Thousands of people have been forced from their homes by an unprecedented deluge of rain that came with Hurricane Harvey.

...Survivors in Harvey’s path across Texas and other Gulf states should have the nation’s attention right now. And to fully meet their needs—now and in the future—we need a bold, new approach to disaster philanthropy.

A new white paper from GlobalGiving and The Conference Board, “The Future of Disaster Philanthropy,” outlines key challenges and opportunities for the private sector in the face of climate change. Here are three ways your company can help Hurricane Harvey survivors and help prevent another major disaster:

1. Invest in risk reduction, too. Proactive strategies such as disaster-resilient infrastructure, early warning systems and risk mapping could save lives and livelihoods. Yet, across sectors, there is relatively little attention paid to these critical activities, which leaves the most vulnerable communities—including low-income families, senior citizens and women—without recourse when disaster inevitably strikes.

2. Foster locally driven solutions. Investing in local capacity is now widely considered one of the best ways to bolster a community’s resilience against future disasters.

3. Include your employees in disaster decision-making. Eli Lilly and company foundation and other cutting-edge foundations and companies are relying more and more on the wisdom of the crowd—in this case employees with extensive knowledge about the locations where they live and work—to make decisions about what locally driven disaster-related projects to support. This strategy creates a larger nexus of informed decision-makers in the difficult and dark hours that follow a natural disaster. It inoculates companies against risk, of course. But it also creates more resilient communities and saves lives. And that’s what matters most.

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