Disaster Giving Report Shows Foundations and Public Charities Funded Nearly $504 Million in 2017

Data shows significant increase from 2016 funding in response to costliest year of U.S. natural disasters

New York, Nov. 7, 2019  Candid and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) announce the sixth edition of their annual research report, Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2019: Data to Drive Decisions. The report draws from 12 data sources and documents $45 billion in private, public, corporate, and individual disaster-related giving to address major global disasters and humanitarian crises in 2017. In the United States, 2017 was the costliest year of natural disasters on record, with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and wildfires in California. Global disasters included two large earthquakes in Mexico, famines in Africa, and civil unrest in Syria and Yemen.

Key findings for 2017 funding reveal:

  • $504 million in funding by foundations and public charities for disasters and humanitarian crises.
  • Natural disasters accounted for 65 percent of disaster funding.
  • Among disaster assistance strategies, 64 percent of dollars were for response and relief; 17 percent went toward reconstruction and recovery; and only 2 percent each went to resilience and preparedness efforts.
  • Disaster-related funding doubled from 2016, based on a year-over-year analysis of grantmaking by 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) distributed $15.6 billion for U.S. disasters in 2017, an $11.9 billion increase from 2016.
  • Based on available data, corporate giving programs committed at least $275.4 million to disasters and humanitarian crises in both cash and in-kind donations.

“The data confirms that philanthropy responded generously in a year of devastating disasters in the U.S. It also highlights funding gaps and opportunities for donors to give more strategically in areas—like disaster preparedness and long-term recovery—that are typically underfunded,” said Grace Sato, director of global projects & partnerships at Candid.

“While it is gratifying to note the significant funding in response to the major disasters that marked 2017, we know that two years later, communities impacted are still working hard to recover. Thus, it is concerning that funding for recovery has seen no change over the previous year,” said Robert G. Ottenhoff, president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. “The increasing intensity of weather-related disasters demonstrates the impact of our changing climate and the need to support efforts to build stronger, more resilient communities.”

Ottenhoff will moderate a discussion with Supriya Kumar, research manager, global projects & partnerships, at Candid, on key findings of the report on Thursday, November 14, at 2:00 p.m. ET/ 1:00 p.m. CT during a free webinar, “Measuring the State of Philanthropy 2019.” Sasha Cox, Director of Disaster Recovery at Attack Poverty (a CDP Hurricane Harvey grantee organization) will share her insights on the impact of the philanthropic response on recovery efforts and progress to date. Donors, foundations, corporations, journalists, NGOs, and government agencies are encouraged to join this discussion on how to use data to drive informed and strategic disaster-related giving worldwide.

The report, along with the free data dashboard and mapping platform, are available at disasterphilanthropy.candid.org. This project was made possible by generous gifts from the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the UPS Foundation.

About Candid
Every year, millions of nonprofits spend trillions of dollars around the world. Candid finds out where that money comes from, where it goes, and why it matters. Through research, collaboration, and training, Candid connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. Candid’s data tools on nonprofits, foundations, and grants are the most comprehensive in the world. Foundation Center and GuideStar joined forces to become Candid, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Find out more at candid.org and on Twitter @CandidDotOrg.

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 leverages the power of philanthropy to mobilize a full range of resources that 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 @funds4disaster.