Register Now! Uncertain Waters: Disasters and the Needs of Vulnerable Populations

Harvey. Irma. Maria.

As the United States and the Caribbean grapple with one of the most devastating Atlantic hurricane seasons in recent history, the impact of these storms raise important questions about disaster preparation, relief and recovery – especially for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

Do our most vulnerable neighbors – including low-income households, immigrant communities, the elderly and the infirm – have the means to adequately prepare or evacuate in the face of a looming threat? What systems worked, or didn’t work, in times of crisis? And how can philanthropy support long-term recovery that is both effective and equitable?

Join us for a webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. ET (2:00 – 3:00 p.m. CT), to hear first-hand accounts from journalists and funders whose communities were impacted by recent storms, as well as to learn how funders are working to help create more sustainable, resilient and equitable communities that can better withstand and recover from natural disasters.

Register here. 


Regine Webster, Vice President, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, a partner in the Funders’ Network’s Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP)


Elizabeth Love, Senior Program Officer, Houston Endowment

Charisse Grant, Senior Vice President for Programs, The Miami Foundation

Nadege Green, Social Justice Reporter at WLRN Miami, South Florida’s public radio affiliate

Matt Tresaugue, former environmental reporter for the Houston Chronicle and Houston-based Communications Manager for the Environmental Defense Fund

Kelly Thompson, Vice President of Grantmaking and Community Initiatives, Community Foundation of the Great River Bend and a member of TFN’s PPREP cohort.

Long-term recovery from this year’s devastating hurricane season is going to take billions of dollars and strategic cross-sector collaboration between funders, government, nonprofits, and public/private humanitarian actors, according to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Find additional resources and ways to help here.

At TFN, we are committed to working with our funders to learn, share and explore the strategies and best practices for helping communities prepare and recover from disasters in ways that take into account the needs of those most vulnerable. Stay tuned for additional webinars and other learning opportunities, including our 2018 Annual Conference, which will take place in Houston this March.

Hurricane Irma: How Funders Can Help

As many of you know, the Miami office of the Funders’ Network has been closed as our South Florida staff prepared for Hurricane Irma and its aftermath. And while I’m pleased to report that our office fully reopened today — and our staff and their families are safe and secure — we know that the road to recovery for many affected by Hurricane Irma will be a long and complicated task.

The most powerful storm ever recorded in the Atlantic, Irma left a deadly trail of devastation across the Caribbean and the Florida Keys. Irma’s impact was felt through much of Florida, beginning with the evacuation of more than seven million people and power outages that left nearly two-thirds of the state’s population in the dark (with tens of thousands still without electricity as of this afternoon).

While damage assessments have only just begun, we’ve already seen evidence of the destruction and disruption felt by the most vulnerable in our community, including the elderly and infirm and low-income families unable to adequately prepare for the storm and struggling to deal with its aftermath.
We are also mindful of the communities in Houston and the surrounding areas still reeling from Hurricane Harvey.

These storms have cast in sharp relief the issues that TFN and our funders care deeply about: the urgency of tackling climate change, the need to build resilient and sustainable communities, and the moral obligation to adequately—and equitably—prepare and protect our vulnerable populations.

Please visit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy for more information on how to aid in the long-term recovery of communities impacted by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as additional resources for funders looking to prepare communities in advance of disasters. (CDP serves as the curriculum development and technical assistance partner for TFN’s Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership, or PPREP.) And in case you missed it, here is a recap and audio link to CDP’s recent webinar, Hurricane Irma: What Funders Should Know.

The Florida Philanthropic Network has also assembled a terrific list of recovery funds and efforts across the state.

On behalf of the TFN staff, I want to thank all of our members and partners who reached out in advance of and following Hurricane Irma to inquire about the safety of our Miami team.

Please be sure to  follow us on Twitter for more TFN news.

Preparing for Hurricane Irma: A message from TFN

With the extraordinarily large and intense Hurricane Irma drawing closer to South Florida, the Miami headquarters of the Funders' Network are currently closed.

Our staff has been working diligently this week to safely prepare our offices, as well as their homes, pets and families, in advance of the storm.

If you need immediate assistance, please contact Director of Programs Ann Fowler Wallace, who is based in Boston, at 617-524-9239/

We are closely monitoring the storm, and will reopen our Miami offices as soon as conditions safely permit.

Our thoughts are with those in the storm's path, especially those in our South Florida community who are among the most vulnerable.

The Miami Foundation has established a Hurricane Relief Fund to assist in recovery efforts, and has compiled a resource of local and national organizations that will be on the ground helping families, communities and businesses rebuild and recover.

