More Than $1 Billion Given for Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery, Report Finds

More Than $1 Billion Given for Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery, Report Finds

U.S. foundations have committed more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind giving for relief, recovery, and rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a new report from the Foundation Center in New York City finds.

The report, Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes (36 pages, PDF), documents the experiences and insights of leading funders and provides a comprehensive record of the resources that institutional donors provided in response to the devastating 2005 storms. "Two years after the Gulf Coast hurricanes, we have a more complete picture of how institutional donors have supported the region," said Steven Lawrence, senior director of research at the center and the report's primary author. "Foundations, corporations, and institutional donors went far beyond their grantmaking guidelines to respond to immediate needs and to provide support for recovery and rebuilding efforts."

According to the report, corporate giving accounted for the majority of cash gifts by institutional donors — $519 million or 57 percent. While corporate giving focused primarily on immediate relief, grants from foundations were directed toward recovery and rebuilding. Grantmakers in Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia, and Louisiana accounted for 21.6 percent of the institutional response to the disaster. Most giving went to intermediary organizations outside of Louisiana and Mississippi, such as the American Red Cross. More than two hundred institutional donors contributed $1 million or more for relief and recovery efforts.

The report also includes an analysis of interviews with ten independent foundations that responded to the disaster. Six of the ten grantmakers reported either having provided more funds than expected at the outset of the disaster or not placing a cap on giving. Despite the tendency of most institutional donors to limit their disaster-response giving to initial relief efforts, the majority of the foundations continue to fund recovery and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast area.

"Nearly all the funders we interviewed expressed a favorable view of the foundation community's response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes," Lawrence said. "Most also cited the scale of damage in the region and the lack of a strong civil sector as reasons for remaining engaged beyond the time frame they may have originally anticipated."

Based on the reported giving and commitments of more than 850 institutional donors through June 2007, the report is part of the Foundation Center's Gulf Coast Hurricane Response project, which was funded in part by the Annie E. Casey, Citigroup, Ford, Robert Wood Johnson, and Starbucks foundations, the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, and the Northrop Grumman Corporation.