April 1, 2019 - Private philanthropy is a powerful force in disaster response and recovery. A force that, when taken as a piece in the varied puzzle that reflects disaster funding, is a crucial technical and financial resource that can drive effective disaster recovery.
The simple definition of philanthropy that I subscribe to is “private goods used for public benefit.” In times of disaster, these private goods take on a critical role – filling needs unmet by governmental dollars in a manner that is arguably (we hope!) more flexible and more nimble. What we do know about the impact of disaster philanthropy is that most of the dollars go to immediate response and relief, not a surprise given the images that fill our screens post-disaster. Considerably fewer philanthropic dollars go to preparedness, resilience and mitigation.
Through our partnership with Candid (formerly Foundation Center), in 2016 we identified $199.9 million in funding by foundations and public charities for disasters and humanitarian crises. Of this total, natural disasters accounted for 44 percent of disaster funding; 16 percent for flooding, particularly in Louisiana. Man-made accidents received 15 percent of the funding, with several large grants addressing the Flint water crisis. We know that the bulk of funds (42 percent of the dollars) were aimed toward response and relief efforts, while only 17 percent were directed toward reconstruction and recovery. Eight percent of dollars went toward resilience measures and five percent was allocated for disaster preparedness.
It is true that public dollars are considerably higher in size, scope and amount of funding, and yet, it is the mosaic or blend of funding streams (from local, state, federal or even bilateral) -- along with philanthropy -- that becomes the “special sauce” of support for recovery. Here are a few examples of where philanthropy has been key to a recovery effort:
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has several resources that can help you think about philanthropy in a different way.
Private philanthropy is a vital resource when it comes to disaster planning, response and recovery. What I have outlined represents just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what philanthropy has done and can do. If you have any questions about disaster philanthropy, and how it can be relevant to your work, do not hesitate to reach out to me! It would be my pleasure to speak with you about the importance of private dollars being directed toward the public benefit.
@funds4disaster | #CDP4Recovery