Announcing the CDP Global Recovery Fund

The aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, March 15, 2019. Source: Denis Onyodi: IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) has just launched its CDP Global Recovery Fund – with an eye toward natural disasters and complex humanitarian emergencies that affect the world beyond U.S. borders.

This focus on international disasters and humanitarian crises is intentional and important.

The U.S. has seen staggering disaster-caused damage over the past two years. From Harvey, Irma, Maria, Florence and Michael to flooding across the Midwest and fires across the west coast, disasters have made their presence known. And while our country’s collective attention has been focused on disasters within our own borders, global disasters have continued to affect millions. Currently, Cyclone Idai, the Venezuelan refugee crisis, the complex humanitarian emergency in Yemen and the resurgence of an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are putting millions of lives at risk. However, these crises have yielded not much attention and little support by philanthropy. The Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy mapping platform will quickly help you visualize how few philanthropic dollars are currently designated for international humanitarian crises.

Having developed and executed more than 90 grants totaling more than $50 million to address crises in South Asia, Sudan, Iran, the Caribbean and other areas in my work with the Gates Foundation, I understand the urgency of responding to international disasters and, as importantly, of making significant investments in recovery efforts. Private philanthropy has a unique and critical role to play in the relentless spread of global humanitarian crises by providing urgently needed help and support to people globally, whether they are affected by drought, disease, civil war or natural disasters. These crises have become and will continue to be a defining epidemic of this decade.

The CDP Global Recovery Fund is designed to meet the needs of both the crises that are described above, as well as the needs of philanthropy to designate their dollars to these issues. The Fund provides a place where donors can allocate their dollars now and know that they will be stewarded by the Center’s expert staff. But to speak of ‘stewarding’ sound perhaps overly fussy… so let me articulate our thoughts on how this Fund will play out over the next five years.

CDP staff, Brennan and Tanya, will continue to monitor the world for new disasters and look for changes in current disasters. We will communicate across the whole CDP team to identify which disasters would benefit from private philanthropic investment. This investment will come in the form of grants to local and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). We will solicit and shape proposals with potential grantees, vet them across three dimensions – programmatic, financial and governance – and then work with the CDP board of directors to shepherd the grants through to approval. Along the way, CDP staff will take full advantage of the intellect and expertise of our advisory council and experts in the field. In my dream, the Fund will be able to tackle unmet needs such as shelter, WASH, nutrition, education, mental health, protection and livelihoods. Over the coming years, I hope that this Fund supports the amazing thinking that already exists within the humanitarian community (the Grand Bargain, the Localisation Agenda, the SDGs, etc.) and that the Fund generates new ideas for conquering protracted problems. With a Fund such as this one, I think we can dream big!

If you have any questions about the Fund, and how it operates, I hope you will not hesitate to call or email me. It would be my pleasure to speak with you about the CDP Global Recovery Fund and how it aims to bring effective disaster philanthropy to the international stage.

We announced the launch of the fund during our recent Cyclone Idai: Responding to an International Crisis webinar. Watch the webinar recording to learn more:

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