We hope the frequently asked questions below have the information you need. If you didn't find the answer to your question, please don't hesitate to contact admin@disasterphilanthropy.org.

What is CDP?

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization conceived after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by several funders committed to making disaster-related contributions more effective and strategic. Founded in 2010, CDP is the only full-time resource dedicated to helping donors maximize their impact by making more intentional disaster-related giving decisions in response to domestic and international events. Learn more about our mission and vision.

What is CDP’s purpose?

Disasters are happening more frequently. As a result, donors need to know when and how to respond effectively. At CDP, we focus on disasters full-time, 365 days a year, and support all aspects of recovery needed to strengthen disaster-affected communities, from preparedness and planning to rebuilding and addressing inequities that exacerbate vulnerabilities.

You can learn more about our philosophy in our annual Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy report, which we produce with Candid.

What do you do?

The far-reaching impacts of domestic and international disasters – from the human toll to economic impact – require a comprehensive approach to philanthropy. We have three areas of activity that are part of our work in effective disaster philanthropy:

  • Expert Resources and Thought Leadership: We provide educational and informational services to help donors better understand what to do with their disaster-giving. Our Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy report and Disaster Philanthropy Playbook help donors plan before, during and after disasters. We also regularly publish blog posts, host webinars and present on relevant topics and current disaster events.
  • Strategic Grantmaking: Our focus on medium- to long-term community-centered and equitable recovery means that while others move quickly to fund relief efforts, our grantmaking is comprehensive, thorough, strategic and efficient. Long-term recovery requires a holistic approach to individuals and their communities, particularly racialized and marginalized populations. Our recovery funds directly support local organizations, on-the-ground, doing the work in the U.S. and around the world. We also lead the Midwest Early Recovery Fund, focusing on low-attention disasters across the Midwest United States.
  • Consulting: We consult directly with foundations, corporations and other organizations on their strategic philanthropic plans and disaster-giving strategies to better align them with their organizational mission and priorities and equitable community recovery.
Who is CDP?

CDP is a small, hard-working team of passionate experts with extensive national and international disaster, philanthropic and nonprofit experience. We bring on additional experts on a case-by-case basis.

A volunteer, unpaid board of directors governs CDP. The board brings a wealth of experience and diverse skills to the organization’s strategy and financial planning to advance our mission.

Our advisory council provides advice on strategy implementation and is composed of domestic and international experts with extensive disaster, humanitarian and nonprofit experience.

What does disaster recovery mean?

Disaster recovery is not only about restoring structures, systems and services – although they are critical. A successful recovery is also about individuals and families being able to rebound from their losses and sustain their physical, social, economic, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Why give to recovery? Don’t people need support right away?

Yes, people need support right away, and we encourage contributions immediately after a disaster strikes. However, this immediate response is insufficient to address the long-tail of disaster needs. Research illustrates that donations drop significantly within days after a disaster, even though recovery takes an investment of years. CDP works to raise awareness of the importance of funding medium- to long-term recovery efforts. Long after the media attention goes away, communities require ongoing, flexible funding to rebuild and heal.

Does CDP do the recovery work?

No, our recovery funds are distributed to our vetted partner nonprofit organizations with the capacity and capabilities to help communities recover.

Does CDP charge fees on its fund disbursements?

Yes, we recover minimal direct costs, such as monitoring trips, and retain 5% of fund donations as a contribution against the expenses CDP incurs as a nonprofit organization. CDP costs include staffing to track disasters and their impacts on communities, research of nonprofits supporting community recovery, conducting due diligence on prospective grant recipients and awarding grants.

How do I support CDP?

You can support CDP and our funds through various giving platforms, from mailing a check and making a one-time or sustaining monthly online donation to wire transfers, cryptocurrency and more. Learn about the many ways to give to CDP.


Do I need to pay a fee to be considered for a grant or an open position at CDP?

CDP does not solicit fees or any form of payment from grant seekers or job applicants. Please contact us with any questions about grant applications, grant awards or employment opportunities. Charity Navigator has good tips to help protect yourself and your donation.