Foundations, Companies Gave $380 Million for Sandy Relief, Study Finds

Foundations, Companies Gave $380 Million for Sandy Relief, Study Finds

Two years after Superstorm Sandy pounded coastal communities from southern New Jersey to Connecticut, nearly six hundred foundations, corporations, and other institutional donors have contributed more than $380 million in cash and in-kind gifts for relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts, a report from Foundation Center finds.

Developed in partnership with Philanthropy New York, the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, and the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the report, Philanthropy & Hurricane Sandy: A Report on the Foundation & Corporate Response (68 pages, PDF), found that corporations accounted for the largest share of the $328.4 million in cash pledged to relief and recovery efforts, donating a total of $136.4 million — 72 percent of which was funded through corporate giving programs — while public foundations, led by the New York City-based Robin Hood Foundation ($80.9 million), raised $131.1 million; independent and family foundations, led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ($7.7 million), pledged $54.9 million; and community foundations provided $5.2 million. The report also found that in-kind gifts from corporate donors totaled more than $53.7 million.

According to the report, the national American Red Cross and its local affiliates received the largest share (23 percent) of the cash pledged for Sandy relief, while, in terms of purpose, the largest share of dollars was allocated to human services (44 percent), followed by housing and shelter (11 percent), economic and community development (8 percent), and health and mental health services (5 percent).

The report notes that while philanthropic giving for Sandy relief and recovery efforts was only a small fraction of the $60.4 billion in federal emergency aid and the $18.8 billion paid out by insurance companies after the disaster, that giving played a critical role in supporting certain types of relief, recovery, and rebuilding work that might otherwise have gone unfunded. In addition, the report profiles the foundation and corporate responses in the hardest-hit areas of New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island, and lists best practices and opportunities for funders to maximize the impact of their contributions after a disaster strikes, such as addressing funding gaps that emerge after the initial short-term response.

"In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, philanthropic dollars have been essential in helping community advocacy programs, filling holes in the social service delivery system, and helping community members provide input into the redevelopment planning process," said Philanthropy New York president Ronna Brown. "This support is crucial to countless efforts that government often can’t or won’t fund."