Texas National Guard Soldiers arrive in Houston to rescue stranded residents in flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 27, 2017. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West
Texas National Guard Soldiers arrive in Houston to rescue stranded residents in flooded areas from the storms of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 27, 2017. Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West

It’s a bit shocking to think that we are nearing the halfway point in 2018. For the team here at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), the year has gone by incredibly quickly.

But it hasn’t been nearly fast enough for many, particularly those living in Texas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, who were affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria. Thousands are still homeless and struggling to put their lives and communities back together. Some in Puerto Rico are still, as astonishing as this may sound, without power, some nine months after the storm. Our work recently has also taken us to areas still recovering from wildfires in California, earthquakes in Mexico, and floods in the upper Midwest and Louisiana. As we enter another hurricane season, we’re taking some time to reflect on last year’s disasters and our efforts to support recovery.

Fortunately, many of you reading this blog provided CDP with the resources to launch four funds in late 2017 to help those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the Mexico Earthquake. The investment in these recovery funds helped change the way disasters were supported last year, and will ultimately help rebuild better communities. In a year of unrelenting crises, donors also helped fund wildfire recovery efforts in Northern California through the Starbucks Foundation and Google campaigns. And, through our partnership with Google, hundreds of people seized the opportunity to effectively support disaster survivors around the world.

Along with addressing these major catastrophes, the CDP team continued to focus on vital recovery efforts in Louisiana and the Midwest. Through the innovative public-private Louisiana Disaster Recovery Alliance, we awarded the first grants to fund housing, water management, mental health support, legal services and other community needs throughout Louisiana. In its fourth year, our Midwest Early Recovery Fund continued to provide timely, vital resources to communities affected by low-attention disasters. The fund provides much needed hope to small, rural communities that attract little attention or resources when disasters strike.

Beyond our funds, year-round, the CDP team is committed to providing resources, services and strategies on ways funders can best meet the needs of disaster survivors around the globe. In times of disasters, we provide pooled funding opportunities that enable communities to leverage more effective, local solutions on the long road to rebuilding. Our consulting services help donors advance their values, maximize their giving impact, and ultimately, strengthen communities.

We’re honored to provide these and other resources to prepare for and minimize the impact of disasters on those who need our help the most. Undoubtedly, there is still a long road to recovery ahead for the communities affected by last year’s disasters. And though we don’t know what the future holds, with your help we will continue to support recovery wherever disaster strikes. On behalf of all the survivors who will benefit from your generosity, we thank you for advancing our ongoing mission to transform disaster philanthropy.

To learn more about our work, check out our annual report.