Disaster Giving Report Shows Foundations and Public Charities Funded Nearly $200 Million in 2016

New report includes trends in funding for disasters and humanitarian crises over five years

New York — Nov. 8, 2018 Foundation Center and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) announce the fifth edition of their annual research report, Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2018: Data to Drive Decisions. The report draws from 12 data sources, including first-time analysis of contributions by non-U.S. donors, public charities, and smaller U.S. foundations. In total, the new report documents $30 billion in private, public, corporate, and individual disaster-related giving to address major disasters and humanitarian crises that affected millions globally in 2016.

Key findings for 2016 philanthropic funding reveal:

  • Almost $200 million in funding by global foundations and public charities for disasters and humanitarian crises.
  • Natural disasters accounted for 44 percent of disaster funding.
  • Man-made accidents received 15 percent of disaster funding, with several large grants addressing the Flint, Michigan water crisis.
  • Among disaster assistance strategies, more than 40 percent of dollars were for response and relief; 17 percent went toward reconstruction and recovery—more than half of this was related to the Flint water crisis.

This year’s report also includes a first-ever five-year trends analysis of disaster-related giving by 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations, which demonstrates that:

  • Funding tends to be episodic and dependent upon the crisis: Funding spiked in 2014 due to large grants for the Ebola outbreak, then declined over the next two years. In 2015, foundations increased funding for complex humanitarian emergencies in response to the Syrian war and the refugee crisis.
  • Natural disasters (59 percent on average) was the largest focus for disaster funders.
  • Response and relief efforts were the most funded assistance strategy across all years, averaging 47 percent of all disaster funding.

“Although this year’s report includes additional data from non-U.S. donors, smaller U.S. foundations and public charities, the giving patterns are similar to their larger counterparts in the use of gifts for natural disasters and complex humanitarian crises,” said Robert G. Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. “This is particularly relevant given what we’ve seen in the 2018 hurricane season—a seemingly briefer focus on giving even amid ever-worsening storms, signaling a greater need to support efforts at planning, preparation, and building stronger, more resilient communities.”

Ottenhoff and Foundation Center Vice President for Knowledge Services Lawrence T. McGill will discuss key findings of the report Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at 2:00 pm ET/ 1:00 pm CT during a free webinar, “Measuring the State of Philanthropy 2018.” In addition, they will demonstrate the free data dashboard and mapping platform, available at disasterphilanthropy.foundationcenter.org. Disaster funders will also share their insights. Donors, foundations, corporations, journalists, NGOs, and government agencies are encouraged to join the discussion on how to use data to drive informed and strategic disaster-related giving worldwide.

New in 2018 will be “Tutorial Tuesdays,” a series of YouTube videos offering strategies for using the report’s tools to make better data-informed disaster giving decisions.

This project was made possible by a generous gift from the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, with additional funding from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

About Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants—a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center’s website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 450 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org, call (212) 620-4230, or tweet us at @fdncenter.

About Center for Disaster Philanthropy
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s mission is to transform disaster giving by providing timely and thoughtful strategies to increase donors’ impact during domestic and international disasters. With an emphasis on recovery and disaster risk reduction, CDP strives to increase the effectiveness of disaster philanthropy by focusing attention on the full life cycle of disasters, from preparedness and planning, to rebuilding and mitigation efforts. For more, please visit: disasterphilanthropy.org, call (202) 595-1026 or tweet us @funds4disaster.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy mobilizes philanthropy to strengthen communities’ ability to withstand disasters and recover equitably when they occur. It provides expert advice and resources while managing domestic and international disaster funds on behalf of corporations, foundations and individuals through targeted, holistic and localized grantmaking. Find out more at disasterphilanthropy.org and on Twitter @funds4disaster.