December 2021 tornadoes: How to support long-term recovery

2 p.m. ET/ 1 p.m. CT

On Dec. 10-11, tornadoes hit several states in one of the worst tornado outbreaks in recent years. The current death toll of 88 people (as of Dec. 16) makes 2021 the deadliest year on record for tornadoes since 2011.

CDP hosted a webinar to explore how funders can think about medium- and long-term recovery amid planning for immediate response. Recovery, which is the process of improving structures, systems and services while also addressing sources of inequitable and unjust outcomes for survivors and their communities, starts right after a disaster. Yet, the most urgent needs are so front and center that our hearts, minds, and wallets tend to gravitate towards immediate relief efforts. How can funders think about both simultaneously?

Although the webinar focused on Kentucky as the hardest-hit state, we also shared relevant insights into funding affected communities in other states.

CDP Director of Domestic Funds Sally Ray moderated the discussion and panelists included:


  • Tiffany Benjamin, CDP Board Vice Chair and President, Eli Lilly and Company Foundation
  • Jim Garrett, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management
  • John Pyron, Program Director, Lutheran Disaster Response

The majority of tornado-hit communities are in rural areas. We also encourage you to watch the “Beyond the headlines: Funding disasters in rural areas” webinar for a deep dive into the unique issues faced by rural communities to help plan your response to the December 2021 tornadoes.

This webinar was co-sponsored by Charity Navigator, Council on Foundations, The Funders Network, Giving Compass, National VOAD, Philanthropy New YorkPhilanthropy Southeast and United Philanthropy Forum.

Please see the slide deck and watch the webinar recording to learn more:

Photo: Army Guardsmen with the 301st Chemical Battalion and Air Guardsmen with the 123rd Airlift Wing conduct search and rescue missions in Mayfield, Kentucky on Dec. 12, 2021. (Source: Kentucky National Guard via Facebook)