Archive for the ‘Disaster Grantmaking’ Category

As our nation sits and watches the devastation in Oklahoma following a series of tornadoes this week, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Jennifer Lammers, the new Program Director for the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, about an article she wrote following the 9/11 attacks.  She referenced the piece during a call with a [...]

Hurricane Sandy has once again brought disasters—and the desire to help—to the forefront.
Media attention has been critical to the nation’s preparedness efforts and in bringing immediate relief to affected communities. But lives will be impacted long after the storm has passed and media attention has faded. This is where private philanthropy can do its best [...]

On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast. Within hours, it became one of the deadliest and costliest hurricanes in U.S. history. As a Southern funder, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation recognized that while Katrina was an equal opportunity destroyer, it was not going to be an equal opportunity [...]

El Pomar Foundation began preparing to respond to one of the worst natural disasters in Colorado history 10 years before the first sign of smoke in Waldo Canyon. In June 2002, the Hayman fire ripped through four Colorado counties, consuming more than 137,000 acres. While those flames were still active, El Pomar trustees established an [...]

If there is an epicenter of the decline of a city and its loss of an economic base, the candidates start with Detroit, where the population has plummeted 25 percent in the last decade to 714,000–this for a city whose population was 1.85 million in 1950. The city now has an extraordinarily high poverty rate, [...]

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it [...]

Especially in our current funding climate, partnership and authentic engagement with those we seek to serve is critical to ensuring that limited philanthropic resources are invested wisely and deliver the greatest possible impact for those most in need.
The success of Foundation for Louisiana’s citizen’s guides illustrates just how important and rewarding it is for philanthropy [...]

One year after the complex disaster in the Tohoku region of Japan, much remains to be done to rebuild lives and communities in the stricken area. Tohoku will need business and philanthropic investments for years to come, and I am encouraged by the innovative and entrepreneurial approaches being implemented by several Japanese social organizations.
Prior to [...]

There has never been a more challenging time for philanthropy. Globalization, natural disasters, and economic turmoil have placed additional stresses on social safety nets already stretched to the max. In this environment, the philanthropic sector must be smarter, more adaptable, and more collaborative.
None of us has all the answers, but some innovative approaches to giving [...]

A new kind of charitable giver is emerging in the mobile age.
A report underwritten by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has found that this donor is younger and more likely to be African-American or Latino than traditional donors. Moreover, new donors often use their mobile phones to make contributions through text messaging [...]

I’ve long been wary about in-house videos. Because, let’s face it, videos can be tough to pull off. So it was with some trepidation that we decided not just to make our first set of short videos this year, but to feature them at our 25th anniversary annual meeting-indeed, to make them the centerpiece of [...]

Emergencies are bound to happen. While there have been dramatic improvements in disaster preparedness and increased attention to mitigation, the outcomes of natural or man-made disasters are mostly unpredictable. In recent years we have seen a slew of catastrophes take the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world: from the tsunami in [...]

The Federal Emergency Management Agency released the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) on September 23, 2011. This document is the long-awaited-and much-delayed-product of the Post-Katrina Emergency Relief Act, and it provides a sentinel opportunity for community and governmental stakeholders to re-evaluate their approach to disaster recovery.
The pace at which communities are experiencing significant disasters is [...]

What do high-profile concerts have to do with tornadoes or hurricane-induced flooding? For both disasters, one in Alabama and one in Vermont, talented and caring musicians used benefit concerts to raise money to help survivors.
No, community foundations usually are not in the concert business. And we weren’t this time either. But we are in the [...]

Tropical Storm Irene may have seemed like a nonevent in some places, but not here in Vermont. We’re seeing firsthand the devastation left by this disaster, which is the worst flooding here since 1927. More than 160 roads were impassable, and “you can’t get there from here” was heard all across the state. Thousands of [...]

Ever heard of Ralston Purina? Of course you have. Launched in St. Louis on May 26, 1896, under the ownership of William H. Danforth, the company grew to become one of the 100 largest companies in America. But that’s only because a St. Louis banker believed in Mr. Danforth, loaning him $25,000 after a tornado [...]

As we witness the recent devastation in Alabama and throughout the south, our hearts want to reach out to those in need of help. The challenge is in determining how best we can help build their individual and collective futures.
Our response can be described in three ways: rescue, relief, and rebuilding. The first [...]

