Hurricane Sandy was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. The storm affected a wide swath of the Atlantic from Haiti and Jamaica and north into Canada. More than 200 deaths were attributed to the storm, with 146 of those in the United States and 98 in the Caribbean.



While immediate relief dollars went to housing, food and clothing, the CDP Hurricane Sandy Disaster Fund was established to invest in long-term projects that filled gaps where public resources were unavailable or scarce. CDP requested grant applications from NGOs committed to projects that crossed broad disciplines to ease the transition from disaster to normalcy; fostered collaboration among donors; used existing local philanthropic networks and worked to strengthen local philanthropy; promoted cross-sector coordination with academics, donors, think tanks, and public and private humanitarian actors; and supported innovative research that informed policy and strengthened future disaster preparation and response.

Grantmaking Timeline

September 2013
October 2013
February 2014

Grant Committee

The CDP Hurricane Sandy Disaster Fund grant committee included:

Committee Chair: Lori J. Bertman, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge- based Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation. Lori is the co-founder and chairman of the board of CDP.

Doug Bauer, Executive Director, The Clark Foundation, Senior Vice President, The Clark Estates, Inc.

Elizabeth Greenstein, Director of External Affairs, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Bob Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Irwin Redlener, National Center for Disaster Preparedness

Nina Stack, President, Council of New Jersey Grantmakers


Human Services Council (HSC) received a $15,000 grant to support its forum, Sandy One Year Later: Assessing Community Recovery and Anticipating Another. HSC connected leaders of the nonprofit, public, and philanthropic sectors and discussed recent survey findings about the nonprofit human services sector’s response to Superstorm Sandy, continuing recovery efforts, and approaches to preparing for the next disaster.

The Brooklyn Community Foundation received a $45,000 grant to develop a planning tool to assess needs and conditions at the neighborhood level; create a series of neighborhood maps that illustrate the recovery progress; train community partners how to use data for long-term planning purposes; and support civic dialogue on community recovery and planning.

The Community Foundation of New Jersey received a $75,000 grant to fund a collaborative project among Creative New Jersey, WHYY, and Citizens Campaign. The three organizations provided training and tools to support community organizing efforts to respond to disasters. WHYY’s NewsWorks hosted community dialogue. Creative New Jersey brought its community organizing expertise to the effort, and Citizens Campaign empowered citizens by helping them understand and navigate local and state governments to enable effective participation in decision-making that impacts their communities.

Council of New Jersey Grantmakers used its $25,000 grant to create an innovative Philanthropy Playbook  to help funders consider best practices and the most effective strategies for disaster giving.

The Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University used the $48,000 award to write a trade book designed to advance knowledge about Superstorm Sandy, climate change, and the future of cities to inform recovery efforts and strengthen community resilience.

Make the Road New York invested its $50,000 gift in expanding work with Hispanic populations in Staten Island. The grant helped them identify urgent needs and connected families for immediate help; provided legal services; helped train community members and placed them in jobs; and made the voices and interests of the community heard as important decisions were made about the recovery effort across the affected area.

New Jersey Future used its $25,000 grant to build Sandy-affected towns’ capacity to manage recovery issues while taking the longer-term view and planning to become more sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change. Specifically, it created a network of local recovery planning managers for three significantly impacted municipalities, who focused on medium- and long-term community needs.

The Puerto Rican Association for Human Development received $26,600 to extend the reach of its Hurricane Sandy Victim Outreach Initiative to immigrant populations. The group supported 124 people through food vouchers, Wal-Mart gift cards, and access to case management, homelessness prevention, rental assistance, career development, housing counseling, senior services, and energy assistance.

Turnaround for Children, Inc., received $65,000 to partner with 10 New York City schools to provide specific interventions designed to mitigate the effects of stress and trauma exacerbated by Sandy.

Foundation Center used $20,000 to implement a research project and produce a report on how the philanthropic community responded to Sandy and how dollars were allocated across geographic areas, target populations, and topical areas.