Announcing more than $784,000 in CDP Tornado Recovery Fund grants for community recovery from 2023 storms

CDP’s Sally Ray and Patty McIlreavy join Disaster Services Corporation- Society of St. Vincent de Paul to visit a home in Rolling Fork, Mississippi being built for a renter that lost their rental property during a tornado in 2023. (Photo courtesy of Disaster Services Corporation - Society of St. Vincent de Paul)

We are starting 2024 much like we did 2023, with a rash of tornadic storms affecting communities across the country. As winter storms train across the U.S. and butt up against warm, moist air, the unstable atmosphere often results in severe weather, including tornadoes, floods and straight-line winds.

So far this year, at least 38 tornadoes have already been confirmed across the U.S., and the first F-3-rated storm ever recorded in January touched down in Florida. The “traditional” tornado season has not yet even begun.

In 2023, tornadoes continued to devastate communities throughout the year, resulting in a top-15 year for these types of storms. Though CDP has supported communities affected by twisters and other wind events since our founding, we wanted to draw attention to this increased activity and the increased needs of rural communities that often don’t have the resources to recover. So early last year, we launched the CDP Tornado Recovery Fund to support recovery in areas devastated by these often-deadly storms.

Grantee partners

The first full round of grants from the CDP Tornado Recovery Fund supports communities with little access to other resources affected by what we call “low-attention” disasters. We know media attention is fleeting, and once it’s gone, local communities are left on their own, even when the destruction is immense. The tornadoes that destroyed the communities whose recovery will be supported by these grants happened about a year ago – Selma in January and several storms in Mississippi in March. A year on, recovery is just beginning for many of those affected. We hope to use our grantmaking to refocus attention on these communities to share their stories of strength and hope.

  • Disaster Services Corporation – Society of St. Vincent de Paul received a $134,766.03 grant to continue its disaster case management work in Rolling Fork, Mississippi and surrounding communities affected by tornadoes in 2023.
  • Love Without Walls, through their fiscal sponsor, the CREATE Foundation, received $249,999.99 to provide resource navigation and case management to tornado survivors in Monroe County, particularly in the town of Amory. This locally led, grassroots organization will provide spiritual-emotional care, financial recovery education and financial assistance related to rebuilding or re-establishing housing that is not included in other local projects.
  • United Way for Jackson and George Counties was awarded $200,000 to provide long-term recovery support to residents impacted by the June 19, 2023, tornado in Moss Point, Mississippi. The long-term recovery group, which is facilitated by the United Way, will work with Mennonite Disaster Services volunteers to provide building materials for repairs and rebuilds of homes affected by the storms.
  • United Way of Selma & Dallas County, in support of the Selma Long-Term Recovery Group, received $200,000 to help restore the homes and lives of those affected by the Jan. 12 tornado that hit this historic city. The funding will support the capacity for case management and the repair and rebuild process.

In addition to these grants, we also collaborated with CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund to support their work in tornado-affected communities in Arkansas and Oklahoma. You can read more about those grants here.

CDP is pleased to be able to provide flexible funds aimed at building capacity, responding to local needs, and directing dollars toward developing stronger communities in the face of the increased frequency and ferocity of these storms. If you’re interested in supporting this work, please contact us for more information.

Sally Ray

Sally Ray

Director, Domestic Funds