Guest Post: Disaster funding in health and social services

Guest Post: Disaster funding in health and social services

Posted on August 24, 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. 

In an earlier blog, I discussed philanthropy’s role in disaster funding and the need for collaborating with good partners. The next few blogs will recommend 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.

Health and Social Services

A community’s level of social vulnerability and the extent to which health and social services are effectively provided will determine the success of long-term community recovery. People at all income levels are affected by disaster and benefit from immediate disaster relief, but vulnerable populations such as the elderly, people with disabilities, low income residents, and children make long-term recovery even more difficult.

There are already gaps and unmet needs in the daily social/human services delivery system. In a disaster situation with massive losses, the unmet needs increase exponentially.  To accommodate for this increase, communities need to be prepared to increase capacity while altering services to meet the change in need.

This preparation is an excellent example of leveraging dollars for community impact. Dollars spent wisely today to provide improved systems with extra capacity and flexibility, to improve cross-organizational communication, case management, and sharing of resources, and to develop multi-purpose facilities with disaster resistant materials, not only improves the quality of life for the community today, but also mitigates the risk to the community in a disaster.

Wherever we put our philanthropic dollars, whoever we partner with, we should leverage our investment by asking about the organizations disaster preparedness.

Potential partnerships for philanthropists? Local Health and Social Services agencies have the greatest knowledge of their communities and its vulnerable populations. Look there first. Other sources include Boys and Girls Club, Save the Children, Gleaning for the World, etc.

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


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