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  • Andres Spokoiny

Hurricane Sandy and Crisis Philanthropy

Following the devastating storm that just hit the North East Coast, our thoughts and prayers go out for all those affected by this unprecedented event.

Fortunately, we haven't heard of any injury to JFN staff or members. And we are deeply heartened by the resilience and solidarity of the American people. At some point yesterday in New York City, there were as many volunteers as people in the shelters. There were no serious reports of lootings or crime, even when large swaths of the city were evacuated.

Tomorrow, JFN offices will reopen. Even though some staff may have difficulty coming in, we are in touch and, as was the case the last few days, we can operate remotely, keeping our operations going as normally as possible.

Many members have contacted us asking how to support emergency relief operations.

We have contacted our partners in JFNA and other major Jewish organizations. JFNA is opening a mailbox, as will several Federations in the Northeast. In general, though, the Community is still in "assessment mode" to determine the extent of the damage and identify specific needs. Different players are trying to evaluate the needs of affected Jewish communities in the region, and liaising with government and other organizations to assess the needs of the community at large.

While JFN will not be collecting or distribution funds, we are available to offer consultation to members who wonder how to help and need to think through alternative responses, either individual or collective.

There are many things to consider for a foundation in terms of disaster relief: the balance between helping the Jewish Community and the general society; the balance between emergency relief and long-term reconstruction; effective ways of doing emergency grant-making and even the legal and fiscal issues that arise in these situations.

Below are links to a few resources on emergency grant-making in general and you can also find the link to the JFNA emergency response.

As needs develop and more information becomes available, we'll keep in touch to share with you any relevant information.

  • JFNA: Hurricane Sandy Relief, Jewish Federations of North America. The Federations' central page for information and fundraising in response to the storm. Read more »

  • Tips for Giving in Times of Crisis, Charity Navigator. 10 quick reminders to make sure your emergency giving has the most impact. Read more »

  • Providing Relief in Times of Disaster, Council on Foundations. These guidelines outline the basic legal considerations for a variety of popular giving options. Read more »

  • We Were There: The Role of Philanthropy in National Disasters, Council on Foundations. Four stories of how philanthropy responded to national disasters and focused on long-term solutions. Read the PDF »


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