Guest Post: Disaster funding economic recovery

Guest Post: Disaster funding economic recovery

Posted on August 31, 2012 by Guest Blogger

Editor's Note: Veronica Taylor is a consultant specializing in disaster preparedness, response and recovery. She previously worked with The Patterson Foundation to help deepen its understanding of the disaster space. As a guest blogger, she will cover issues relevant to the disaster sector. 

This is the second in a series of blogs recommending areas to leverage resources for the most impact and dollar-for-dollar return on investment. I will also suggest a few non-profits working in that area. I do not endorse, nor do I work for any of these organizations. There are thousands of non-profits engaged in disaster work, so in no way can these lists be inclusive.

These suggestions focus primarily on national disasters, although additional recommendations can be made for international disasters. Please feel free to recommend additional non-profits working in specific areas of disaster.

Economic Recovery

The ability of a local economy to rebound after a disaster dictates the success of the community’s long-term recovery. According to Charlie Howell of the Volusia County Business Recovery Center, 80 percent of businesses that don’t recover within 10 days of a disaster event won’t ever recover. Small businesses have the most difficulty in recovering from a disaster, and 94 percent of the businesses in Sarasota County have less than 10 employees. This is a significant economic risk.

On the other hand, large retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Publix, and others make great disaster communication outlets – to their employees, their customers, and their families and friends. One large retailer can reach thousands of people pre and post disaster.

An often-missed opportunity in post-disaster economic recovery is the flow of immediate response funds to other communities and states for services and goods that could be repurposed locally. For example, rather than rushing to the next state to pay for rental trucks and bags of ice, communities can re-assign the fleets of trucks that are temporarily unable to be dispatched for their normal business. Often, these expenses can be reimbursed by FEMA dollars. In order to do this, though, there has to be pre-disaster collaboration and asset mapping.

This type of creative thinking is the next wave of innovative disaster resilience planning. Business Emergency Operations Centers are being developed physically or virtually in communities prone to disaster and they become the lifeline of support for economic recovery.

Do you have an EOC in your area?  What have you heard about EOC?  Jump onto the blog wagon or email me at

Potential partnerships:  Local Chamber(s) of Commerce and Economic Development Board.  Risk Institute,

Links of interest: 

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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