IAFF Foundation


IAFF Foundation

The IAFF Foundation’s mission is to support and protect the health, safety and welfare of IAFF members and their families in addition to the communities they serve.

The Foundation is supervised by Interim Executive Director Jeff Zack with support from Megan Currier, the foundation assistant. They are also responsible for all fundraising activities. Pat Morrison, the assistant for health, safety and medicine supervises program services for the disaster relief fund, the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Fund and the burn fund. Jim Ridley, the assistant for education and human relations, handles program services of the McClennan Scholarship Fund.

The burn fund is staffed by Tom Flamm, the program coordinator, Emily Washenko, the program assistant and the 16 IAFF district burn coordinators. JoAnn Wiley is the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial coordinator.

The foundation is legally registered to accept charitable donations in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining states do not require registration to fundraise or accept donations. These registrations are renewed each year, regardless of the amount of fundraising or donations collected in each state.

The foundation added a new director, Steve Derks, who accepted an invitation to join the board. He has more than 25 years of experience in non-profit organizations and charities. His expertise and insight will help the foundation achieve its goals and further its mission.

In 2018, our focus has been on restructuring and narrowing the scope of the foundation’s mission to ensure that it serves members in the most effective way possible. Efforts include potentially expanding the foundation’s mission to include assistance for members seeking treatment at the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery; establishing roles, responsibilities and position descriptions for board members; and identifying potential candidates outside of the IAFF to serve as independent board members.

Fundraising initiatives this year include our 100th Anniversary Gold and Black Gala, to be held during the 2018 Convention and the $100 for 100 Years campaign to encourage every IAFF member to donate $100 for the union’s 100 years of history.

While these fundraising efforts are underway, staff is developing a plan to engage potential donors for long-term, sustained giving activity.

Grants and Funding Overview

During the past two years, the IAFF focused its efforts on raising money to make the foundation completely self-sustaining. We made progress in securing new funding opportunities to finance all the foundation’s programs. In addition, the foundation developed relationships with several companies to form strategic partnerships and sustaining gift programs.

Armida Winery, the Sonoma County winery owned by Steve and Bruce Cousins, is currently sold out of all IAFF wines. We are in the process of evaluating the benefits of signing a new contract to produce more wines. In 2016, Armida sold a total of $76,399.00 in IAFF wines, donating $9,218.95 to the foundation. In 2017, total sales of IAFF wines were $40,581.01, with a $5,885.30 donation.

The IAFF Foundation participates in AmazonSmile, a simple and automatic way for people to support their favorite charitable organization every time they shop at no cost. Donors simply visit smile.amazon.com and choose the IAFF Foundation as the charity, then start shopping. If the individual is already an Amazon customer, the same account is used on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile, and 0.5 percent of the purchase price from eligible purchases is donated to the foundation. As of April 2018, the foundation raised $1,833.66 through AmazonSmile.

Our foundation is part of GuideStar (guidestar.org), a service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofit organizations. Its mission is “to revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions and encourages charitable giving.” GuideStar is one of the largest and most respected sources of information for potential donors. In 2018, the IAFF Foundation achieved GuideStar’s gold level charity status.

IAFF logo license royalties continue to be a source of income for the Foundation, which receives a $250 licensing fee, plus 2 percent of gross sales quarterly, from IAFF members who hold a logo license, and $1,000 and 4 percent from non-members. In 2016, we earned $95,158.16 in royalty income, and $142,152.79 in 2017.

In 2018, 28 runners joined our fitness team, raising money for the foundation as part of an opportunity to run the Marine Corp Marathon (MCM). We raised a total of $28,620.40, with a net profit of $7,000 to the Foundation. The 2017 fitness team raised $10,267.04 – well below what was anticipated. This fundraiser will likely be discontinued next year as there is declining interest in the event in general over the last several years. Instead, we will focus on more cost-effective fundraising opportunities.

The foundation continues to use social media with posts on Facebook, Twitter, the Foundation webpage and YouTube. We produced a “year in review” video highlighting the work of the foundation on behalf of our members in 2017. The foundation website has also been redesigned to make it easier to navigate.

Burn Fund

With a mission to uphold the long-standing tradition of supporting IAFF members, their families and their communities affected by burn trauma, the Burn Fund provides resources to help organize, facilitate and support IAFF members’ efforts and participation in burn prevention, awareness, fire safety, burn care, research and survivor support activities while improving the quality of life for burn survivors across North America.

