In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, local community foundations across the storm-affected area were called to great leadership. They offered guidance on how to support vulnerable communities, information and evidence on the extent of the destruction, and bringing together funders and nonprofit organizations together to act locally and effectively.

The Brooklyn Community Foundation (BCF) emerged as a leader in this area within days following the storm. Using funds from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy Hurricane Sandy Disaster Fund, the community foundation trained local leadership how to manage and recruit volunteers, thus harnessing their talents to carry out crucial relief and recovery work. Leaders also gained skills on how to prepare before the next storm strikes.

Brooklyn Community Foundation worked closely with NeighborWorks America to provide a two-day training program on volunteer management. The workshops focused on developing the knowledge, skills and abilities required to organize volunteers after a disaster. It also supported the development of leadership skills for community volunteers to organize, campaign, recruit, and manage the ongoing volunteer emergency response teams.

“Community groups were the first line of response and assistance in many of our neighborhoods when Super storm Sandy came ashore,” said Gillian Kaye, director, Brooklyn Recovery Fund. “With a grant from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, we provided NeighborWorks Block and Building Captain Response Team training to our shorefront communities. Now these communities have a blueprint for implementing this level of organized response. Resident leaders have increased capacity and understanding of how to create a block and building captain response network, how to recruit leaders for implementation and how to align this system with OEM’s incident command structure for maximum impact and coordination.”

About 40 local leaders attended the training.