CDP to Focus on Tornadoes in May

As we move into May, I wanted to touch briefly on some of the highlights from the past month and look forward to what we’ll be up to this month.
The severe storms this past week in the Midwest and South remind us that we are beginning one of the most active times of the year for tornadoes (see my blog on April 29). Although the number of tornadoes has been below average so far this spring, some of the most violent ones traditionally occur during the month of May, including the tornado system that hit Moore, Okla., last May 20. Many across the Midwest and South got an early taste of violent weather during this last week. On April 29, CDP activated its disaster recovery fund to assist in the long-term recovery needs in areas affected by the late April storm system. Our focus throughout the month of May will be on tornadoes – being prepared, their effects, and the long term recovery needs.
On April 9, I visited Oso, Wash., to survey the site of the Washington Landslides. It was a devastating scene, with homes destroyed, lives lost, and first responders working to recover the missing. Local residents had many questions – some of which are still without answers – on the best way to restore access to State Route 530, the central route of transportation connecting Oso and nearby towns; the best way to restore the Stillaguamish River to its normal flow pattern; and how to allocate funding to address short- and long-term needs. The effects of this disaster will be with us for many years to come.
On April 24, our Vice-President, Regine Webster, had the opportunity to participate in an event with Air Traffic Control and 350, looking at climate change, disasters, and the philanthropic efforts of artists and musicians. Air Traffic Control facilitates artists and their teams reaching their philanthropic and activist goals, and 350 focuses on climate campaigns and projects. Artists and celebrities often are the key to bringing attention to disaster needs and assisting in funding efforts, especially in the long term, and we are thrilled Regine had the opportunity to engage with these organizations and interested artists.
CDP is looking forward to several exciting events in May. First, we are a sponsor of an exhibit at the National Building Museum, called Designing for Disaster, which uses graphics, multimedia and other unique objects to look at developing policies, plans, and designs to create more resilient communities. The exhibit opens May 11 and will be on display for 18 months.
I will have the opportunity to attend the 2014 National Forum on Family Philanthropy May 8-9. The needs of families are an integral part of any disaster recovery process, and building relationships with the organizations constantly working to support family and home life allows us to fulfill that function of our mission effectively and find opportunities to support them in their efforts as well.
May 13 to 15, Regine will be a speaker at the annual conference of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, one of our key partners. She and Juanita Rilling of CIDI (USAID Center for International Disaster Information) will review international disaster trends, and discuss the elements of effective giving by private donors to international disasters.
We look forward to sharing more with you about these May events as the month goes on. Do you have questions about tornado season or helping with our disaster recovery fund for those already affected by storms? Email me at

Robert G. Ottenhoff

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