Foundation Center and Center for Disaster Philanthropy 
Release New Research Tracking How Foundation Funding Flows to Disasters

New York, NY, and Washington, DC -- December 11, 2014. Today Foundation Center, the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP), the only full-time resource devoted to disaster philanthropy, released a new report to help donors, NGOs, government agencies, and media gain an increased understanding of how much foundation funding is spent on disasters each year, by whom, and for what activities. Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2014: Data to Drive Decisions presents an analysis of funding for disasters by the largest U.S. foundations. It finds that, in 2012, 234 foundations made 884 grants totaling $111 million for disasters.

"The research released today establishes critical baseline data about foundation funding for disasters and helps fill a gap in knowledge that historically has been incomplete and difficult to access," said Robert G. Ottenhoff, president and CEO of CDP. "This new report and CDP's partnership with Foundation Center represent important steps towards capturing a more complete picture of the funding landscape."

According to the research findings, the majority of disaster grantmaking in 2012 was for natural disasters ($64.9 million), and almost half of all disaster funding was directed to response and relief efforts ($51.5 million). The report also examines the philanthropic response to earlier disasters, explores the media landscape, and anticipates what it will take to improve coordination and collaboration for more effective disaster-related giving. Three case studies in the report take a closer look at foundations that have made substantial investments in disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery.

"It's encouraging to see foundations demonstrate innovation and commitment in going beyond emergency response to address the full life cycle of disasters," said Lawrence T. McGill, vice president for research at Foundation Center and one of the report's authors.

During a special webinar slated for Tuesday, December 16, donors, NGOs, government agencies, the media, and others interested can hear directly from the researchers and ask questions about the findings from Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2014: Data to Drive Decisions. Register online.

The research report is part of a broader effort to track philanthropic funding flows to disasters, cultivate an online data gathering network, and equip the field with strategic resources for improving disaster preparedness, response, and resilience. A searchable online platform launching in late 2015 will make this information accessible, facilitate even more peer-to-peer learning, and provide an opportunity for additional funders to contribute to this collective body of knowledge.

"The data network and resulting website can help shift how organizations understand, prepare for, and respond to disasters," said Bradford K. Smith, president of Foundation Center. "Our goal is to empower donors to make more effective giving decisions related to disasters and ultimately improve the practice of philanthropy through better coordination and transparency."

This project was made possible by a generous gift from The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation. An expert advisory committee comprised of foundations, humanitarian organizations, and philanthropic support organizations is also providing ongoing guidance and insight for the project.

Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2014: Data to Drive Decisions can be downloaded for free at Foundation Center's website or at the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's website.


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About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956, Foundation Center is the leading source of information about philanthropy worldwide. Through data, analysis, and training, it connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to succeed. Foundation Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants -- a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit Foundation Center's website each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 470 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions nationwide and around the world. For more information, please visit or call (212) 620-4230.

About Center for Disaster Philanthropy
Disaster philanthropy has become an all-too-necessary practice in recent years. Yet donors still are challenged to determine how, when, and to whom to give to have the greatest impact. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy helps individual, family, corporate, and institutional donors answer the question, "How can I help?" more easily and quickly in the wake of a disaster. The Center provides a platform of learning and connection with leading disaster experts and other disaster philanthropists that brings more private money to disaster response efforts. The organization was named one of five "nonprofit highpoints of 2012" by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. For more information, please visit

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