Being a firefighter starts with a commitment to serve. Your community. Your department. Each other.
This simple, fundamental call to service-above-self inspired California Professional Firefighters to create an organization that reflects these core values: the California Fire Foundation.
For 30 years, the California Fire Foundation has recognized the sacrifice of California’s firefighters, honored the perseverance of those left behind, and worked for the communities they gave their lives to serve.
Initially, the impetus for creating a 501c3 non-profit foundation was deeply personal for every firefighter: honoring our fallen.
The California Fire Foundation was the cornerstone of the $2 million fundraising effort to build and maintain the California Firefighters Memorial in Sacramento.
Proud union firefighters by the thousands pitched in … from golf tournaments, fishing tournaments, bake sales … anything. Through CPF’s legislative advocacy, the Foundation’s Memorial drive also benefitted from a special firefighter license plate and a Firefighters Memorial Tax Check-Off on state income taxes.
To this day, the funds from these efforts allow for the continuing upkeep and improvement of the Memorial – the only self-sustaining memorial in Sacramento’s Capital Park.
For California’s firefighters, building a monument was only the beginning of the story. There were also the loved ones left behind and the communities they put their heart and soul into protecting.
Like the proud union members whose values it reflects, the California Fire Foundation answers the call:
For surviving families …
- The Foundation produces the annual California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony, giving families of newly-fallen firefighters a chance to feel the support of a proud profession.
- The Foundation publishes a comprehensive Survivor Benefits Guide, and helps families navigate a difficult path at a difficult time.
- Through the union’s governmental advocacy, the Foundation provides direct support for survivors with special problems, occasionally leading to important new legislation aiding fallen firefighter families.
For the children of our fallen … the Foundation funds the Daniel A. Terry Scholarship program. Named for CPF President-Emeritus Dan Terry, the Foundation offers $2,000 college scholarships to help the children of fallen heroes realize the dream of a college education.
For the fire service community …
- The Foundation supports the Pipes and Drums of the California Professional Firefighters. The 20-member pipe and drum band provides the traditional tribute at public safety memorials throughout California, as well as the California Firefighters Memorial;
- The Foundation runs the California Last Alarm Service Team (Cal-LAST), which offers a range of support services to departments and locals dealing with line of duty deaths.
For the communities we serve …
- The California Fire Foundation provides direct support for victims of fire and disaster through its Supplying Aid to Victims of Emergency (SAVE) program. Working with dozens of departments and local unions around the state, SAVE has helped more than 4,000 victims get through a difficult night with on-the-spot financial assistance in the form of a gift card.
- The Foundation also spearheads Firefighters On Your Side, a unique fire safety program targeting underserved communities. Working with local unions and departments, the program brings targeted safety messages in a number of languages, as well as disaster preparedness tips for elderly Californians.
Where does the money come from? Mostly from firefighters themselves, digging into their pockets as they did for the Memorial those many years ago. Support also comes from a growing number of individual and corporate donors, who believe in standing with their firefighters in serving individuals and communities in need.
The California Fire Foundation epitomizes CPF’s commitment to the call to service at the heart of our profession and our solidarity as union members.
Because the union is all of us.