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How to Respond to Earthquakes in Mexico and Hurricane Maria

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Over the past several weeks, we have seen two disasters cause unimaginable devastion in Mexico, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the richter scale occurred on Sept. 19 in central Mexico, as the country was still reeling from an 8.1 earthquake on Sept. 8, just off the country’s southern coast. More than 250 people were killed and many buildings were reduced to rubble. Taking a devasting path, Hurricane Maria's full impact is still to be assessed but we do know Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands will need signifcant resources to rebuild much of the islands' infrastructure.

We are compiling a list of responses, news items, resources and programming for philanthropy in response to the destruction being left by both disasters. Please send additional suggestions to

How to Help


International Community Foundation
The earthquake -- the most powerful to hit the country in a century -- was felt as far as Mexico City and Guatemala City, and has caused significant damage and deaths in Oaxaca and Chiapas. ICF is working with local organizations in these regions to cover short term basic needs and longer term reconstruction costs.

Hispanics in Philanthropy Earthquake Relief Fund for Mexico
The funds will go directly to nonprofits working on recovery efforts in Mexico City, Puebla, Morelos, Chiapas, and Oaxaca. HIPGive will not charge an administrative fee for transferring funds.

Mexico Earthquakes
Center for Disaster Philanthropy has put together a profile page with resources, donors and nonprofits serving the effected areas.

Puerto Rico

FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund / Fondo ADELANTE Puerto Rico
The fund, which was created and is managed by the Puerto Rico Funders Network (Red de Fundaciones de Puerto Rico), supports key nonprofit institutions that are working to achieve a better Puerto Rico in the short, medium and long term. Initially, FORWARD Puerto Rico will provide funds for those organizations that are assisting communities affected by the devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria. Subsequently, it will target its support to strengthening these organizations and ensuring their resilience and continued contribution to Puerto Rico. The Fund will also support work on issues of government transparency, inequality, and community economic development. The Funders Network is comprised of longstanding and prestigious Puerto Rican foundations with extensive experience in strategic grantmaking and deep involvement in the nonprofit sector. The Funders Network will administer the Fund without charging administrative costs, and will distribute the funds to nonprofits with a proven track record in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria Community Relief & Recovery Fund
The devastating effects of hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico are still unfolding, but one thing is certain—the island's most vulnerable communities are likely to be pummeled the hardest and face the longest road to recovery. The Fund will be housed at the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD). One hundred percent of monies raised will be used to support immediate relief, recovery, and equitable rebuilding in Puerto Rico for the communities hit hardest by the storm. The Fund is governed by organizations like Puerto Rico-based Taller Salud and other local, grassroots organizations. 

Hurricane Relief Fund For Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Florida
Right now, people in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Florida need our help. HIP created this fund so that our community can support those affected by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Puerto Rico Real-Time Recovery Fund
100% of donations to this fund will go exclusively to long-term relief for the victims of catastrophic Hurricane María in Puerto Rico. This fund has been organized and is managed by the non-profit ConPRmetidos in partnership with Foundation for Puerto Rico, a 501(c)(3) corporation, which is acting as the fiscal sponsor.

Southern HIV Impact Fund
This Fund of Funders Concerned About AIDS and administered by AIDS United incorporates HIV into a broader, integrated movement for social justice and seeks to positively impact the social determinants of health in the region. It has been expanded to address disaster relief in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. 

U.S. Virgin Islands

CARE (Caribbean Assistance and Relief Effort) Fund
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, St. Croix Foundation for Community Development acknowledges the difficulties facing St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix over the coming months. Initially, core support will be directed to addressing the basic needs of individuals and families directly impacted by the storm. And, as the secondary impacts of the storm unfold, we are equally committed to supporting the transition of hundreds of displaced students and families who are currently being (re)settled on St. Croix.


U.S. Caribbean Strong Relief Fund
This Fund of The Miami Foundation will support relief efforts in Caribbean island nations and territories, including Antigua & Barbuda, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Additional Resources

Best Practices in Disaster Grantmaking: Lessons from the Gulf Coast
Philanthropy New York shares disaster grantmaking best pratices and strategies indentified by nonprofits, community foundations, and governmental agencies.

Creating Order From Chaos: Roles for Philanthropy in Disaster Planning and Response
The Jessie Ball duPont Fund published this guide in 2015 to outline the best roles for funders in a disaster, culled from its many decades of experience in responding to the needs of communities and nonprofits beset by disasters, human and natural alike. 

Disaster Philanthropy Playbook
A compilation of philanthropic strategies, best practices and lessons learned that helps communities think through how a disaster will affect them and plan and prepare to respond when it happens. It is centered on 15 strategies, including community and economic recovery; education; health and behavioral health; aging and disabled populations; arts and culture; environment; and others. The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook is a joint project of Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Council of New Jersey Grantmakers in association with United Philanthropy Forum. 

Disaster Preparedness to Promote Community Resilience: Information and Tools for Homeless Service Providers and Disaster Professionals
The Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC) within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has produced this toolkit to provide guidance for identifying and collaborating with partners to address disaster response and recovery needs of homeless individuals. It outlines strategies to engage in preparedness and minimize service disruption from a disaster. Furthermore, it specifies how to enhance the capacity of healthcare settings with providers experienced in serving people who are homeless, and provide expanded care following a disaster or public health emergency.

Disaster, Older Adults and Philanthropy
This article from Grantmakers in Aging details why disaster-related death rates are so much higher older adults and how philanthropy can help. 

Disaster Planning and Recovery for Nonprofits, Charities, and Libraries
The Resilient Organization, developed with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, is a holistic guide to IT disaster planning and recovery. This e-book is intended for organizations that are preparing for a disaster, as well as those that need to rebuild and maintain operations after a disaster.

The Long Haul: Lessons From Charitable Responses to Previous Disasters
Michael Seltzer, Baruch College Distinguished Lecturer and Director of The New York Community Trust Leadership Fellows program, gives six essential perspectives on disaster recovery. 

Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy: Data to Drive Decisions
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has partnered with Foundation Center on an interactive dashboard, which provides an analysis of disaster-related funding by foundations, governments, corporations and individuals. The data presented illuminates funding trends, exposes some of the imbalances in where and when contributions are made to help donors make more strategic decisions about their investments in the full life cycle of disasters, including preparedness and recovery efforts.

Disaster Recovery – What Donors and Nonprofits Need To Know
This resource from the National Council of Nonprofits is tailored for nonprofits and donors who are interested in responding to a disaster. It includes practical tips for making post-disaster donations and providing recovery assistance.


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