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13 Sep. 2018 | Comments (0)

Hurricane Florence is threatening the Carolinas in coming days. These companies are pitching in to help people prepare—and standing at the ready for Florence’s strike:

In the shadow of Hurricane Florence, headlines like these affirm the power of many to come together and help people in harm’s way. This is a founding principle behind the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving, a collective of nonprofits, donors, and companies that advance community-led disaster relief, recovery, and resilience in 170+ countries around the world.

Last year was the costliest on record for weather and climate-related disasters, with $306 billion in damages in the United States alone. The rapid response from the corporate sector was powerful, too. More than 70 companies partnered with the Disaster Recovery Network to invest in long-term, local disaster recovery after heavyweight hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria struck, back-to-back.

Like Airbnb, Lyft, and Florida Power & Light Company are doing now, our corporate partners act fast, using their strengths to help disaster-affected communities in their darkest hour. These are just a few examples:

  • Cruzan Rum launched the Island Spirit Fund to support community-led organizations on the island of St. Croix after Maria, giving $1 for every case of rum sold along with matching contributions from their network of distributors. You know what’s really incredible? The brand’s commitment is for the next five years, fueling long-term recovery that will make communities like St. Croix more resilient to future disasters.
  • JetBlue developed the #100x35JetBlue initiative to lift up local nonprofits in the disaster-affected areas where they fly. The initiative—a reference to length and width of Puerto Rico in miles—raised $665,000 for Hurricane Maria recovery from airline employees, passengers, and partners in 100 days.
  • 3M mobilized its offices around the world, matching employee donations and making strategic grants to nonprofits in Puerto Rico. Employees in Puerto Rico with firsthand experience of conditions on the ground identified the grantees, who were then additionally vetted by GlobalGiving.

Here are four ways your company can emerge as a source of strength for people in the path of Hurricane Florence and other menacing storms this season:

  1. Determine what type of disaster relief efforts your company will support, proactively if possible When a major disaster strikes, will your company support immediate relief, long-term recovery efforts, or a combination of the two? The United Nations estimates that five times more is spent on disaster response rather than reduction. Yet, for every $1 invested in disaster preparedness, $7 is saved in disaster recovery costs. The Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving recognizes the importance of support over the lifecycle of a disaster and can be leveraged to provide immediate relief donation options, as well as preparedness and long-term recovery in the form of international grants and nonprofit capacity building. One year after hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria made landfall, our nonprofit partners in Texas, Puerto Rico, and beyond continue to receive grant funding from GlobalGiving. They live and work in regions impacted by disaster, and they’ll be there for the long haul, making their communities more resilient to future crises.
  2. Build your strategy around your company’s core competencies There are many worthy disaster response efforts that companies can choose to support, but without focus and alignment around what your business already does well, your disaster response efforts may be less effective. Chances are, your company has developed strengths, research, and knowledge in a specific area. Support a disaster response strategy that aligns with that expertise to potentially save lives or lighten the burden of a disaster on the most vulnerable families.
  3. Make cash donations or grants to established, vetted organizations to get help where it’s needed safely and quickly In the difficult and chaotic days, weeks, and months that follow a disaster, remember sending a cash donation or grant to a vetted organization is the likely the best way to get help where it’s needed—safely, quickly, and efficiently. Unless your company already has a well-oiled logistics and delivery network, like Coca Cola or Walmart, sending in-kind donations to affected communities may actually slow down relief efforts. That’s because an influx of goods can divert precious resources from the most urgent work, as explained in this infographic. The needs of survivors vary greatly disaster to disaster—and even day to day—and cash donations give people the flexibility they need to deal with challenging, ever-shifting circumstances.
  4. Seek partnerships with well-networked intermediaries The critical hours, days, and weeks that follow a disaster are no time to reinvent the wheel. Rather than strike out on your own, seek out knowledgeable and responsible intermediaries as partners in disaster recovery. As a grantmaking intermediary, the Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving is proud to add value in many ways, including safely and quickly transfering funds across state lines and international borders, verifying the social impact of local organizations with accuracy, speed, and flexibility, focusing on meaningful relationships, and investing in local capacity.

Hurricane Florence’s final path and impact is unknown, but let’s stand ready to respond, knowing one thing is certain: When we band together, overcoming any challenge is possible.

The Disaster Recovery Network at GlobalGiving has launched the Hurricane Florence Fund to help affected communities prepare. Please contact a member of the Business Partnerships team to discuss how you can get involved.

This piece was originally published by GlobalGiving.

  • About the Author:Marlena Hartz

    Marlena Hartz

    Marlena Hartz is the publications manager at GlobalGiving. In this role, she produces publications for the GlobalGiving community of companies, nonprofits, and donors and serves as chief editor for &l…

    Full Bio | More from Marlena Hartz


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