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Homes lay in ruin as seen from a flyover of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria September 23, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Kris Grogan.

Our colleagues over at Foundation Center sent over information on private philanthropy giving (NOT individual giving) to the four catastrophic natural disasters that have occurred in the past 45 days.

  • Hurricane Harvey has raised $305,589,352.
  • Hurricane Irma has raised $100,285,333.
  • Hurricane Maria has raised $32,231,333.
  • The earthquakes in Mexico have raised $16,478,000.

I think, in the future, analysis will be necessary to understand the disparity in the dollar figures presented above. Is it media attention or news coverage? Is it the number of celebrities in Texas versus Florida? Is it that Harvey was the first of four major hurricanes and two earthquakes? Is it that the lights are literally out in Puerto Rico and much of the Caribbean? I think that time and distance from all events will slowly reveal the answers.

For now though, I will set forth an impassioned plea to the philanthropic community to give—and give generously. I have worked as a disaster philanthropist since 2003 and have never seen this kind of back-to-back string of events. I have never before heard the numbers of individuals registering for FEMA assistance. I have never heard of millions of individuals without access to electricity or water. Never. This string of disasters (not to mention the famine crisis, the refugee crisis, and wildfires in the western U.S.) is unprecedented in its scale and scope.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has four funds dedicated to supporting the medium- and long-term recovery needs of vulnerable populations affected by the Hurricanes and the earthquake. We would welcome your support of our funds, but more than anything, ask you to give generously to meet the needs of the millions of individuals who have recently stood in harm’s way.