WMA Foundation Helps California Mobile Home Owners
By: WMA Foundation
Established in 2005 the WMA Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to enrich the quality of life for all disadvantaged Californians living in manufactured housing communities (aka MHPs).
Since 2005 the WMA Foundation has raised over $500,000 and donated nearly all of it to MHP residents in California. "In the charitable giving world, efficiency is important," beams Betsey Soderston, the Foundation's Treasurer. "I am proud that around 95% of monies raised are used for charitable function. I even do the tax return myself to be able to give away even more to residents." Soderston adds, "It is nice to be able to send money so quickly and help residents after tragedy strikes. Sometimes we even beat the insurance companies."
Nearly all of the funds raised by the Foundation come from manufactured housing community owners and the service industry. "It may not make for juicy headlines, but the vast majority of mobile home park owners are good and caring people who give back to their customers when tragedy strikes," adds Sheila Dey, Executive Director of the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association ("WMA"), the sister-organization of the Foundation. "It's unfortunate that many otherwise thoughtful people choose to believe stereotypes and the rare salacious anecdotes about our industry. But we will just keep doing what we are doing, helping those in our communities who are in need."
While the WMA Foundation team is content to carry out its mission regardless of recognition receiving a formal letter of gratitude is displayed proudly at WMA. Senator Mark Wyland remarked about the Foundation's efforts, "The outpouring of donations and support for fire victims has been overwhelming. Your assistance and compassion during this time have shown the nation California's character, and our ability to join together when disaster strikes."
According to Dey, the WMA Foundation responded with numerous checks paid directly to impacted mobile home owners after the Rice Fire in 2007, the Sayre Fire in 2008, the South Napa Earthquake of 2014, the Tubbs Fire of 2017, the Camp Fire of 2018, and the Sandalwood Fire among others.
During this time where every Californian is impacted by tragedies like COVID-19 the WMA Foundation is even more committed to joining together as Senator Wyland championed. "We don't yet know how many in our parks will be affected by the pandemic," says Dey. "But the WMA Foundation is ready to help."