Disaster Resilience

How to Help Now 

Philanthropic responses to disaster usually last two months. The recovery continues for about a decade. Disaster experts encourage longer-term support for resilience. Below are recent California disasters welcoming support:

Statewide Disasters (California)

2018 November California Fires affecting Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura counties.

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2018 August California Fires affecting Shasta, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, and Orange counties.

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2017 North Bay Fires affecting Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino counties.

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About Disaster Resilience

How do we define disaster resilience?

We define disaster resilience as a dynamic capacity allowing people, organizations, and communities to adapt to disasters. Resilience spans the ways we anticipate disaster risks, limit disaster impacts, respond, recover, and eventually thrive.  

We refer to disasters as singular events and chronic stressors caused by natural hazards (often times exacerbated by the effects of climate change), including fires and earthquakes as well as drought, heat waves, and floods.

Why focus on disaster resilience?

Disaster resilience combines community assets and resources such as social and health systems, cultural assets, natural environment, business and economic functions, and housing and infrastructure with social processes including civic engagement, community attitudes, and beliefs to help us prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. 

A framework for understanding and enhancing community disaster resilience (click to zoom)

Source: Arup and The Rockefeller Foundation

Guidance for philanthropy’s support for disaster resilience

Promote equity. 

  • How much are you investing? Compare your investment in disaster resilience with your other priorities.
  • Are you investing where it’s most needed? Consider whether your giving supports resilience throughout the disaster cycle, including for preparation.
  • Are your grants equitable? Assess whether your giving reaches those who need it most.
  • Are your grants feeding community capital? Discuss how resources support relief in meeting immediate needs and support people to direct their own outcomes through access to resources, knowledge, and decision-making. Building disaster resilience requires long-term, strategic grantmaking.

How can NCG support your work?

  • Join NCG’s community of funders to learn and build the emerging practice of disaster resilience.
  • Take measures to prepare your foundation’s readiness for institutional recovery and community support.
  • Increase disaster resilience support for nonprofits that serve vulnerable communities in California.
  • Plan and implement response to disasters as they occur.

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