Hurricane Harvey Recovery So Far

In 2017 natural disasters, including Hurricane Harvey, shook America and did billions of dollars worth of damage. As we come upon 2018’s hurricane season, it is time for funders to take a step back and evaluate the work that has been done, and what is left to do.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy and The Simmons Foundation put together a 10-part webinar series to share information about the ongoing Hurricane Harvey recovery process. Each webinar focused on an aspect of the recovery and together they represent a significant amount of the work that has been completed and is still underway. Funders can use these webinars, notes, and other resources to see how money has been used and what remains to be done, as well as gain insights into how future disaster recovery efforts can be improved.

Experts from a variety of fields offered their input including from FEMA, Philanthropy Southwest, Texas A&M University, Environmental Grantmakers Association, and the NAACP. Funders who are involved in or who are looking to become involved in disaster philanthropy can use these webinars to get a sense of the scope and scale of recovery work including housing, education, mental health, business, the environment, social justice, and more.

What's Next for Harvey Recovery?

A key tenant of impact for disaster recovery is long-term strategy. Less than 1 year out we are still early in the recovery process from Hurricane Harvey. While the initial outpouring of donations was necessary and appreciated, the victims of Harvey will need multi-faceted support for many years to come. Donors who have not yet entered into Harvey recovery or who feel their work is not done can use these webinars to direct their giving for the coming years.

Beyond Harvey

2017’s disaster season threw into sharp relief the need to adequately prepare for know disaster risks like hurricanes. Investing in prevention measures saves money and, more importantly, lives and livelihoods. Funders who want to be involved in disaster philanthropy should read the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s direction for how funders can prepare for 2018 hurricane season.

Funders angling to make an impact should do their best to educate themselves about natural disaster preparedness and recovery. Upfront and long-term investments are the gaps that need to be filled, as natural disasters often produce a spurt of short-term funding. Local organizations are usually in the best position to help their community, but often they suffer their own losses in a major disaster. Make sure that you are helping these organizations with their own recovery, and not leaving them to work without essentials.