Richard Marker, CHIP Senior Fellow and Co-Faculty Director for Executive Education Programs, was quoted in a Houston Press article about NFL player J.J. Watt’s philanthropic response to Hurricane Harvey. Watt raised an impressive $33 million in two weeks – this article raises questions about how this money will be used to help Houston recover.
Transparency and willingness to work with established, experienced relief organizations is paramount in the wake of disasters, according to Richard Marker, faculty co-director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy. …
“It’s probably not a bad idea to divide that money so that some of that money is available for relief six months from now or a year from now, because one of the things we’ve learned from every disaster is that there’s an immediate need…to respond to that, but there are needs that continue to emerge,” said Marker, who agreed to speak in general terms about post-disaster fundraising, and not specifically on the J.J. Watt Foundation.
Experience from past disasters — 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 Haiti earthquake — has shown that “it’s very important that credible organizations oversee [disaster relief], and credible organizations take responsibility for it.”
Marker added, “The implementation of that money should go to organizations that are already respected and have infrastructure on the ground, so that there is an efficiency in getting it to where it needs to be done as quickly as possible.”
At the same time, Marker said, victims can be forgotten in the months following a disaster like Harvey, when “nobody else is funding. Everybody already has compassion fatigue…As long as it’s clear and public and people know who’s managing it, some of that money could be set aside” to use for the “non-calculable kinds of needs that inevitably emerge down the road after the water dries out and people still don’t have homes.”