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Disaster relief efforts for those in need.

When you choose to support a disaster relief effort, please consider these guidelines to most effectively help those in need:

  • Donate to the organization’s general disaster relief fund, so the funds can be used where they’re most helpful.

  • Send funds instead of physical goods.

  • Help to fund prevention and continue to give over time.

  • Encourage accountability to the organizations you choose to support.

Support victims of Hurricane Irma.

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Hurricane Irma carved a path of destruction throughout the Caribbean and Southern Florida.

According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, significant devastation has occurred throughout the Leeward, U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Haiti. Deaths have been attributed to the storm all along its path and many islands remain without power and with little shelter.

In Florida, assessments are being carried out today. More than seven million were evacuated throughout the state; and a flash flood emergency remains in effect for much of the area. Nearly 200,000 people are in shelters and more than 6 million homes are without power. At least 200 medical facilities were evacuated, and 46 hospitals remain closed.

The storm has been downgraded to a tropical storm and is poised to sweep through Georgia today and expected to affect Alabama and Tennessee tomorrow.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy recommends the following organizations:

United States

International

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Extend your impact to help support victims of Hurricane Irma by volunteering.

How to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

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Letter from our President

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas as a Category 4 hurricane and was later downgraded to a tropical storm. In the aftermath of Harvey, severe damage from flooding continues throughout the Texas Gulf Coast. Thousands of residents are still in shelters and unable to return to their homes.

Several organizations are providing immediate support. Those listed below have been recommended by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Help victims of the Mexico earthquake.

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A powerful earthquake struck Mexico’s southern coast on September 8th, leaving at least 95 people dead and many people trapped. The 8.1 magnitude quake was felt more than 600 miles away in Mexico City. Initial reports show that more than 2 million people have been affected with 40,000 homes damaged or destroyed.

The organizations below have been recommended by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

Disasters are unpredictable and last well beyond the initial event.

Make sure your generosity has a sustained impact on those who need it most.

It is common to think of disasters—floods, tornadoes, mass shootings, and refugee crises—as discrete events with fixed beginnings and ends. However, emergency management experts generally think of disasters in "lifecycles." The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) identifies four phases of the disaster lifecycle that happen before, during, and after a devastating event: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Understanding what is needed in each phase can help you increase the impact of your philanthropy and maybe even prevent the next potential disaster.

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    Every phase needs charitable support

    1. Mitigation

    Nonprofits and government agencies can spend years trying to prepare for and mitigate the anticipated effects of an emergency. The goal of mitigation is to try to anticipate risks and minimize their physical and financial damage. Flood-proofing and insurance are two good examples. In addition, research and education initiatives can spread awareness of best practices and therefore help to anticipate and alleviate the impact of natural or man-made disasters.

    2. Preparedness

    Preparedness aims to increase the speed and effectiveness of the response to a disaster by, for example, stocking food and water, gathering and screening volunteers, and helping communities develop an emergency action plan. While mitigation and preparation are often overlooked by donors, they have a huge impact on vulnerable communities. For every dollar spent on disaster preparedness, at least four dollars are saved in casualties and property damage.1

    3. Response

    The response to a disaster is the phase most familiar to donors. They are motivated by the human need portrayed in news coverage and emotional appeals from victims and charities. Donors, nonprofits, and relief workers rush to save lives, offer humanitarian aid, and prevent further property damage. Ninety percent of all donations flow to relief efforts in the 90 days following a disaster2, but prior investments in preparedness (see above) can also make a dramatic difference in the response phase.

    Your gift not only helps at the outset, but it provides sustained, long-term support throughout each stage of the disaster lifecycle.

    To increase your impact on disaster relief, consider a giving strategy that incorporates the entire disaster lifecycle, from prevention through long-term recovery and rebuilding. As you develop your plan, keep in mind the following recommendations:

    • Donate dollars instead of physical goods—Financial contributions, whether in the form of cash or grants from a donor-advised fund or private foundation, give relief organizations the flexibility to allocate funds where they are most needed. The best way to make sure financial resources are used effectively is to donate to a charitable organization's general disaster relief fund. Meanwhile, unsolicited goods, such as clothing and perishable foodstuffs, can redirect valuable resources towards sorting and distributing items that do not meet victims' immediate needs.3
    • Don't stop giving after 90 days are up—Consider using your donor-advised fund to distribute money to recovery efforts over an extended timeframe, either manually or by establishing a recurring grant. While financial assistance during the response phase of a disaster is important, longerterm recovery support is just as critical but receives less attention from donors. The sudden and brief influx of funds to charities while an emergency is underway sometimes leads to inefficiencies, duplication of efforts, and wasted donations. However, giving strategically and consistently to long-term recovery and rebuilding efforts can give you more control over where and how your grants are spent.
    • Support innovative mitigation and preparedness strategies—Many donors find contributing to crisis prevention efforts to be a particularly challenging task because disasters are by nature difficult to anticipate. It is therefore hardly surprising that nearly half of 2012 disaster funding by foundations was directed to response and relief efforts, while the smallest percentage was allocated to disaster preparedness4. If you struggle with how to approach disaster prevention and preparedness, it may be useful to think about these concepts in a broader context. For example:
      • – Preparedness efforts do not need to be pegged to one specific disaster. Consider supporting organizations that do not directly address disaster relief, but help vulnerable populations—such as the elderly, the poor, and the mentally ill—who are often hit hardest by disasters.
      • – Alternatively, explore opportunities to invest in studies and pilot programs that focus on disaster mitigation and preparation. These research initiatives increase awareness and highlight differences in disaster relief across a range of local contexts.

    Learn more about defining your charitable mission and creating a giving strategy. Visit disasterphilanthropy.org for more disaster giving tips and timely research.

Support relief efforts for the global refugee crisis.

The unprecedented movement of people around the world has created the highest number of displaced persons since World War II. More than half of registered refugees are children and youth.

Many organizations have stepped up their response efforts, sending staff and supplies to camps and centers where the refugees arrive. The organizations listed below have been recommended by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.