate recipients.”

“Because of the generosity of citizens across the country and the active engagement of our partners in the community, the Foundation is helping to solve critical challenges facing the victims of the California fires,” said David L. Grange, President and CEO, McCormick Foundation. “We believe that these grants will enable agencies to provide recovery services to at-risk families and better prepare for future crises.”

After a detailed review of the areas affected by the fires, the McCormick Foundation, AEG, Garth Brooks and American Express agreed to designate 70 percent of funds to San Diego County, and 30 percent to communities within San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles counties. Funding will be directed exclusively towards low-income communities affected by the 2007 wildfires.

“Joining Garth Brooks, AEG, McCormick Foundation and American Express in bringing relief to our Southern California friends, neighbors and firefighting organizations has been an honor,” said Jack D. Klunder, President, Los Angeles Times Newspaper. “The San Diego and Los Angeles communities truly came together to provide supportive donations which, along with our partners’ generous efforts, will now aid in the massive recovery underway.”

“We are delighted to have partnered with Garth Brooks to raise these much needed funds to help relief efforts and local fire departments in the affected California communities,” said Colin D. Temple, Vice President and GM Client Management Western Region, American Express.

The McCormick Foundation has conducted disaster relief campaigns for 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and, most recently, for the Midwest flooding. The McCormick Foundation’s prior fire relief campaign in October 2007 granted more than $1.2 million to agencies in southern California that provided front-line emergency services to wildfire victims.

A complete listing of the 2008 FIRE campaign grants approved by the McCormick Foundation’s Board of Directors is available at


About the McCormick Foundation:

The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. Through its five grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, and three world-class museums, the Foundation helps build a more active and engaged citizenry. The Foundation was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Foundation is one of the nation’s largest charities, with $1.2 billion in assets.

The McCormick Foundation’s communities program is a unique grantmaking effort that stimulates local philanthropy and improves community life across the country. Each year thousands of people make donations to the Foundation through various fundraising activities, including direct mail, online giving and special campaigns assisted by the Foundation’s 32 newspaper, broadcast and sports team partners in communities nationwide.

For more information, please visit

About the Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of 2.2 million and 3.2 million on Sunday, and a combined print and interactive weekly audience of 4.8 million. The Los Angeles Times and its media businesses and affiliates – including The Envelope , Metromix , Times Community Newspapers, Hoy , and California Community News – reach approximately 5.5 million or 42% of all adults in the Southern California marketplace. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times, has been covering Southern California for over 126 years and is part of Tribune Company, one of the country’s leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting. Additional information is available at

Kristin Kiss (312) 222-4502
Nancy Sullivan (213) 237-6160