Disaster Grantmaking

Join us for a live chat Q&A on the Philanthropy Exchange with Regine Webster and Anna Hurt from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. For one hour, they will be on the Open Exchange ready to answer your questions about disaster grantmaking, from preparedness to emergency response.

Moved by widely publicized human suffering and increased disaster aid requests, foundations and corporations are becoming more active in the disaster relief field. Grantmakers have a distinct role to play in disasters because of their ongoing relations with grantees, long-term perspective, flexibility and convening capacity. A number of practical suggestions for good disaster grantmaking are highlighted in this guide.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has an excellent primer of basic tips for disaster giving that can help funders ask the right questions about how they can help.

The second a disaster strikes, it is a terrible situation; something you cannot imagine. The next few minutes, hours, days, and weeks could be worse. The good news is, with the right collaborative team in place, they can be better.

Immediately after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, people feared a tsunami might be triggered on the San Mateo County coast, a beautiful area south of San Francisco that includes numerous small towns, rural farmland and redwood forests. Fortunately, a tsunami did not materialize. But a warning was issued and the community sprang into action – with many people later reporting that they were confused about what to do, where to go, and how real the danger was. Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s board of directors commissioned a study of this community response.

The physical and emotional landscape of our community was forever changed on March 22, 2014, when a devastating mudslide swept through our community and took the lives 43 of our neighbors. The Darrington, Arlington and Oso communities are located in rural Snohomish County, north of Seattle.

Just a few days after an EF4 tornado tore through Central Arkansas on April 27, 2014, I drove to the community hardest hit by the storm - Vilonia, Arkansas - to meet with community leaders about beginning the process of long-term recovery. On the outskirts of town, I saw the familiar scene that anyone familiar with Vilonia would know. But then I entered downtown.