For additional resources on philanthropy's role in disaster recovery, including the ongoing recovery of areas recently affected by Hurricane Harvey, please visit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's website. CDP has also established a Hurricane Irma Recovery Fund to focus on medium to long-term recovery efforts.

On behalf of all of us at TFN, we wish anyone who may be impacted by Irma safety and security in the coming days.

Hurricane Harvey: How To Help (Updated)

Richard Carson/Reuters

Hurricane Harvey, the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since 2005, has led to catastrophic and deadly flooding across an enormous swath of Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by Harvey in Houston and across the region.

We invite you to join Tuesday's webinar, Hurricane Harvey Recovery: How Donors Can Help, organized by The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and the Council on Foundations. The webinar will offer information on how funders can assist in the immediate aftermath of Harvey, which has been downgraded to a tropical storm—as well as with what will likely be a protracted and costly recovery for the region.

As many of you know, TFN’s 2018 Annual Conference is scheduled for March 19-21 in Houston. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide any updates once the rain stops and floodwaters recede. We have reached out to our members and partners in the region to express our concern and offer support to them, their families and their communities.

On behalf of the TFN community, we wish safety and strength in the coming days to all of our friends, members and partners impacted by Harvey, as well as to the grantees and communities they work with and serve.

Below, you’ll find more information on the webinar, how you can help in the relief efforts, as well as resources from The Center for Disaster Philanthropy. (CDP serves as the curriculum development and technical assistance partner for TFN’s Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP) working group.)

We are compiling updates, responses, and resources for for philanthropy in the aftermath of Harvey. Please send suggestions to

Hurricane Harvey Recovery: How Donors Can Help

Tuesday, Aug. 29
3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT
Register Now!

CDP President & CEO Bob Ottenhoff will moderate the discussion. Program panelists are still being finalized and currently include:

•Renée Wizig-Barrios, Greater Houston Community Foundation's Senior Vice President and Chief Philanthropy Officer
•Damian Morales, OneStar Foundation Disaster Services program Manager and Texas VOAD Membership and Growth Committee Chair
In response to significant flooding in Texas and potentially parts of Louisiana, the webinar will focus on how to allocate resources—human, financial, and technical—to meet the needs of Hurricane Harvey-affected communities.

How to Help

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: The Greater Houston Community Foundation
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund to accept tax-deductible flood relief donations for victims. The Greater Houston Community Foundation is administering the fund.

The CDP Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund
Right now, attention is rightly focused on providing immediate relief to survivors–temporary shelter, food, water, and other basic needs–and watching how the storm unfolds over the course of the next week. The CDP Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund allows donors to give now to support longer-term recovery needs. [Updated] Facebook announced Tuesday that it will match donations to the CDP's Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund for up to one million dollars.

[Updated] NOLA Pay it Forward Fund

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, reactivated the NOLA Pay It Forward Fund for those who wish to contribute to recovery efforts.


Other Resources

Hurricane Harvey: When, How, and Where to Give
Hurricane Harvey Disaster Profile
The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook
The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook is free national resource created by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy that offers a host of strategies that funders can use to help communities in crisis.

Speaking out against hate: Our response to Charlottesville, and what our funders are saying

Photo Credit: The New Yorker

At the Funders’ Network, we have long adhered to the fundamental values that guide us as an organization: A belief that philanthropy is uniquely positioned to help create communities that are more sustainable, economically prosperous and equitable.

As a non-partisan organization that encourages robust discussion and respect of various points of view, we recognize that there is a place for nuanced debate on the tactics and strategies needed to turn these ideals into actions and outcomes.

But hatred is not a point of view. And there should not—and can never— be any moral equivocation when it comes to denouncing the vile, toxic and dangerous philosophies.

Although the fatal demonstration that shook the nation took place in Charlottesville, no one is immune from the realities of racism and bigotry these hate groups embody—or the strong range of emotions the images of the event provoke: fear, frustration, disbelief, disgust, anger. It would be understandable to feel overwhelmed in the aftermath of such a show of hatred.

But, in the face of an increasingly emboldened element of our society that has taken to public declarations of white supremacy and neo-Nazism, we are heartened by the strong denunciations from many sectors since Charlottesville, including many leading voices in philanthropy. (See a compilation of our members’ responses below).

We are committed to helping our funders in their work to strengthen communities, and engage in practices that are not only effective but equitable.

