Disasters in the Midwest affect primarily small and rural communities. These disasters, such as floods, severe storms, wildfires and other climate and weather events, don’t usually make national headlines. In these areas where response and recovery programs are chronically underfunded, philanthropy plays a vital role in ensuring that communities have the resources to rebound after disasters.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund prioritizes these low-attention events and strives to fund and provide technical assistance for recovery efforts that focus on rural communities, historically marginalized populations, mental wellness and children’s needs.
In the first six months of 2022, my colleagues and I tracked and monitored more than 40 low-attention disaster events in the 10-state region covered by the Midwest Early Recovery Fund. These floods, fires, tornadoes and derechos have affected hundreds of communities. Many of these communities are just beginning to understand the long-term impact of these disasters.
We’ve engaged many of these communities in conversation about future grantmaking and we’ve funded several still recovering from 2020 and 2021 low-attention events. 2021 ended with record-breaking tornadoes and winds in Minnesota and Iowa, record-breaking windstorms in Kansas and tornadoes in Missouri and Arkansas.
Over the last six months, CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund granted $414,000 to four organizations in Arkansas, Iowa and Kansas in response to a derecho, tornadoes and a wildfire. These grants have supported the psychosocial needs of children, recovery coordination, disaster case management and home repair work.
Here are our newest grantee partners:
- $85,000 to Matthew 25 to support home repair in Linn County, Iowa (Cedar Rapids Area) in response to the August 2020 derecho. As part of the PATCH program, a collaboration of multiple organizations, Matthew 25 will lead repair work for the county’s low-income, underinsured or uninsured households. As these homes are primarily manufactured, a resource guide about repairing manufactured homes after a disaster is in development.
- $103,400 to The Old Community House Foundation in Trumann, Arkansas, to support a disaster recovery coordinator for 18 months of recovery coordination needs. This grant supports recovery efforts following the December 2021 tornadoes affecting the community and surrounding area.
- $105,600 to the United Way of Reno County in Hutchinson, Kansas, for recovery from the 2022 Cottonwood Complex Fire. Midwest Early Recovery Funds will support two disaster case managers for 18 months as they work to ensure everyone has access to resources.
- $120,000 to Northwest Arkansas Child Care & Referral Center (Child Care Aware of NWA) to support the recovery needs of children and caregivers after the 2022 Springdale, Arkansas tornado. Funds will allow Child Care Aware of NWA to hire a specialist to support caregivers and trainings for more than 500 providers, educators, parents and caregivers. In addition, a one-day conference will bring education and information about trauma responses for caregivers and providers.
The Midwest Early Recovery Fund is proud to fund these grantee partners as they support equitable recovery for their communities. We look forward to the impact they will make as they provide for the needs of children and caregivers, repair homes, assist households as they navigate the complex systems of recovery and advocate for holistic recovery for the whole community.