Disaster funding reported for 2011

NCCF activated grant cycles from our statewide Disaster Relief Fund twice in 2011:

  • On April 18 to support relief efforts related to the April 16 tornadoes and storms that created devastation in more than 20 counties in the central and eastern regions of the state;
  • And on Aug. 29 in response to Hurricane Irene’s devastation in the eastern and coastal counties of North Carolina. 

Metrics at a glance: The Foundation received nearly $172,000 in total donations for the statewide Disaster Relief Fund in 2011. So far $137,144 has been distributed to 17 affiliates, which granted to nonprofit organizations to support victims of the tornadoes and hurricane. Organizations included crisis ministries, food banks and pantries, emergency service providers, youth-serving organizations, churches and local departments of social services. Their organizational assistance included but was not limited to: food, water, gas cards, rental vouchers, utility payments, household furnishings, clothing and emergency medical services and medical supplies.

Remaining funds will be allocated for unmet needs resulting from the April tornadoes or Hurricane Irene -- or will help fund needs after the next disaster, depending on the needs of our communities, said Rod Martin, chair of NCCF’s statewide grants committee.

Roles of NCCF and affiliate partners: The NCCF statewide grants committee is responsible for overseeing and activating the Disaster Relief Fund in the event of a natural or catastrophic disaster. With resources that are raised or remain in the fund, grants committee members decide the specific allocation percentage for NCCF affiliates serving areas with the biggest needs.

Nearly all of the distributions were made through affiliate advisory boards or their grants committees in the areas affected by the two storms, with the exception of donations of $7,500 made to each of the major food banks serving all of the counties impacted by Hurricane Irene.

Sally Migliore, NCCF director of community leadership, said the experience of practically back-to-back disaster relief disbursements highlighted the strengths of the process and also indicated areas that needed refinement in both statewide and affiliate roles. From a statewide grants committee perspective, some of the lessons learned include:

  • We further defined NCCF’s role in addressing needs.  We were careful not to duplicate efforts of more traditional emergency service providers.
  • Our affiliate staff and boards obtain this information from a variety of sources and it can take a great deal of time and effort.
  • Needs can go unmet for several weeks and months. While the urge may be to respond immediately, this is not always prudent. Sometimes, however, it is essential. The approach depends on the needs of the communities, and our philosophy is to be flexible.

The exercise allowed our affiliate partners to:

  • Strengthen relationships with nonprofit organizations in their counties;
  • Raise awareness of nonprofits and other groups that provide services during disasters through publicity that NCCF created and distributed;
  • Use their local knowledge and expertise to meet local needs.

"Our affiliates really embraced their roles as community leaders helping to meet needs of victims through their granting and collaboration with local nonprofits,” Migliore said. “This allowed our affiliate foundation partners to be positioned as a visible resource in their communities in times of high need.”

All in all, the disaster grantmaking processes highlighted the value of the NCCF model, according to Jennifer Tolle Whiteside, CEO and president. “It’s about the statewide organization using our resources to help develop and allocate funds to be distributed by those who live and work in these communities and know where the needs are,” she said.

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