Disaster Resilience, Relief and Recovery

How to Help Now 

2018 November California Fires 

How to Help

    2018 Hurricane Relief
    2018 August California Fires
    Find out where you can help. Learn More > 
    2017 North Bay Fires
    We are posting updates as we receive them. Check for Updates Here > 
    2017 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.


    Monday, November 12, 2018

    Northern California Grantmakers is pleased to announce that Alan Kwok has been named Disaster Resilience Director. He brings to the role years of experience in Bay Area disaster response and leadership in the emerging field of community resilience.

    Friday, November 9, 2018

    The Camp Fire has already burnt much of the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento, just outside of Chico. The fire has taken over forty lives and 6,500 homes. Evacuation orders have sent tens of thousands of people in the region from their homes. We will keep this site updated with information on how to help.

    Monday, October 8, 2018

    Roughly a year ago, I participated in a funders meeting about the North Bay fires, hosted by our friends at Northern California Grantmakers.

    At that time, I said in jest that I planned to spend the rest of my career in an iron box in the high desert of Nevada – far away from active fault lines, nearby rivers or forested hillsides that could bloom, overnight, into terrifying oceans of fire.

    Monday, October 8, 2018

    A year ago today, firestorms came racing through our North Bay communities. With the immediacy of the smoke and danger to our friends and neighbors, it was hard to think about anything else. Our community responded with urgency and generosity. Donations from outside Sonoma surpassed even the local outpouring.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2018

    Study by Northern California Grantmakers examines how the fires affected a key economic driver in the region, aims to supplement research on fires’ impact.


    It was just last October that a firestorm erupted across the North Bay in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendocino Counties. The most destructive in California history, the fires took lives, homes and livelihoods.

    October 2018 marks the one-year anniversary of the Northern California firestorm. With funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Northern California Grantmakers commissioned Learning for Action, an independent San Francisco-based research firm, to conduct this study to understand the extent of the fires’ impact on the arts community in the three most affected counties: Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino.

    The study, North Bay Fired and the Arts, One Year Later, draws upon quantitative and qualitative data collected in each of the three counties from individual artists affected by the fires and from arts organizations serving the region.

    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.