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Our government's flawed response to Hurricane Katrina reflected a profound abandonment of the American values of opportunity -- equal treatment, economic security and mobility, a voice in decisions that affect us, shared responsibility for each other, and a chance to start over after misfortune or missteps. The recovery process has similarly failed to uphold those values, in ways that reflect larger problems of unequal opportunity in our country.
Private and community foundations awarded an additional $125 million in grant support for recovery and rebuilding efforts from January 2007 to mid-2009, according to Giving in the Aftermath of the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Profile of the Ongoing Foundation and Corporate Response (2007-2009). Economic and community development captured the largest dollar share, a shift from giving for human services in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
The Foundation Center's first report benchmarking the level of engagement of U.S. foundations in policy-related activities reflects an increase in grantmaker support for research, public education, and resources to policymakers in recent years. Key Facts on Foundations' Public Policy-related Activities finds that one-quarter of the more than 1,300 foundations that responded to a survey either fund or are engaged in such activities, with larger foundations far more likely to participate than smaller ones. In fact, more than half of those who engage in public policy-related activities increased their levels of support over the last five years.
Greater New Orleans Education Foundation;
With support from the Ford Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Education Foundation (GNOEF) participated in Public Education Network's Gulf States Initiative, which was designed to enlarge the role of the public in school improvement in the Gulf States region. Public Education Network (PEN) is a network of local education funds (LEFs) across the nation. In PEN's view, "public responsibility" will not emerge from conventional, smaller scale efforts to involve parents more closely with their children's schools or to inform the community about a superintendent's program. Instead, PEN initiatives take as their premise that in a democracy, public schools can only improve in a sustainable way if a broad-based coalition of community members pushes them to improve and holds them accountable. The Gulf States Initiative charged six LEFs, including GNOEF, with moving their communities toward different and more substantial forms of responsibility for their schools.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation;
Describes the foundation's early decision-making, immediate response, and long-term commitment to rebuilding in the hurricane-affected areas. Highlights staff and grantee activities, as well as lessons learned about the grantmaking process and strategy.
Mississippi State University Early Childhood Institute;
Outlines a plan for implementing early childhood services data sharing, a first response protocol, displaced children referrals, child care sector restoration planning, and advanced emergency child care provider preparedness training.
Mississippi State University Early Childhood Institute;
Provides details of the administrative, technical, and financial assistance delivered with the Rebuilding After Katrina initiative to reopen and sustain child care facilities and programs in twenty-six Gulf Coast communities in the first year of recovery.
Highlights the need to mitigate climate change-related risks to coastlines. Calls for better science, strengthened ecosystems, risk-based land use planning, viable insurance markets, and adaptable standards for infrastructure, building, and investment.
Save the Children;
In response to concerted advocacy by Save the Children and many child advocacy groups, President George W. Bush and Congress created the National Commission on Children and Disasters to assess the gaps in federal planning that put children at risk, and to formulate recommendations that could guide a national movement to close those gaps and help states better protect our children. The commission's comprehensive assessment found that "children were more often an afterthought than a priority" across 11 functional areas of U.S. disaster planning. In 2010, the commission issued its final report, with 81 recommendations and sub-recommendations aimed at ensuring children's unique needs are accounted for in U.S. disaster preparedness, response and recovery. Now, 10 years after Hurricane Katrina, Save the Children has commissioned research to determine progress made on these recommendations. While the federal government has made progress in addressing the commission's recommendations, our research indicates that nearly four in five of the recommendations have not been fully met.
Per the Foundation's policy, the Foundation does not provide disaster relief. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita created an unprecedented scenario that caused the Foundation to make an exception. Following these natural disasters, the Foundation put aside its usual grantmaking process and provided expedited support to help rebuild affordable housing and assist community development efforts in the affected region. It started this process by first reaching out to organizations with which the Foundation had a pre-existing relationship and approved all of their requested support within months of the hurricanes. Overall, the Foundation supported a total of eight organizations by making one-time grants and Program-Related Investments (PRIs) that totaled $4,875,000 and by providing $1,708,500 in interest and principal forgiveness for existing PRIs.In 2012, the Foundation commissioned an evaluation of this 2005 hurricane-related funding. Our charge to the evaluation team was twofold:Assess the outcomes and impact of our grants and PRIs.Identify any important lessons from this one-time response for future occasions when the Foundation might make an exception to its policy and provide disaster-related support.
Provides a comprehensive record of the resources that institutional donors provided in response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Includes an analysis of interviews with ten of the top twenty-five independent foundations that responded to the disaster.