Equity in grantmaking is the cornerstone of our PLACES fellowship, whose ranks have grown to nearly 100 alumni spread throughout the world of philanthropy. Our PLACES Fellowship gives professionals in philanthropy the tools, knowledge, and best practices needed to embed an equity lens into their work. The deadline to apply for the 2018 PLACES cohort is Oct. 31.

Below are responses to Charlottesville from many of our Funders’ Network members, as well as other resources you may find useful.

James E. Canales, President & Trustee, Barr Foundation

“We at the Barr Foundation add our unequivocal voice to the growing chorus that explicitly renounces the violent expressions of hate and the vile racism and bigotry that we witnessed in Charlottesville last weekend. Of course, such sentiments are not isolated to Virginia, and with a President who increasingly empowers these fringe actors, we will see more of it...”

Bob Ross, President & CEO, The California Endowment

“It is fundamentally clear we have witnessed emboldened levels of hateful, bigoted, racist, anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, Islamophobic, white supremacist and white nationalistic behavior. And this behavior is not coming from all sides.”

Judy Belk, President & CEO, The California Wellness Foundation

“What we’ve learned is this: The struggle is real, but there are dedicated people working every day to stop violence in our communities and to counter the racism and hate that fuels it.”

Patrick McCarthy, President & CEO, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

"The violence and tragedy of Charlottesville, and the ensuing controversy and debates over the president’s response, are prompting public and private conversations about race, ethnicity and our history. Our children are listening and watching. What do we want them to take away? What do we want them to learn?"

Grant Oliphant, President, Heinz Endowments

“Call this beast what you will—whatever the politicians may say, it is not difficult to name. It is ethnic and racial hatred and bigotry. It is domestic terrorism, white supremacy, violent extremism. It is the damage in the human heart that looks for scapegoats and finds grim solace in the diminishment of others, holding them down, punishing them for wanting to share in the basic dignities we ourselves hold dear.”

Rip Rapson, President & CEO, The Kresge Foundation

"There is no moral ambiguity about the intentionally provocative, hatefully motivated, racist, and violent behavior ignited by white supremacists last week in Charlottesville. These acts of domestic terrorism not only denigrate, but threaten to undermine, the values that men and women have been fighting for since the signing of the Declaration of Independence and that define us as a people."

Meghan Binger Brown, Board Chair, and Kate Wolford, President, The McKnight Foundation

“In condemning these events, let us not forget the many routine, nearly invisible forms of prejudice our nation must overcome. Even as brazen displays of hatred rightfully appall us, subtle, everyday acts of racism and bigotry need to be rendered just as unacceptable. This is our shared responsibility.”

Sharon Alpert, President & CEO, Nathan Cummings Foundation

“The events in Charlottesville strengthen our resolve to stand in solidarity with those working to build a more just, vibrant, sustainable and democratic future, and to counter darkness with light, and hate with love.”

Fred Blackwell, CEO, The San Francisco Foundation

“The challenges in front of us are about race, but they are also about economics and the need for greater inclusion and equity. There are no simple answers. There are no simple solutions. But all of us can take on the task of speaking up and denouncing acts of hatred.”

Other News and Resources:

• The Communications Network offered a helpful list of what non-profits can do in the aftermath of Charlottesville, which include enrolling in equity-based training, stating your values publicly (as an individual and as an organization) and participating in public gatherings and vigils. ComNet also recommends reviewing “Having an Uncomfortable Conversation,” written by Anusha Alikhan, director of communications at Knight Foundation, another TFN member.
“This call to action is a reminder that our work is never finished,” she writes. “Inclusion is a daily practice that will continue as we strive to remove barriers, close gaps and ensure that equal opportunity is available to all.”

• As The Chronicle of Philanthropy pointed out in a recent story, the “white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., provoked a strong response from many nonprofits and foundations, and it wasn’t just organizations like the NAACP and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A wide variety of nonprofits quickly joined the fray with statements of outrage, hope, and healing.”

Deconstructing the images and slogans on display in Charlottesville: Symbols on display ranged from exact replicas of the Confederate flag to altered versions of a National Hockey League team logo. As well-coordinated and meticulously organized white nationalists converged to rally in Charlottesville, they brought with them chants, banners, slurs, shields and flags. Counterprotesters, including anti-fascist groups and local residents, church groups and civil rights leaders, had their own symbols and slogans. Each of the icons spotted carried its own political context and history, according to this guide in the Washington Post.

  • A CBS news station in Houston, which will be the site of TFN’s 2018 annual conference, hosted a town hall on race relations in response to Charlottesville.

Has your organization issued a response to Charlottesville? Please send any updates to to be added to our compilation.