Disaster Resilience, Relief and Recovery

How to Help Now 

North Bay Fires

We are posting updates as we receive them. Check for Updates Here > 

Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Harvey clean-up has barely begun in Houston, and already it has faded from the headlines. Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Maria, the earthquakes in Mexico, South Asia flooding – all compete for our attention and support. And all are worthy. Learn More > 

About Disaster Resilience, Relief and Recovery

New resiliency-centered approaches to disasters and crises weave together arenas as diverse as health care, affordable housing and climate change with underlying issues such as inequity, civic engagement, and accountability. A resilience framework supports the most vulnerable communities who often bear the brunt of shocks and stressors.

Nonprofits, too, struggle after disasters, and their resilience is crucial to community recovery and regional stability. Large disasters also impact regional systems and infrastructure. Relief and recovery policies and activities frequently exacerbate inequity.

Whether as a funder you focus sectorally on health care, education, housing or job training; on particular populations such as immigrants or children; or on cross-cutting issues such as equity or displacement — your grantees and the sector and people you care about will be impacted by disasters and other community crises.

When the time comes, most foundations become disaster funders whether they've previously thought of themselves that way or not. That’s because disasters and community crises touch all aspects of people’s lives, communities, and cities.

Often, foundations, like individuals, simply react to disasters once they happen. Many of us would rather think about planning and preparing for disasters another day. Yet, for those of us who call Northern California home, disaster is a bedrock reality. The vibrancy and sustainability for our region, our institutions, organizations, and communities, depends on our resiliency and readiness.

While it’s not always easy to get started, planning for your organizational recovery and your support to communities can magnify your impact and provide direction when the scene is chaotic and needs are great. And investing in activities that bolster resilience helps communities before and after disaster.

What NCG is Doing

  • Building a community of funders interested in disasters and resilience
  • Supporting philanthropic readiness and planning for institutional recovery and community support
  • Creating a regional strategy to support philanthropic action, coordination, collaboration, and connection to other sectors in disaster
  • Developing NCG’s own disaster plans to ensure our capacity to recover and support the sector
  • Increasing strategic support for nonprofits in Northern California that serve vulnerable communities before and after a major disaster
  • Planning and implementing responses to specific disasters

NCG Can Help you Get Started

  • Questions and tools to jumpstart your organization’s recovery planning
  • Options for supporting communities and grantees, now and when disaster strikes
  • Information about what people need after disaster
  • Access to experts and philanthropic leaders who have been through it
  • Advice and resources including tip sheets, blog posts, examples and templates to support your plan and strategy


Upcoming programming coming soon. In the meantime, take a look at our past events.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Natural disasters are the great equalizers, razing a cruel path regardless of income, heritage, or history. When the firestorm blazed through Redwood and Potter Valleys on the night of October 8th over 7,000 residents fled, leaving behind a lifetime of belongings.

Monday, May 14, 2018

In the aftermath of the fires which devastated Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma Counties, NCG spoke with members about their disaster funding interests and strategies.  One such conversation – with Claire Solot, Managing Director of the Bigglesworth Family Foundation – highlighted an interesting shift in post-disaster grantmaking in both focus and process.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

NCG member, Masha Chernyak of the Latino Community Foundation recently spoke at our event, Social Justice in Disaster. She touched on relationship building with grantees and what trust brings to the way we do grantmaking. Hear more about her take on relationships with nonprofits and why love is a key ingredient.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Andrea Zussman, who joined NCG in the fall of 2016 to establish a Disaster Resilience, Relief, and Recovery program to support regional philanthropic disaster planning and readiness, will be leaving her position to devote herself full-time to the needs of her family. Andrea will continue to guide NCG as a Senior Advisor and consultant.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Corporations can play a unique role in helping their communities recover from disasters. How can they make sure they are contributing where their help is most needed – and not inadvertently making recovery operations more difficult?


In an April 10th program, we heard from local leaders and nonprofits from the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma as they discussed how they are helping their communities, and what they need to be effective in disaster. Two Bay Area funders will discussed their disaster support and how it fits into their missions and broader programmatic work as well as ways that funders can support grantees and local leaders.

In a March 15th program, we hosted a discussion with Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge about the role the philanthropy community can play in strengthening our region’s resilience to the effects of climate change, while addressing urgent regional concerns related to displacement, income inequality and more. 

In this October 26th program, two disaster-tested philanthropic leaders shared lessons about disaster planning for funding organizations, drawing on their experiences with disasters in the Monterey area in recent years, the devastating Cedar Rapids flood in 2008, and disasters in Louisiana.

Our Philanthropy California colleagues are responding as they can to the wildfires in Southern California. We are lending our expertise where it is needed.  

Wildfires in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties are forcing thousands of people from their homes and destroying millions of dollars in property. We will keep this page updated with information that could be helpful in responding appropriately to these disasters.

On October 17th, we were joined by over 150 participants on our funder call with leaders of local community foundations and disaster experts located in the areas most affected by recent Northern California wildfires. We heard a firsthand report of the situation, and learned what funders, nonprofits, and government are doing to assist at this stage of the emergency.