1. Relational Decision-Making + Data
Our approach to the “when, where and how” decisions of our work is relational and data-driven. Our starting point is a needs assessment that involves analyzing indicators about pre-existing community vulnerability, post-disaster impacts and recovery capacity or assets. It helps us identify low-attention, under-resourced, disaster-affected communities and begin to pinpoint and prioritize their post-disaster challenges.

2. Recovery Resources: Funding
The Early Recovery Fund fills a persistent gap in post-disaster funding, especially at the local level where, too often, communities struggle with identifying sufficient resources to address the unmet needs of those most vulnerable to the impact of disasters because of systemic inequities. Through grantmaking, we build local capacity to provide early to long-term disaster recovery services, meet the needs of those disproportionately affected and promote solutions that lead to equitable, holistic community recovery.

3. Recovery Resources: Technical Assistance
The Midwest Early Recovery Fund team provides technical assistance for communities and other funders and stakeholders.

We have identified five key challenges faced by communities affected by low attention disasters. During the first few months post-disaster, communities often struggle to:

  • Identify and develop sufficient resources to meet the needs of those affected by the disaster.
  • Develop robust long-term recovery plans without additional support from national, regional or state disaster organizations and other partners.
  • Coordinate client information and resources from multiple agencies.
  • Identify affected vulnerable populations and develop appropriate resources.
  • Meet the unique needs of children post-disaster.

In many ways, we see our role as taking a very complicated system of disaster recovery and translating it into language and action so that communities and stakeholders can understand the “do” and take another step forward towards recovery.

4. Connect and Advocate
In the Midwest, communities affected by low-attention disasters consistently need more funding and resources. Our approach is to “come with a team.” We work with partners to identify gaps, draw on CDP resources and colleagues’ expertise and broaden the broad connections.

We draw attention to these places, resource needs and disparities and pursue conversations about rural access to resources, chronic housing issues and historical inequities. Some of these groups include Black, Indigenous and communities of color, children, veterans, those living in poverty, people with physical and mental health disabilities, and the elderly.

Read the full article about low-attention disasters by Cari Cullen at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.