Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria
In one of the worst hurricane seasons in decades, three storms in the space of four weeks took lives, flooded entire neighborhoods, and damaged houses and critical infrastructure in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Islands that suffered catastrophic damage include the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominica, Barbuda, and St. Martin.In the aftermath of these storms, donors can help in two ways:
- Meet the immediate needs of those directly affected.
- Support the rebuilding process. FEMA representative Michael Riedy estimates that for every day of immediate relief after a disaster, at least ten days are required for mid-term recovery and at least 100 days are required for long-term recovery. That means that it will likely take years for areas affected by these hurricanes to fully recover. Although giving in disaster situations tends to decline after the first few days, funders can often have great impact by paying attention long after the initial headlines fade.
Unless you are already familiar with local organizations working on hurricane relief, a good option can be giving to a fund run by a reputable entity such as GlobalGiving or Center for Disaster Philanthropy. Both groups have already set up pooled funds to channel money to local grantees for long-term rebuilding efforts related to the hurricanes. And, both have expertise with disaster relief granting as well as best practices across the globe.
The One America Appeal, established by all five living, former U.S. presidents is collecting money to distribute to other funds for Harvey, Irma, and Maria recovery. Several of these are included in the local funds below, all of which have ties to affected communities and will be in a position to help with both immediate relief and rebuilding. Operating in the affected communities, such local funds can often recognize needs and respond faster than groups operating elsewhere.
- Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund at the Greater Houston Community Foundation.
- Rebuild Texas Fund, a collaboration of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and OneStar Foundation.
- The Miami Foundation has set up three Irma-related funds, including one dedicated to rebuilding affected Caribbean islands.
- Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund is run in collaboration with local partners, including United Way and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, that vet local organizations and distribute funds according to local needs.
In the Caribbean:
- Puerto Rico Real Time Recovery Fund, managed by the nonprofit ConPRmetidos in partnership with the Foundation for Puerto Rico, will address long-term recovery needs.
- Fund for the U.S. Virgin Islands at the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.
- Unite BVI, a private foundation in the British Virgin Islands, has established a hurricane Irma recovery fund.
- The International Community Foundation has set up a Barbuda Recovery and Conservation Fund in partnership with the Waitt Institute and Waitt Foundation.
- The government of Dominica has also established a hurricane relief fund.