Editor’s Note: The Irene W. and the C.B. Pennington Foundation generously funded the development of the new CDP website. We asked them a few questions to introduce them to our readers.
Q: When was the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation established? What is its mission?
A: The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation was established in 1982. The Foundation’s mission is to serve as a partner, champion, and ally for the state of Louisiana by investing in innovative projects that build resilient communities.
Q: Why is the Pennington Foundation interested in disaster philanthropy?
A: The Foundation understands that disasters impact every aspect of our philanthropic work. Because of the frequency of disasters in the Gulf, it is impossible to ignore their impact on the other work that the Pennington Family Foundation undertakes. Vulnerable populations are particularly impacted by disasters, and to this end we believe that disaster philanthropy is a part of every philanthropist’s portfolio.
Q: Thanks for supporting the development of our new web site. Why were you interested in supporting this?
A: As the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) grows, it is important for the website to reflect that dynamic change and to provide a useful source of information and engagement for disaster philanthropists. CDP’s website can serve as a tool to provide donors with real-time information to make informed decisions about their giving, as well as engage other people in disaster philanthropy.
Q: Do you have any advice for other foundations considering disaster philanthropy?
A: Disaster philanthropy is not about response to just one disaster, but rather it is an investment from the stages of preparedness through recovery in order to help restore communities over time. Whether disasters are happening in your community or others’, they impact our economy, human services, and populations as a whole.
Q: Is there anything else you would like us to know about your work?
A: The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation has a Pennington Disaster Resilience fund at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) for several years, which proactively funds recovery, mitigation, and preparedness. They also fund programs that help funders understand disasters when they are not happening. This fund is an entirely proactive fund that does not accept applications. Our Foundation was one of the first to develop a fund such as this. The Foundation also writes two columns on the subject of disaster philanthropy in the Huffington Post and Fortune.com. The Pennington Family Foundation has also set up a series with Walmart and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a global think tank, to discuss community resilience through public-private partnerships. We developed a paper with the National Center for Disaster Philanthropy (NCDP) about how philanthropy is an agile agent, and can be used in conjunction with federal and state governments as well as the private sector and the nonprofit sector.