Disaster Resilience, Relief and Recovery

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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Events

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

News

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As of November 20, the Camp Fire has taken 79 lives and 12,637 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, 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.

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.

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.

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.

Resources

Philanthropy California held two urgent webinars to offer funders an up-to-the-minute briefing on local and state agency responses to the fires in Butte, Ventura, and Los Angeles Counties.

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.