The “Matthew Recovery: Funder Voices from the Field” webinar on November 15, 2016, addressed recovery needs in the Southeast U.S. and Haiti more than one month after the decade’s most powerful Atlantic tropical made landfall.

Hosted by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), the webinar was moderated by CDP President and CEO Bob Ottenhoff and included speakers Ret Boney, Executive Director, North Carolina Network of Grantmakers, Jason Chau, Deputy Manager for Planning, Hurricane Matthew Response Management Team, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, Dave Miller, Director of Marketing and Communications, Southeastern Council on Foundations, Chris Smith, Director, FEMA Individual Assistance Division, Recovery Directorate, and Susan Towler, Vice President, Florida Blue Foundation; and Executive Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Florida Blue.

Watch the webinar recording and review the summary below to learn more about recovery challenges and opportunities.

How Can Donors Help

Whether donors are looking to support current needs or long-term recovery, monetary donations to local, established organizations were recommended as the most impactful approach to procuring services and supplies and helping local economies. Here are specific strategies to consider:

Give Locally
Donors are encouraged to fund organizations that are well-established in the impacted areas. Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina all have funds to support specific recovery needs in those states. In Haiti, it is particularly important to work with NGOs who are actively operating in country. Resources for researching these organizations include: CDP, the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI), InterAction, and National VOAD.

Support Staff
Corporations should look internally to see how to support impacted employees in ways that allow limited government and philanthropic resources to be focused on other, more urgent situations. Staff support could involve time off, food and clothing drives, and counseling services, for example.

Budget for the Long-Term
It will take years to rebuild from Matthew’s impact. Both North and South Carolina continued to experience extensive flooding well after Matthew moved on. South Carolina was still recovering from floods there in 2015 and North Carolina has had a long list of disasters repeatedly impact vulnerable communities in particular. Haiti was just beginning to come back from the 2010 earthquakes.

Needs will change with time and will likely include mold remediation, HVAC repairs, childcare, or mental health services. Longer-term funding also gives NGOs the resources to commit to advance planning, assessment, and rebuilding efforts that help communities become more resilient.

Donate Responsibly
To refrain from cleaning out closets, check with CIDI and Good360 on what and where to donate goods or products.

Save Lives and Prepare Now
With Hurricane Matthew still top of mind, it is difficult but important to take the time to prepare your community for the next crisis. The best tool to planning for potential disasters is the Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a free, and regularly updated national resource developed in partnership with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers in association with the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers.

Stay Informed
For updated disaster information, NGO response, and funder activity, please see our Hurricane Matthew profile.