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California Disaster Philanthropy Briefing: From Episodic Relief to Transformative Resilience

In the last year alone, Californians have experienced the impacts of multiple climate disasters including severe drought, extreme heatwaves, earthquakes, catastrophic wildfires, and now several back-to-back Atmospheric Rivers. Climate change will only continue amplifying the risk that Californians face from natural hazards. We can’t keep doing business as usual philanthropy to meet the scope of our current reality.

The recent winter storms bearing down across the State, while garnering significant attention in major cities, will have long-lasting impacts mostly felt by those with the least resources, including the unhoused, Tribal communities, those living in mobile homes, renters, small business owners and farmers, and those living in rural settings.

As California continues to experience these repeated hazard events, it is not sustainable, nor realistic, to expect philanthropy to support each individual, isolated disaster that occurs across the State at the scale needed for a resilient recovery. We must instead center building community resilience as the highest priority for disaster philanthropy.

During this funder briefing, we will discuss:

  • The current situation on the ground after the Humboldt County earthquakes, and across the state as a result of a series of winter storms
  • The role of philanthropy in supporting immediate relief and recovery for impacted communities
  • The ways disaster philanthropy can shift from episodic giving to funding transformative climate and disaster resilience

This briefing is hosted in partnership with Philanthropy California (Northern California Grantmakers, SoCal Grantmakers, and Catalyst of San Diego and Imperial Counties), the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), and the League of California Community Foundations.

Abigail Browning


Bryna Lipper


Laura Seaman

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