Innovative Practices

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Supported and developed the Philanthropic Preparedness, Resiliency and Emergency Partnership (PPREP) with The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. The partnership was created to build community foundation leadership and capacity to help create more resilient communities. Topics also include ways community foundation leaders can work with local governments and other partners to improve decision making and plans that impact preparedness, response, and recovery, such as the development of Business Continuity Plans for their own organization. The purpose of PPREP is to create and support a community foundation disaster preparedness and response learning cohort in a ten-state Midwestern region of the United States, roughly correlating with the watershed of the Missouri River.

In addition to being a convener, and information sharing entity, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies’ Relief and Resilience Program began with a Midwest-specific program to help communities address natural disasters and better prepare for future events. The program has expanded globally, with a focus on building resilience among populations in often-overlooked regions that face recurring disasters. Internationally, the Foundation is using a vulnerability “lens” to determine where and how it will carry out work in relation to disasters, and anticipate focusing on capacity building and reducing the impact of future disasters.


The Patterson Foundation

Funded a portion of the cash needs to be leveraged with in-kind equipment from tech companies after each international disaster where NetHope has developed a response for information communications technology. The quick response typically results in at least 20-fold impact of their dollars.


Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey

Funded a local hospital to develop a disaster preparedness strategy. The foundation also funded a staff person to coordinate recovery efforts for a local agency/grantee whose administrative offices were destroyed by a fire.

Funded a local hospital to develop a disaster preparedness strategy, in the wake of September 11th.


OceanFirst Foundation

Worked with the Food Bank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties in New Jersey to develop extensive disaster preparedness plans for organizations and for the distribution of services to constituents. The foundation also encouraged the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to work cooperatively in discussing the creation of funds that are set aside solely for disaster response. The idea being that the anchor nonprofits in the region would know, in advance of the disaster, how much funding would be immediately available to them when a disaster strikes, and they would therefore know which strategies contained in their disaster preparedness plans would be able to be immediately deployed. Additionally, the establishment of disaster funds would help to ensure that the region’s anchor nonprofits (the ones who provide ongoing critically important services and programs) remain strong. These nonprofits will step up efforts in times of need, and need to know their capacity is not compromised to the point where they might be in danger of collapse. Disasters place a tremendous strain on a community, and nonprofits are not exempt from the stress and pressures of rebuilding and recovery.


Hau’ oli Mau Loa Foundation

Had discussions with their two international relief partners, Save the Children and Doctors without Borders about their work to enable at-risk communities to have disaster readiness plans, emergency food, medical and hygiene stores, etc. The foundation feels that preparedness includes funders taking the lead in helping their grantees and communities prepare. They have made and continue to make to grants to their primary humanitarian relief partners in response to specific disasters. They have separately made multiyear commitment to support their work in disaster reading and negative outcome reduction. That funding can include setting up emergency storage of post disaster needs close to disaster prone areas, be they floods, earthquakes, etc. It can also include specific efforts to equip and educate communities with emergency survival skills and strategies, etc. While they discuss the methods and strategies to be employed with their partners, they leave the ultimate choices and planning to the partners as they have the experience and skills to optimize the work.


The Leary Firefighters Foundation

Made a grant to the New Orleans Fire Department to purchase 15 rescue boats following Katrina.


Community Partners

Published “Chaos to Community: A Guide to Helping Friends and Neighbors Recover and Rebuild After A Major Disaster,” as a tool from which resident and leaders can think in advance of and in the months after a disaster how to organize a long term response.


Roddenberry Foundation

Developed an organized and coordinated disaster-assessment approach, with access to clean, portable water for impacted communities for an extended period of time.


The Ahmanson Foundation

Funded preparedness grants to organziations within Los Angeles County preparing for disasters in the region.


Palm Healthcare Foundation

Funded communications equipment and coordination efforts amongst hospitals throughout Palm Beach County in 2001, in the wake of the anthrax attacks. Initially approached by the Palm Beach County Medical Society, over the past 13 years, the initiative – known as the Healthcare Emergency Response Coalition (HERC) – has grown into an award-winning model for disaster preparedness and response in the healthcare arena. HERC membership has grown to include a variety of healthcare providers (not just hospitals) and other first responders, and is now part of the formal disaster response plan in Palm Beach County, Florida. The members train together, share information and tracking systems, and have worked to coordinate efforts actively in the wake of several hurricanes in our community. The members of HERC also wrote and published a guide to establishing similar coalitions in other communities.


Enterprise Community Partners

Worked with building owners and property managers to create disaster protocols/evacuation plans for senior housing.


Minnesota Council on Foundations

Worked with a network of members to identify both challenges they have experienced as grantmakers responding to local disasters and needs for state level policy reforms. From a policy perspective, their interest is in identifying helpful changes to state policies and procedures to improve disaster preparedness planning, response and recovery, particularly as they affect historically marginalized communities.


National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

Developed PREPaRE: School Crisis Prevention and Intervention Training Curriculum as part of NASP’s decade-long leadership in providing evidence-based resources and consultation related to school crisis prevention and response. PREPaRE training is ideal for schools committed to improving and strengthening their school safety and crisis management plans and emergency response.


Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Provided support for a community-oriented disaster preparedness initiative in Los Angeles County called PrepareLA. Los Angeles County, like much of California, is vulnerable to disasters such as earthquakes and fires.



Created targeted tools and resources focusing on disaster safety and preparedness to educate teachers, students, and adults. PSEG seeks to keep people and their homes safe, particularly around electricity and natural gas. To this end, they have created a special “Kids Korner” on their website where teachers and students can learn more about electricity and natural gas and how to play it safe. They have also produced a video about natural gas, an energy calculator, and a special education and safety page on their website for adults.

Supported the establishment of a statewide VOAD organization in New Jersey and seeks to further strengthen its capacity to serve and assist counties and municipalities be prepared and available when need is greatest. Currently operating as part of the NJ 211 as it seeks its own 501(c)3 status, the VOAD works with the American Red Cross, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, the Salvation Army, and others to complement government efforts through each county Office of Emergency Management.

In addition, believing that proactive strategies reduce vulnerability to disasters, the PSEG Foundation works with regional Voluntary or Community Organizations Active in Disasters (V/COAD) to educate and prepare families, as well as strengthen the capacity of emergency response organizations and staff. Through a partnership with the American Red Cross, they are pre-investing in disaster relief so they can activate immediately and provide life-saving aid. This includes support for activities in advance of a disaster, including training volunteers, securing shelter locations, stocking warehouses and maintaining disaster-relief vehicles.