Jan. 14, 2016 2:38 pm

For the philanthropic community, a primer for disaster

Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers put together a "disaster playbook" after Superstorm Sandy.

The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy on Monmouth Beach, N.J.

(Photo by Flickr user Chris Gardner, New York District public affairs, used under a Creative Commons license)

When disaster strikes, how should the philanthropic community respond?

A new online playbook is offering streamlined resources to guide philanthropic leaders in times of crisis, offering tips and best practices to help philanthropists — and nonprofits — respond to a range of disaster-related situations.

Developed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the 2012 storm that devastated areas of New Jersey, the playbook is a joint project between the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, in association with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.

“When [Superstorm] Sandy struck, we knew that our members would want to understand how best to respond,” said Nina Stack, the president of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, a statewide association comprised of over 130 funders.

Following the storm, the Council sought support from philanthropic communities nationwide, collecting innovative strategies that its colleagues had used to navigate their own regional disasters. The idea for a playbook emerged.

Following the storm, the Council sought support from philanthropic communities nationwide.

“The creation of the playbook really became a way for us to continue to tell the story of what we had learned,” Stack said. “Never before has there been a resource where funders could access real strategies that were known to have worked.”

Along with general strategies, the playbook offers resources and examples specific to issue areas, including environment, housing, animal welfare, education and health, among others.

In a disaster similar to Superstorm Sandy, for instance, housing-focused funding organizations can support temporary and permanent homes for vulnerable populations, develop a housing recovery plan for the region, or provide community-wide education programs. The playbook also details how philanthropists can collaborate with city, state and federal entities for maximum impact.

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A customizable function of the site, called “My Playbook,” allows users to curate and share information specific to their needs and objectives. Philanthropic organizations are also encouraged to contribute information and best practices to the playbook.

Read the playbook -30-

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