Emergency Response Expert Joins Board of Directors

Media Contact: Jeremy Jacobs, [email protected], (858) 531-3362 

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — ShelterBox USA, a global humanitarian relief organization, announced today that Santa Rosa, Calif.’s Holly Rickett, an emergency response legal expert and county attorney, has joined its Board of Directors.  

Rickett is Deputy Counsel for the Office of the Sonoma County Counsel and member of the county’s emergency response legal team. She and the Office of the Sonoma County Counsel have become renowned experts on government responses to natural disasters since 2017, when some of the largest fires in California history ravaged the county, torching at least 245,000 acres and causing $14.5 billion in damages.  

“We are thrilled to have Holly on our Board,” said ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray. “Holly brings invaluable real-world experience in exactly what ShelterBox does: provide emergency relief to thousands of people forced from their homes by natural disasters. We know Holly will play a vital role as ShelterBox continues to grow and provide more lifesaving aid around the world.” 

For more than 20 years, ShelterBox has provided shelter and other essential items to the most vulnerable forced from their homes by disaster and conflict. It is currently responding to the crisis in Ukraine, setting up multiple relief programs both inside and outside the country, to help the more than 6.8 million refugees who have fled Ukraine, and the millions who remain internally displaced within the country. 

I am drawn to organizations that are focused on one thing and do it well. ShelterBox truly does that.”

Rickett learned about ShelterBox nine years ago and was immediately drawn to it.   

“I like tip of the spear organizations and ShelterBox is one of them,” Rickett said. “I am drawn to organizations that are focused on one thing and do it well. ShelterBox truly does that. And having gone through natural disasters personally and seeing what shelter means to people when they don’t have it, I get it at the gut level.” 

ShelterBox provides shelter and other essential items following natural disasters and in prolonged conflict zones. Its support includes large tents, as well as other items customized to each response, such as solar lanterns, blankets, cook sets, tools, tarps, ropes, water filters and carriers, and other items. 

Since its founding in 2000, it has provided aid to more than 2 million people, responding to more than 300 disasters and conflicts in nearly 100 countries. ShelterBox currently has programs in conflict areas like Syria and Ethiopia, and recently launched an effort in Yemen, home of what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. ShelterBox also carried out its largest disaster response to date in the Philippines after Typhoon Rai last December. 

The 2017 wildfires and Rickett’s work following them shifted her feelings about ShelterBox’s mission – and made her want to get more involved.  

“I understand the necessity – emotionally and physically – to having shelter. It means so much more than a tent above your head. So much more,” she said. “I came at it from an intellectual level, but now I get it from an emotional one.” 

Rickett, who also teaches at the Empire College School of Law in Santa Rosa, is also a competitive poker player, and hopes to help organize an online poker tournament to benefit ShelterBox USA. She said she is going “all in” on ShelterBox now that her two children have grown and left the house.  

“The poker world is always looking to do good things,” she said. “There are great people in the poker world.” 

  • Photo of Rickett provided below. Additional photos of ShelterBox’s deployments available. 
  • Kerri and Holly are available for interviews.  

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