US Hurricane Funding - New Report
11 September 2006 at 1:09 pm
In response to last year’s Gulf Coast hurricanes, U.S. corporations and foundations have already committed more than $577 million for relief, recovery, and rebuilding, according to a report released by the Foundation Centre.
Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Report on the Foundation and Corporate Response documents the extent of foundation giving after the disasters, challenges concerns about “donor fatigue,” and explores funders’ perspectives on their role in responding to major disasters.
Loren Renz, vice president for research at the Foundation Centre and the report’s principal author says foundations and corporations responded quickly to the desperate situation in the Gulf Coast region and their support went far beyond immediate relief to encompass purposes ranging from economic redevelopment to the rebuilding of educational institutions.
The report documents actual commitments announced by US corporations and foundations and results from a survey of the nation’s largest independent, corporate, and community foundations.
Key findings include:
– Institutional donors — including corporations and private and public foundations — announced commitments through the start of June 2006 totalling $577.1 million for relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
– The vast majority of foundation and corporate support targeted the immediate human services needs of disaster victims (59.4%). The balance of their designated commitments generally targeted longer-term priorities, led by housing development (7.3%), education and educational reform (6.6%), health and mental health services (3.2%), and economic and community development (2.2%).
– Among surveyed independent, corporate, and community foundations, almost half (47.7%) provided some type of hurricane-related support.
– Support for hurricane relief did not undercut giving in other areas — less than 16% of survey respondents reduced giving in other areas in 2005.
– While 82% of respondents gave to immediate relief efforts, a substantial share, close to 22% of those surveyed, gave to long-term recovery efforts instead or in addition. Such long-term giving was focused primarily on housing and economic or job development.
– Nearly three out of four funders who supported Gulf Coast hurricane relief had supported other disaster relief efforts in the past five years.
– Most survey respondents fulfilled their Gulf Coast commitments within the first year following the disaster. Only 7% of surveyed foundations expected to make additional commitments beyond September 2006.
Steven Lawrence, director of research at the Foundation Centre and the report’s co-author says very few foundations include disaster funding in their grantmaking guidelines.
Lawrence says the fact that close to half of surveyed foundations chose to respond to the Gulf Coast disaster is truly exceptional. Yet foundations that chose not to give also had sound reasons, such as charters that limit their giving to specific geographic areas, a reluctance to reduce the funds available for their core mission and grantees, or a belief that it is the role of government and individuals to respond to these types of disasters.
To date, the Foundation Centre’s Gulf Coast Hurricanes Philanthropic Response project has been funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Starbucks Foundation, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and the Northrop Grumman Corporation.
A final report will be released in August 2007.
The report can be downloaded at no charge from the Foundation Centre’s web site at http://foundationcenter.org/gainknowledge/research/specialtrends.html.