Grantmaking During Disasters

Article Excerpt:

With the recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, private foundations are called upon to play a critical role in relief and recovery efforts and have traditionally been involved in assisting victims. If your foundation wishes to provide relief to disaster victims, you may find the following considerations to be of assistance.
Points to Consider

  • Connect with other funders: Leverage existing relationships with other funders to develop a practical, user-friendly resource that refines information about community needs and grantmaking opportunities. Create a reference that encourages communication among funders.
  • Streamline the application process: Temporarily modify the grant application process to reduce demands made on nonprofits following a disaster.
  • Build up local philanthropy: Use existing relationships and staff connections to develop local philanthropic organizations. Stronger local philanthropic organizations will result in stronger nonprofit organizations.
  • Take the initiative: Don’t wait for nonprofit organizations to request assistance, make phone calls and offer support. Verify tax-exempt status on either GuideStar Charity Check, Exempt Organizations (EO) Select Check search tool (developed by the IRS) and Charity Navigator.
  • Short-term and long-term assistance: Provide medium- and long-term funding based on the needs of the affected communities. 
  • Expand funding from mission: Be aware of the extraordinary situations that arise following disasters and look for opportunities to fund outside the foundation’s typical funding focus.