The Burn Fund continues to develop its FEMA Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant. This project focuses on ION battery storage, disposal and the dangers these batteries pose to members in consumer products such as e-cigarettes, hover boards and other electronic devices that lead to injury. Modules on Energy Storage Systems (ESS), Tall Wood Structures and use of HVAC in fire situations will be added to our existing online code awareness program. The most recent Burn Awareness Summit was held in Los Angeles, California in February 2018. More than 30 IAFF members attended, along with various professionals within the burn community such as burn doctors, burn nurses and burn foundations. The next Burn Awareness Summit is in New Orleans, Louisiana in June 2018.

We applied for and received another FEMA grant for developing educational modules on fire retardant chemicals and fire sprinklers with a concentration on Organohalogens and Polybrominated Diphenyl Eithers (PBDEs), which make smoke even more hazardous and have been linked to rare cancers that disproportionately affect fire fighters. Congress recently passed PL 115-97, which will offer incentives for the installation of fire sprinklers. Under the new law, any sprinkler system installed after September 27, 2017 in either commercial or select residential structures until December 31, 2022 can be counted as an expense under the tax code. After 2022, the ability to deduct the cost will go down 20 percent per year until 2027 when the depreciation schedule will revert to 39 years for commercial buildings and 27.5 years for applicable residential structures.


We completed work for the YFIRES National Database at YFIRES.com. Approximately 300 organizations participate in the system, and we are adding cases for a study later in 2018.

Fire Fighter Burn Assistance Fund

Burn Fund assistance is awarded to provide financial assistance for temporary emergency expenses when an IAFF member or immediate family member (spouse or child) suffers a burn injury which requires admission to a burn center and leads to financial hardship. Stipends are only granted for immediate travel, housing, food, medical supplies, services and other similar assistance as deemed necessary.

In 2016, the Foundation distributed $12,500 in burn injury assistance grants to IAFF members, and distributed $19,500 in 2017.

Burn Camp

Both the 21st (2016) and 22nd (2017) Annual IAFF International Burn Camps were a great success and continue to be a model for other burn camps across North America. The 2016 and 2017 Burn Camps were attended by 45 and 41 campers, respectively.

As we continue into 2018, work on the upcoming 23rd annual IAFF International Burn Camp began with project planning and scheduling. This year’s camp will run from October 6-13 at Camp Wabanna in Edgewater, Maryland and will bring together teenage burn survivors (ages 13-15) and camp counselors from approximately 45 regional camps across North America.

Disaster Relief Fund

The IAFF Disaster Relief Fund provides financial assistance to IAFF members who suffer the loss of their residence and other hardships because of natural or man-made disasters such as floods, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wildfires or home fires. Disbursements are granted for immediate housing, food, clothing, medical supplies and other services as needed.

We experienced an unprecedented year in disaster relief assistance in 2017 as tens of thousands of IAFF members were affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Others needed assistance following the numerous wildfires in northern and southern California and after the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.

In 2017, the Disaster Relief Fund raised $720,528.10. In total, $462,500.00 was distributed in the form of $500 debit cards directly to members who lost their homes. Other aid included operation centers that provided food, water, clothing, fuel, generators, tarps, and chainsaws. We received 649 disaster relief applications, conducted 345 emergency home repairs and peer support teams visited 4,775 members. We provided $380,000 in Hepatitis A and Tetanus vaccines for members who were exposed to toxic water from the storms. After the mass shooting in Nevada, 16 peer support teams provided peer counseling for the more than 200 IAFF members affected.

Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Fund

The sacred ground of the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial is a place where thousands gather every September to celebrate and honor the lives of IAFF members who died in the line of duty during the past year. Hundreds more make private pilgrimages throughout the year. The 30th Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, held Saturday, September 17, 2016 honored 123 fallen members. In addition, 22 historical (legacy) line-of-duty deaths were added to the Wall of Honor. The 2017 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial service on September 16, 2017 honored 190 fallen members and was attended by more than 2,500 people.

W.H. “Howie” McClennan Scholarship Fund

The W.H. “Howie” McClennan Scholarship provides funding for post-secondary education for children of fire fighters and emergency medical personnel killed in the line of duty.

In the 2016-2017 school year we awarded 39 scholarships worth $97,500 to 17 new applicants and 22 renewals. For the 2017-2018 school year, 64 recipients received awards. There were 33 new applicants and 31 renewals. The total awarded was $160,000.

Jay Johnson, a IAFF member, now deceased, from San Mateo, CA Local 2400, bestowed most of his estate to the scholarship fund. To date the Fund has received more than $600,000 in donations.

Board of Directors

Harold A. Schaitberger, Chairman
Edward A. Kelly, Vice Chairman
Steve Derks, Director
Michael Hurley, Director
Frank Lima, Director
James Slevin, Director