How Can I Help?: Reflecting on Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years later

Ten years ago this month, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Many are now reflecting on lessons we’ve learned from the disaster and the challenges still facing the city. As we’ve often noted (see “How Can I Help?”– Our blog series on effective disaster response and related guidance in our Year-End Giving Guide) tremendous need and opportunities for impact often persist long after the headlines fade. As one foundation CEO reflecting on Katrina writes, “Is there perhaps some way that philanthropy can help us remember the present as vividly as we recall the past?” Our answer is yes- and to help, we provide the following resources for donors interested in helping the communities affected by Hurricane Katrina build back better:

Hurricane Katrina +10: Lessons From Our Most Costly Storm– The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has compiled a collection of resources for funders who wish to learn from the experiences in Katrina, including Best Practices in Disaster Grantmaking: Lessons from the Gulf Coast.

Disaster Accountability Project (DAP)- Executive Director Ben Smilowitz started DAP after witnessing firsthand the failed response to Katrina. Through citizen oversight & engagement, policy research & advocacy, and public education, DAP develops resources for donors that include a collection of special reports and the DAP blog.

Nonprofits in New Orleans: 10 Years After Katrina– This special report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports on the state of the growing nonprofit sector in New Orleans post-Katrina, which includes “bright spots” that nonprofit leaders have identified in education and criminal justice.  Other topics include corporate giving, philanthropic dollars for long-term rebuilding, and the impact that generous donors and volunteers have made on the region.

Ten Years After Katrina, Nonprofits are Still Growing– The Urban Institute has found that the nonprofit sector has grown steeply in New Orleans following Katrina. In 2012, for example, about half of health and human service nonprofits in New Orleans had only formed since 2000.

Philanthropy’s Response to Katrina: A 10-Year Perspective– G. Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, reflects on the vital role that philanthropy has played in rebuilding New Orleans. “Here was philanthropy at its best,” he writes. “Not photo-op philanthropy, but rather a response from the heart that has lasted to this day and has transformed our city.”

Katrina10– Katrina 10 is a project to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Katrina and move New Orleans forward, led by the City of New Orleans and sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, in partnership with over 100 organizations. The Katrina 10 website includes a collection of statistics on topics related to recovery, as well as links to special events and related news.

As always, we hope these resources help you move from interest and good intentions to high impact.