Providing Relief in Times of Disaster

For many foundation managers, meeting community, regional, or even global needs is a primary aspect of everyday business. But when disaster strikes, foundations may find the need to quickly provide relief while accurately navigating a new set of grantmaking rules. These guidelines outline the basic legal considerations of a variety of popular giving options for managers of public and private foundations and corporate giving programs.

How Can Grantmakers Help?

The most practical avenue to assist those affected by a disaster is often to work through eligible existing U.S.-based charities already providing aid to the desired geographic area. Other available options will depend, in part, on the nature of the disaster. Certain giving rules change depending on whether the disaster meets the legal definition of a “qualified disaster”. Grantmaking options also depend, in part, on where the grantee is located, the type of grantee supported, and the legal structure of the organization making the grant. Both public charities - such as community foundations - and private foundations - such as family foundations and independent foundations - may make grants for disaster relief. Corporate grantmakers may help through their public or private foundation, or through a direct giving program within the corporation itself. Corporate grantmakers may also choose to give through a disaster fund at a community foundation.

What Type of Giving do You Wish to Do?

Direct Corporate Giving:

For information on grant programs that can assist employees in times of disaster, read Assisting Corporate Employees with Charitable Dollars: A Legal Framework.

Private Foundation Giving – Independent, Family, Corporate and other Private Foundations

Gifts from a Public Charity – Community Foundations, Public Foundations, and other Charities

Matching Gifts

Other Resources