Photo: Disaster Resiliency in DeSoto County

An Evolving Approach to Disaster Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency

Posted on September 15, 2023 by The Patterson Foundation
Learning through our distinct initiatives, along with our own experiences as citizens of the world, informs The Patterson Foundation’s approach to philanthropy while uncovering opportunities to evolve our work.

This is perhaps no more evident than through our focus on helping navigate the complexities of a disaster, regardless of the form it takes. Across disasters unfolding in our home region and beyond, The Patterson Foundation has sought opportunities to learn from and share with experts in helping people, organizations, and communities cope, adapt, and innovate through the aftermath.

Created in 2022, the Higher Waters: Suncoast Quality of Life initiative aspired to explore and understand how the rising levels of our gulf, bays, rivers, and inland waters could significantly alter our coastlines and landscapes and, in turn, our overall well-being. The Patterson Foundation conducted dozens of interviews with experts heading up efforts assessing the effects of rising water levels on our quality of life over the next year and a half. After compiling the findings and learnings acquired along the way, Higher Waters created an online platform of science-based, easily accessible resources to help leaders from multiple sectors and engaged citizens strengthen their knowledge of this phenomenon and inform actions to address it.

Hurricane Ian’s southwest Florida landfall in September 2022 affirmed The Patterson Foundation’s focus on learning and strengthening our region’s disaster preparedness and recovery outlook. The large-scale destruction, damage, and impact also highlighted how threats beyond rising water levels can impact our quality of life. These revelations, combined with the approach honed through our previous efforts, created the opportunity to evolve our focus beyond Higher Waters and toward broader community preparedness.

Our new initiative, Community Preparedness, Recovery, and Resiliency (or CPR-R for short), is the result of this evolution. Through this initiative, The Patterson Foundation will connect and collaborate with communities to strengthen three distinct areas in terms of disasters:
  • Preparedness: The process of planning, organizing, and equipping people, organizations, and communities to better respond and cope with the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
  • Recovery: The process of resuming normal operations, beginning with stabilizing the incident and ending when the community has recovered from the disaster’s impacts. Effective recovery includes communication, coordination, collaboration, cooperation, and adaptation.
  • Resiliency: The ability of individuals, organizations, and communities to organize themselves in innovative ways to learn from past disasters and reduce their risks to future ones. It includes the ability to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from disasters and stressors in a manner that reduces chronic vulnerability and facilitates inclusive growth.
In the initial discovery phase of CPR-R, The Patterson Foundation will focus on connecting throughout our four-county region of Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties to identify existing disaster preparedness, recovery, and resiliency resources. Simultaneously, the CPR-R team will reach out beyond the Suncoast to identify programs and efforts that can be replicated in our region while creating space for others to collaborate. Together, these efforts will help prepare people, organizations, and communities to recover from disaster with resilience.

Learn more about these efforts and follow the journey forward by visiting the CPR-R initiative page.

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