Disaster Philanthropy

As we are heading towards the end of the 2019 hurricane season. It seems natural to talk about disaster philanthropy. This year we watched as Hurricane Dorian moved across the Carribean, up the coast of Florida and finally in the Carolinas. The storm ended less than three months ago however recovery will take many months and years.

Philanthropy plays a major role in the immediate and long term recovery of communities impacted by such natural disasters.

When a disaster first strikes, we hear and watch the devastation affect the lives of those living in the area, our first inclination is to help.

Donors can express their values through philanthropy when a disaster strikes a community
There are organizations that provide services to people with disabilities, organizations that support pets that may be displaced after a disaster, to organizations that support the emotional and behavioral health of the many lives impacted by the disaster.

If a donor chooses to make a contribution after a disaster the timing of their gift is also something to consider. A donor many choose to give a gift in the immediate aftermath of a disaster or they may choose to make their donation months or even years after the disaster.

Disaster Philanthropy is an area of philanthropy that holds a special place in my heart as my philanthropic career started in the months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orlean.

I started working at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation one month after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. At the Reeve Foundation the Foundation’s Board of Directors chose to allocate funds to support people with disabilities who were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. People with disabilities are often overlooked by the general population and in New Orleans they were greatly impacted by the disaster.

The Board of Directors chose to support organizations that were providing direct services to people with disabilities and their families and caregivers as they knew how to support the community they wanted to serve best.

Often times donors may choose to wait to donate financial resources however may want to donate material goods such as clothing. Prior to making such a donation one has to consider that the logistics of getting these items to their intended recipients may impede the efforts of those providing recovery to the area.

Whether a donor chooses to provide general support or support a specific community they must realize that Philanthropy impacts Philanthropy.  

Priti Mehta

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