According to the Council on Foundations, private foundations, corporations, and public charities can have great flexibility in their response to a "qualified disaster", which is defined as: a disaster that results from

  • a terrorist or military action
  • a presidentially declared disaster
  • a disaster resulting from an accident involving a common carrier
  • a disaster caused by any other event determined by the secretary of the treasury to be of a catastrophic nature

Because no place is immune from natural disasters, click on this video to learn how to strategically position your nonprofit organization to fundraise ahead of and after an event to help communities rebuild, recover, and restore hope.

Organizations that want to make grants for disaster relief should consult legal counsel to review their particular approach. Some websites provide general information about disaster grantmaking.

To learn more about how nonprofits are responding to disasters worldwide, download Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2018, a report by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Foundation Center. Explore the data on disaster philanthropy here.

To learn more about how individuals respond to disasters, read U.S. Household Disaster Giving in 2017 and 2018. The report was prepared by the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Candid and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Please visit Candid's Improve your foundation page for useful tools and resources exclusively for grantmakers.




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