Disaster and Humanitarian Relief

Disaster and Humanitarian Relief

Our Guidance

Helping hands icon in Ukraine flag colors

Ukraine: How Can I Help?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has produced the largest refugee crisis in Europe this century. In less than a week, 1 million residents – mostly women and children – fled their homes. Every crisis goes through phases. Right now, Ukrainians face urgent needs for medical care and basic needs like food, water, and fuel.

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Disaster Relief: Help Now, Help Later, Help Better

In the wake of a disaster, needs persist long after headlines fade. Learn more about the phases of disaster relief, high impact strategies to help, and organizations making a difference.

Charting Impact Findings from the COVID Dashboard and Lessons for the Road Ahead

Charting Impact: Findings from the COVID Dashboard and Lessons for the Road Ahead

This free report identifies lessons for philanthropy from the COVID Response Dashboard and CHIP’s analysis of $40 million in rapid grantmaking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.

Our Framework


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The first response to a disaster often includes search and rescue operations, as well as the provision of immediate relief for those affected in the form of medical care, food and water, and temporary shelter. Depending on the kind and location of the disaster, the organizations that can effectively provide initial help may be a mix of global and local: Large, international organizations bring supplies and trained personnel from around the world with specialized skills from work in previous disasters. Local, often smaller, agencies bring community knowledge and networks and are often more trusted by those affected.


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After the immediate relief and short-term needs have been stabilized, disasters can become a catalyst for building back better. For example, after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Root Capital provided loans to coffee farmers to help them rebuild their businesses, while Partners in Health provided the healthcare infrastructure necessary to allow operations in Port-au-Prince, later transitioning ongoing management of clinics there to a Haitian team.


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Resilience, risk reduction, and mitigation help communities prevent or reduce the negative effects of disasters in general. Examples include constructing earthquake-resistant buildings, raising the height of bridges or water pumps in flood areas, or supporting marshlands to decrease flooding. To prevent man-made crises, communities may even engage in peace-building and conflict resolution efforts. While such measures require an upfront investment, returns can be enormous: A study on flood protection in the Philippines found that for every dollar invested, approximately $30 was saved in reduced flood losses.


umbrella and hand drawingPreparedness involves actions taken before an emergency to ensure a more effective response and steps to minimize the damage caused by a disaster. Stockpiling necessary supplies, developing disaster response protocols, performing regular disaster drills, and setting up pooled insurance mechanisms are all examples of activities that increase preparedness and lessen the human and economic cost of disasters.


Giving the most vulnerable a chance at economic security

Posted by Carol McLaughlin This blog is part of our 2016 High Impact Giving Guide preview series. Now in its sixth year, the guide…

How Can I Help?: Syrian Refugee Crisis Q/A With Emily Arnold-Fernandez

Last week, a tragic image of a drowned Syrian boy whose family was crossing the Mediterranean Sea as refugees made international headlines. The UNHCR...

Notes from the field: Global Health Innovation, CORE Group, & International Grantmakers

By Kyle Sherman, Social Impact Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy Over five weeks in March and April, I participated in three…


CHIP Founding Executive Director Kat Rosqueta Featured on “Top of Mind with Julie Rose”

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy’s Founding Executive Director, Kat Rosqueta, joined “Top of Mind” podcast host Julie Rose to discuss best practices for…

Podcast: High Impact Philanthropy in COVID-19 on Vanguard Charitable

The need for effective crisis grantmaking continues to grow in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside economic fallout, a surge in mental health...

Family Separation Crisis on US Border: How Donors Can Help

Over the past weeks, over 2,000 minors were separated from their parents/guardians at the southern border of the United States. Disturbed by the images…