The COVID-19 pandemic has filled our newsfeeds, our schools, our politics and our living rooms for two years. Our collective attention has been almost singularly focused on the pandemic and its global effects. For the next 700 words, I invite you to remember the disaster events that occurred in 2019, just months before the pandemic outbreak.

In our eighth annual research report, Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2021: Data to Drive Decisions, developed in partnership with Candid, we dive into how philanthropy and other donors supported natural hazards and severe weather events and complex humanitarian emergencies in 2019.

In 2019, millions of people around the world were affected by disasters and humanitarian crises. Hurricane Dorian caused catastrophic damage in the Bahamas and parts of the eastern United States. Wildfires plagued the Amazon, California and Australia. Cyclone Idai struck Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, causing widespread flood destruction. The Rohingya crisis continued unabated, increasing the number of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced people in Bangladesh and surrounding countries. These were just a few of the dozens of disasters that hit communities across the globe during the year.

Based on the latest available data, this 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 2019. Although data from institutional philanthropy is still incomplete, there is enough information to indicate a considerable decline from $76 billion in collective funding in 2018.

Some of our key findings include:

  • Foundations and public charities funded $352 million for disasters and humanitarian crises.
  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) provided $22 billion in official development assistance. Non-DAC government donors and multilateral organizations contributed an additional $2.8 billion.
  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) distributed $3.2 billion for U.S. disasters; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated $1 billion in recovery efforts in 2019 for disasters that took place in 2017; and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) invested approximately $381.7 million in disaster-related projects.
  • 55% of funding from institutional philanthropy was directed to natural hazards and severe weather; 41% was designated for general disasters; 4% was directed to complex humanitarian emergencies; and less than 1% was designated for human-made accidents.

Read the full article about disaster philanthropy findings by Regine Webster at The Center for Disaster Philanthropy.