Disasters and Donors, Part III: Hurricanes
November 4, 2020
Like airplanes in a landing pattern, hurricane after hurricane has lined up off the Gulf coast this year en route to the Southern United States. So many have struck the continent over the last six months that meteorologists have run out catchy names, now naming storms after letters in the Greek alphabet.
Indeed, this year has been particularly active in terms of storms. The Atlantic hurricane season has already killed more than 140 people and inflicted serious economic consequences across the region. These storms have caused billions in damages, a significant blow as the United States faces its deepest economic depression since the 1930s. Even worse, hurricanes often strike in regions with some of the country’s lowest median incomes and wealth indicators, deepening already persistent inequalities.
At the Amit Raizada Foundation, we seek to catalyze lasting social change that improves people’s lives and provides solutions long-standing inequalities. Hurricanes are no different. As the earth continues to warm, hurricanes, which are driven and fed by warm ocean waters, have continued to grow in ferocity. In a year punctuated by crises, an unprecedentedly severe hurricane has further burdened already ailing communities.
Hurricanes are often repeat offenders. Formed off the coast of Africa and fed by warm ocean waters, hurricanes persistently afflict the same inauspiciously located communities in the coastal south. In many cases, communities have little time to recover and rebuild before being once again battered by tempestuous winds, ferocious storm surges, and interminable rains.
Philanthropists, though, can make a difference in providing critical services and offering essential resources to victims and in rebuilding more sustainably for the future.
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy recommends donors focus on long term recovery efforts in addition to immediate needs. While providing real-time relief to those on the ground is critical in accommodating those who have lost homes or property, it is equally integral to a holistic recovery strategy to think about the future, how the community in question can be insulated from future tragedies.
In the near term, philanthropic organizations can provide housing and offer hygiene services. They can help with employment and immediate economic concerns. In the long-run, philanthropists really looking to make a difference can contribute to provisioning effective and accessible mental health care at the local level. Hurricanes are indelibly traumatic events whose mental effects can be felt long after the winds have subsided and the rains have ceased. In a country already beset with a mental health epidemic, investing in these services in hard-hit communities can be a real service.
This series of three articles took aim at the natural disasters that have impacted the lives of so many hard-working American families these last few months. In a year already mired in an unprecedented pandemic and recession, a nationwide reckoning on race relations, and the most contentious election of our lifetimes, this succession of late-summer natural disasters—from wildfires in the west to hurricanes along the gulf—has felt like a desperately unneeded kick as we’re all collectively down.
But with the right approach, philanthropists can leverage their access to resources to help serve those in need. By looking to the future, to the innovative philanthropic opportunities that truly create positive social change in the long-run, donors and grant writers have the latitude to make a tangible difference in the lives of everyday Americans.
Amit Raizada is a forward-thinking entrepreneur and investor whose mastery of investment and growth strategies has helped launch and grow countless successful business ventures across the globe. In 2002, Raizada founded Spectrum Business Ventures which today consists of more than 80 operating companies spanning multiple industries including technology, entertainment, real estate, financial services, hospitality, retail, eSports, fashion and others. Raizada is a lifelong philanthropist with a devout passion for giving back to the community, and in 2017 cofounded Vision Global Foundation, which supports charitable causes around the globe that focus on children and families in need. For more information about Amit Raizada please visit his bio page.