What is an Early Recovery Fund?

The mission of CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund (Fund) is to provide communities affected by low-attention disasters valuable recovery resources through a timely, consistent, and replicable grantmaking process.

The vision of the Fund is to support those most vulnerable to the impact of a natural disaster so the entire community benefits from a more holistic and robust recovery.

Delmont, South Dakota after the 2015 Mother’s Day tornado.

The Fund is utilized to address issues two weeks to eighteen months after natural disasters, including tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, landslides, and wildfires, in a ten-state region that includes Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Disasters that meet the criteria for assistance are identified by The Fund’s program officer as well as other CDP staff, frequent media scans, trusted partners in the field (primarily operational NGOs), and direct calls from disaster-affected communities to CDP.

In order to accomplish this important work, CDP developed a five-step clipboard grantmaking process to help define our work, insure consistency, and provide a process to capture valuable community and disaster response and recovery information.

Five-step Clipboard Grantmaking

  1. Investigate the disaster and qualify the event as ‘low attention’ with significant unmet needs.
  2. Make a site visit to engage with community partners to identify challenges and prioritize needs.
  3. Develop a community profile to better understand assets and vulnerabilities.
  4. Develop a recovery work plan and budget while identifying and vetting potential grantees.
  5. Fill out The Fund’s clipboard grant application, collect all necessary documentation and submit for approval. Disburse funds within two weeks. When grant cycle is complete, fill out the final grant report and response outcome document.

Learn more about Midwest Early Recovery Fund grants and their impact here.

Strategies & Resources

The Midwest Early Recovery Fund has identified five key challenges faced by communities affected by low attention disasters. During early recovery, communities often lack the capacity to:

Delmont Mayor Mae Gunnare meets with LSSSD and SD VOAD president Lisa Adler, and the LSSSD reconstruction manager.
  • identify and develop sufficient resources to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster;
  • develop robust long-term recovery efforts without additional support from national, regional or state disaster organizations and/or other partners;
  • coordinate client information and resources from multiple agencies;
  • identify affected vulnerable populations and develop appropriate resources; and
  • meet the unique needs of children post disaster.

Direct Service Support
Funding community-based organizations invested in providing client services such as: disaster case management (DCM), reconstruction management, volunteer coordination, data base development/ support, needs assessment/case work, nutrition support, recovery support for children, mental health providers and outreach workers.

Training, Education, Outreach, and Community Support
Funding organizations to provide community-focused services such as training for DCM and long-term recovery process development; outreach to affected elderly, immigrant/non-English speaking people and those with disabilities; and community education and support for leadership development, behavioral/disaster mental health education, and community resource fairs.

Fundraising for Low Attention Disasters – Download your step-by-step guide to building a long-term recovery fund for non-federally (low attention) declared disasters. This toolkit includes information on forming a long-term recovery committee (LTRC) and steps for developing funding for successful recovery.

Grantees and Partners

Presently we are working with multiple organizations to identify creative solutions to persistent gaps in disaster recovery services. In our first two years our work has taken us to five states in our ten state region: South Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Select a state to view our grantees and partners for that state.

Impact Stories

Our Early Recovery Fund investments have provided much needed hope and invaluable resources to hundreds of disaster survivors across the Midwest. Our grants have helped build the capacity of local organizations and empowered them to serve their neighbors at a time of great need and suffering. We have intentionally sought out disaster-impacted communities that few others have noticed, let alone invested their time, effort, energy or financial resources in.



Nancy Beers oversees The CDP Early Recovery Fund, which focuses on supporting vulnerable populations in 10 states in the Midwest, following a disaster. Before joining CDP, Nancy was Senior Director of Disaster Services for Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota where she led disaster long-term recovery work and Camp Noah, a nationally acclaimed trauma recovery program for children. A long-time advocate for children and families, Nancy also served as a court advocate for children for the State of Minnesota. An expert on issues related to children and the trauma caused by disasters, she is frequently called to speak and write on the issue, and provide training to disaster professionals.

Nancy was a member of the Disaster Case Management subcommittee for the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) and served as Vice President of Minnesota VOAD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.

For more on Nancy, read this interview.

Take Action

For more information on the fund, please contact:
Nancy Beers
Director, Midwest Early Recovery Fund
(507) 990-5307

Connections Newsletter

Midwest Early Recovery Fund | Connections May 2018
Midwest Early Recovery Fund | Connections November 2018

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