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Natural hazards like wildfires, heatwaves, and earthquakes test the resilience of communities in our region and across California. They worsen the already dramatic disparities of wealth and power along racial and economic lines.
According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, philanthropy invests most of its dollars immediately following a disaster, when media attention is at its peak. However, less than 10% of our philanthropic dollars go toward reducing hazard risk and preparing our communities for disasters. Studies show that pre-disaster funding goes further. Every $1 spent on mitigation saves $6. Furthermore, only 2% of global philanthropic giving is earmarked for climate mitigation, with even smaller portion of climate-relating funding going into BIPOC communities and BIPOC-led organizations.
The uneven allocation of philanthropic dollars is also a stark reminder that we have more to do when it comes to reducing hazard risks in light of our changing climate, which makes climate-related natural hazards more intense and frequent, disproportionately affecting BIPOC communities. To advance racial equity, philanthropy, along with other sectors, must invest in mitigating climate hazard risks in socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and ensure communities impacted by hazard events have the equitable support to reduce their vulnerability and risks to future hazard events.
What Beliefs Guide our Work
Vision: Through our work, we envision California communities that are protected from the impacts of natural hazards; have equitable access to financial, relational, and political resources so they can mitigate, adapt to, prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazard events; and benefit socioeconomically from a just transition. We fuel this vision with the following beliefs:
- The space between hazard and disaster lies prevention. There is nothing “natural” about disasters. Society, not nature, creates disasters. Disasters don’t have to happen in our communities if we make the right investments at the right time in the right places.
- People nearest the harm are also nearest the solutions. Solutions to climate and disaster risks are best designed and carried out by communities closest to the problems, with private and public support.
- Race matters. Focusing on racial equity and social justice, we prioritize communities of color.
- Multi-sector problems require multi-sector solutions. Climate challenges cannot be solved by one sector alone – they must be addressed by involving business, government, nonprofits and philanthropy.
How We Do It
- Advocate. We advocate for state and national policies that advance equity in climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as disaster prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery.
- Coordinate. We coordinate funders around emergent issues including wildfire resilience and climate, health, and equity.
- Educate. We host programs on climate and disaster issues, philanthropic best practices, and solutions from the frontline.
- Connect. We connect funders to government partners and organizations responding to climate crises and to disasters.
- Respond. We publicize trusted funds on behalf of the governor’s office for disaster relief and recovery and advise philanthropy on how best to meet short and long-term needs.