Fifteen years ago when I answered an ad for a disaster case manager, I wasn’t even sure what a disaster case manager was but it sounded fascinating!  Who knew I would find a new passion?

I have met the most amazing people on this journey.  People whose lives changed in what seemed like an instant – a storm, a flood, an accident, a tragedy.  Their stories, and the stories of those that came to help, have become a part of the fabric of my life.  They changed how I understand vulnerability, compassion, courage and hope.

Now, and this is the most amazing part, I have been asked to be a part of this innovative, creative, dynamic team at CDP that every day brings “out-side the box” thinking to help those affected by disaster. CDP’s mission is to transform the field of disaster philanthropy by increasing donor effectiveness through education, new opportunities of engagement and strategic guidance by being a thought leader and partner.

I started with CDP in October as the program officer for the Midwest Early Recovery Fund and have been busy working with the CDP team to develop the process and criteria for this important, new program.

The Early Recovery Fund (the Fund) is CDP’s largest recovery fund to date. This $2 million fund was created to efficiently and effectively allocate money to organizations supporting the needs of vulnerable populations within communities affected by low attention disasters in the Midwest, using a unique ‘clipboard’ grantmaking process.

The fund will be tapped within two weeks to one year after natural disasters — tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, landslides and wildfires – in the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

The two-year program will begin grantmaking in early 2015. CDP estimates making approximately 30-50 grants over two years to community based organizations and national disaster partners for Community Services Support and Disaster Trainings, Outreach and Education.

In the CDP tradition of educating and engaging our community, we are hosting a webinar on February 18th at 2 p.m. CST to not only inform you about this new program but to hopefully help you see “where you fit in” as we seek to support communities impacted by low attention disasters in the Midwest.

If you have other questions about the Fund, please contact me at nancy.beers@disasterphilanthropy.org.