California’s New Roadmap to Tackle Uptick in Disaster


Opportunities for leveraging all sectors to advance community-wide resiliency


Philanthropy California becomes first partner to implement a report strategy aiming to boost alignment, coordination of funders


Sacramento – Six strategies stand to amplify whole community emergency preparedness and improve coordination of community assets for disaster response and recovery, describes a report released today by California Volunteers, Office of the Governor.

In response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call to build community resiliency and ready the state for earthquake, wildfire, drought and flood, the report developed in collaboration with Monitor Institute by Deloitte presents solutions to leverage nonprofit, community-based, faith-based, and private-sector resources while working with the public sector. A roadmap (page 13) offers investment strategies to effectively channel private-sector resources, spur cross-sector coordination and bolster the capacity of local communities to strengthen resilience.

“Gone are the days when we let a single “blue sky day” slip away because the next earthquake, wildfire and other natural disaster is right around the corner,” said Gov. Newsom. “An effective emergency response and preparedness system must integrate all parts of the community. Adopting smart approaches now will boost resiliency and ready communities, especially our vulnerable populations.”

Building upon public-sector investments like the $50 million California For All Emergency Preparedness Campaign that advances a people-centered approach to promote readiness among diverse and socially vulnerable populations, the report identifies gaps before, during and after disaster and shows that with a rise in number and scale of disaster (page 5) there is an increasing need for cross-sector response and recovery solutions.

Six strategies to address gaps within preparedness, response and recovery

The research found that most communities don’t fully understand local resources or effectively involve nonprofits, faith and community-based organizations and the private sector (pages 10-11). Specifically, individuals and organizations are frequently unprepared for disaster, insufficient local-level coordination leads to wasted resources, unplanned donations and volunteer actions get in the way of emergency response and critical community needs aren’t always addressed.

“When disaster happens all Californians want to respond. It’s our nature of giving, but it also presents challenges,” said California Chief Service Officer Karen Baker. “With so many different sectors and organizations that have their own interests, priorities and circumstances, our report offers opportunities to address major gaps and align, connect and maximize the many sectors and entities that stand ready to act before, during and after a disaster.”

The six strategies include:

1. Develop disaster wise funders 
California-based funders could lead the country in fostering whole community disaster preparedness, response, and recovery by developing more coordinated and proactive plans and processes for funding. (page 14)

2. Harness committed corporate partners 
Companies knowledgeable about disaster response and recovery could coordinate at the state-level to more effectively and efficiently leverage their resources in support of affected communities. (page 15)

3. Resource county-level coordination bodies 
A broad range of community stakeholders, including those not historically involved in disaster, could become part of local coalitions to prepare and mobilize the whole community. (page 16)

4. Strengthen state coordination role to assist local communities 
Local community capacity during times of disaster could be improved by strengthening the ability of California to coordinate volunteers and donations. (page 17)

5. Nurture community resilience networks 
With sufficient support and coordination, California communities could better leverage local assets, as well as, state and county resources, to prepare for and bounce back after disaster. (page 18)

6. Democratize disaster learning resilience 
Improve whole community disaster preparedness, response and recovery by boosting the transparency, accessibility, and community engagement around open information from prior disasters. (page 19)

“Natural disasters increasingly threaten California’s safety and prosperity, most painfully affecting those who are already struggling economically,” said Don Howard, President and CEO of The James Irvine Foundation, which supported the creation of the roadmap report based on two cross-sector workshops and a review of over 70 FEMA and state planning documents and reports. “Philanthropy is a partner in building resilient communities, including by investing in research, data, and creative solutions for responding to and preventing future disasters.”

“Government is stronger when it works in partnership with all community assets, so this report shines an important light on under tapped resources available to us during a disaster,” said Abby Browning, Office of Private Sector / NGO Coordination at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), who participated in the two workshops.

Philanthropy California to lead efforts in developing disaster wise funders

Stepping up to lead one of the six strategies is Philanthropy California – an alliance of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego Grantmakers – which will join together other funders for a gathering on disaster preparedness and response planning and investing later this year.

“Philanthropy California believes philanthropy has a vital role to play in preventing and reducing the impacts of extreme natural events in our communities, especially marginalized communities that are at the greatest risk of harm before, during, and after a disaster,” said Alan H. Kwok, PhD, Director of Disaster Resilience at Northern California Grantmakers. “Our efforts with the State of California will align our collective strategies and resources to bring about a more resilient state.”

The summit aims to bring together statewide funders in order to clarify the variety of roles funders could play, develop equitable disaster response and recovery grantmaking strategies, and discuss how to integrate disaster preparedness requirements into all community-based grants and provide adequate funding to enact these approaches with local partners.

“We are thankful to partners like The James Irvine Foundation and Philanthropy California for bridging the gap with government to foster resilience in our communities and targeting resources to support diverse and vulnerable communities often missing from preparedness and response conversations and planning efforts,” added Baker.

Many report insights were based on the expertise and experience of the California Volunteers team. The office is charged with promoting volunteering and administering AmeriCorps funds, as well as, coordinating volunteer needs and monetary donations in times of disaster with the most recent being the response to both Ridgecrest Earthquakes earlier this month.

Original release: California Volunteers > 

July 15, 2019

Contact: Justin Knighten
(916) 323-4982


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