Nature is at once powerfully beautiful and destructive.
August’s awe-inspiring solar eclipse brought us together regardless of our stations in life. However different in heritage, race, politics, wealth, interests, or beliefs, we all share our planet.
In contrast to our awe at the solar eclipse, those outside Harvey’s and Irma’s cones of destruction have, from the comfort of our homes, borne witness to unbearable conditions ranging from loss of property to loss of life. As these storms deliver unimaginable destruction with wind and water, many westerners are facing forest fires that likewise consume all in their paths.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by disasters, and we send our admiration to first responders, women and men of the National Guard, and others risking their own safety to help.
As philanthropists, many of us are in a position to offer assistance, and we should. From prior disasters like these, we know disaster recovery is not a short-term endeavor. Many will face a long road ahead.
Like any smart grantmaking, we should be thoughtful and informed in our response to disasters. As fellow Exponent Philanthropy member Lori Bertman, founding board chair of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, said when we spoke this weekend:
“The impacts and magnitude of [Hurricane Irma] have yet to unfold and be determined. My fellow Exponent Philanthropy members and indeed all smart funders should stand by and wait for the most accurate information before investing in what promises to be a wide-ranging and long-term recovery.”
I urge you to listen to the recording of last week’s webinar with Lori and others. You’ll hear advice on disaster response and recovery that applies to many events. We also encourage our members to share information, lessons, and questions with others via our online Discussion Communities.
As always, we are here to help you in your efforts to respond to disaster. Collectively, I’m certain we stand together to help those in need both in the short term and for many years to come.
Henry Berman became Exponent Philanthropy’s CEO in 2011, previously serving as acting CEO, board member, and committee member. Through his experience as a foundation co-trustee and Exponent Philanthropy member since 2003, he brings a firsthand understanding of the needs of members to his role.