Four years of growth, impact and equity: My journey at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

CDP President and CEO Patty McIlreavy rang the Nasdaq closing bell on March 17, 2020. Photography courtesy of Nasdaq, Inc.

As I celebrate my fourth year at the helm of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), I’m compelled to reflect on the profound transformations we’ve undergone as an organization, including our new strategic direction and steadfast commitment to equity. Supported by fundraising successes and organizational growth, the past few years have enabled a deeper engagement with our values and a renewed focus on advancing equity in all aspects of our work.

My leadership at CDP has been guided by our shared commitment to addressing systemic injustices and centering the voices and needs of marginalized communities in disaster response and recovery efforts. Our mission underscores the importance of equity as a cornerstone of our work, recognizing that the impacts of disasters are disproportionately borne by those already facing systemic social and economic barriers to a thriving future.

Over the past four years, I have endeavored to amplify this message. From examining the racial disparities in disaster recovery outcomes to highlighting the importance of community-led solutions to acknowledging the connectivity of a disaster’s impact to pre-existing vulnerabilities, my leadership has been guided by a commitment to challenging existing norms and fostering a more just and equitable philanthropic response to disasters.

Underpinning these efforts and ever-present in our work are CDP’s ongoing racial and intersectional equity journey and the values of integrity, boldness and innovation, humility, and empathy. All require personal introspection and a willingness to confront uncomfortable truths.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the past four years has been witnessing philanthropy’s transformative power in building community and fostering sustainable solutions. I am proud to champion initiatives prioritizing marginalized communities’ needs.

As I look ahead to the next phase of my leadership at CDP, I am inspired by our progress and energized by the opportunities that lie ahead. The challenges we face may be daunting, but I am confident that with dedication, collaboration and commitment to our mission, we can continue to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by disasters.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic and impactful organization. The past four years have been a passage of growth, learning and collaboration, and I am excited to see where the road ahead will take us.

Together, we can build a future where communities are strong enough to withstand and recover from disasters, ensuring a more resilient and equitable world for generations to come.