We couldn’t get the news fast enough as the tornadoes on April 16 wreaked havoc in cities and towns across North Carolina. It wasn’t long before the news articles and pictures detailed the devastating impact. It was hard for me to take in that I was looking at real homes and neighborhoods destroyed, real people’s [...]

After Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake last year in Haiti, and the recent disasters in Japan, the public donated record amounts of money. Hundreds, if not thousands, of foundations made emergency grants to disaster relief and recovery efforts. However, despite billions of dollars raised and the time elapsed since each of the respective disasters, many survivors [...]

(An expanded version of this post originally appeared at
With the earthquake and tsunami in Japan mere days behind us and the scale of the devastation still unknown, you—like me—may be feeling the urgency to do something, anything, to help. Before you pledge your next grant or make a contribution via text message, consider [...]

More than two weeks have passed since the heaviest rains from the monsoon season occurred in Pakistan. The resulting floods have overwhelmed roughly 20 percent of the country, and nearly 20 million people have been affected. Some 1,600 people have died, a million homes have been destroyed, and basic necessities such as shelter, clean water, [...]

On August 23, 2005, the world paid little attention to news of Tropical Depression Twelve over the southeastern Bahamas. The next morning, it was upgraded to tropical storm status and dubbed “Katrina.”

Perhaps this year, we need to think of celebrating “Interdependence Day” in addition to our traditional July 4 holiday. And in doing so, we need to consider how collaboration can help lessen the horrific impact of the BP oil disaster on marine life and the Gulf community.

As we mark the five-month anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti, it is a good opportunity (wake-up call) for the philanthropic sector to reflect on what can happen and how we can be better prepared for future disasters.
Participating in the European Foundation Centre (EFC) meetings last week gave me an opportunity to discuss global relief [...]

For one month now we have been watching the lead story of the BP oil explosion. We are optimistically watching updates of wind currents that are expected to keep the oil away from the Florida coast for at least three more days. The current forecast is not as encouraging for Louisiana. The oil is reportedly [...]

This morning I watched a sunrise over beautiful Pensacola Beach. Most of the people taking their morning walk on the white sand are here on vacation; I am one of the fortunate who lives and works here. Joined on this particular stretch of beach by a few seagulls, a great blue heron, and a surfer [...]

On March 11th, the world learned the sad news that three more significant aftershocks rattled the coast of Chile—the strongest ones since the original earthquake on February 27. That same morning, I moderated a roundtable in San Francisco that the Council on Foundations organized for corporate giving leaders to have a peer-to-peer exchange about global [...]

March 22-24 is less than two weeks away, and here’s where I hope you’ll be: in New Orleans, with more than 200 people involved in philanthropy, for Katrina @ 5: Partners in Philanthropy.
In 2005, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a few prescient funders may—in the midst of trying to help then [...]

During the Council on Foundations’ Family Philanthropy Conference at the end of January in San Diego, we pulled together a concurrent session on disaster grantmaking in light of the earthquake in Haiti. There was a small but passionate group that attended. I walked away thinking about three things: our short attention span; our lack of [...]

The session, Disaster Response for Grantmakers: Resources, Tools and Lessons Learned, was an important one on how funders, in the aftermath of a disaster, charted new territory to find their role.
We heard from two funders and their different responses to two very different disasters—the 2007 fires that swept through San Diego neighborhoods and the recent [...]

As planes full of food and medical supplies sit at the airport in Haiti while hundreds of thousands of people are dehydrated, hungry and in dire need of medical aid, the challenges of helping others is made obvious to the world. The outpouring of global generosity is always impressive in emergency situations; yet, the inability [...]

My New Year’s resolution for 2010 was to join the 21st century and dive into the social media waters. This blog post is my first—and hopefully the first of several—to offer a perspective of philanthropy from where I sit at the Council on Foundations: working closely with the business community. I didn’t realize in December [...]

I have been rapt by the devastating images coming out of Haiti. What I have found particularly interesting is the outpouring of support—not only on television, but also on Facebook and Twitter.
Organizers have created opportunities for people to give via text message. People are also posting messages and tweets about what organizations are doing and [...]

Philanthropy is different than charity. Traditionally, philanthropy reflects long-term strategic investments in creating real change. But in times of national and/or natural disaster, both respond in short-term ways that can be most helpful.
The recent devastation in Haiti reflects the kind of disasters that call philanthropy to action. We can and should do our part in [...]

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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Council on Foundations.


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