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Disaster and Emergency Relief Resources

Disaster and Emergency Relief Resources

This will serve as an ongoing resource page for funders with ways to respond to natural disasters and other calls for emergency relief. If you have any additional resources to add, please contact Gail Pinkham, Senior Director of Communications.

UPDATED 6/16/2020 - Funding and Resources in Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 Relief Funds: 

Funders - note that some of these funds are accepting donations as well as being sources of funding for nonprofits and individuals. 

  • Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund: First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation launched a statewide fund where philanthropists, business leaders, and other key partners are supporting those most affected through a rapid response relief fund. To date, contributions have reached $22 million. 
  • Massachusetts' COVID-19 PPE Procurement and Donation Program: Donate or sell personal protective equipment to support Massachusetts' COVID-19 response efforts
  • All of Massachusetts: The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering loans for small businesses including Nonprofits through funding provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act. Those that have been impacted should download & submit the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) More info can be found at the SBA website.
  • Massachusetts and Beyond: Verizon and Local Initiative Support Corporation have announced the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund providing grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses and nonprofits, especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital.  Email here for questions
  • Asian American Resource Workshop: List of COVID-19 resources for the community
  • Asian American Community: Nellie Mae Education Foundation has launched a rapid response fund, the Racism is a Virus Too Rapid Response Grant Fund, to respond to the hate crimes and bias against Asian American communities resulting from COVID-19. 
  • Barnstable County, Dukes County, Essex County and Nantucket County: The Tower Foundation COVID-19 Response Grant Guidelines for 2020. Please review for geography and issue-focused guidelines. Deadline May 27. 
  • Berkshires: The Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation's Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund makes one-time emergency grants for medical and heating bills, food and other critical needs for people in crisis around our region. It operates through trusted social service, health care and other providers who direct these funds where they are needed most.
  • Berkshire United Way and Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation established the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County 
  • Business Equity COVID-19 Emergency Fund (BECEF): supports Black- and Latinx-owned businesses in Massachusetts which are particularly vulnerable to the financial hardships resulting from the coronavirus crisis.
  • Boston area/Merrimack Valley: United Way of MA Bay/Merrimack Valley has established the COVID-19 Family Support Fund, a dedicated resource for working families affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Boston: The Boston Resiliency Fund is the City of Boston’s effort to help coordinate fundraising and philanthropic efforts to provide essential services to Boston residents whose health and well-being are most immediately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We are also working to help first responders and critical care providers.
  • Boston/Greater BostonCOVID-19 Response Fund at The Boston Foundation Issuing one-time operating grants on a rolling basis to non-profits whose operations in support of elders and other vulnerable populations have been stressed by the outbreak. The Boston Foundation encourages institutions, companies and other funders to contribute to the Fund.
  • Boston Medical Center:  BMC’s COVID-19 Emergency Social Services Fund
  • Brookline Community Foundation:  BCF Safety Net COVID-19 Response  
  • Cambridge: Cambridge Community Foundation'COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to support vulnerable populations most affected by COVID.
  • Cape Cod & Islands: Cape and Islands Major Crisis Relief Fund  A program of the local Needy Fund, which vets applications and distribute funds.
  • Cape Cod Community Foundation: Community Response to COVID-19
  • Charlesview Inc. COVID-19 Emergency FundThe Fund has been created to serve as an emergency measure to help organizations continue to function during the COVID-19 restrictions or when they begin to reopen as restrictions are revised by our local and state governments.
  • Codman Square Health CenterCodman Fights COVID-19 and a PPE donation form.
  • Commonwealth Children’s Fund (CCF): launched the Massachusetts Family Child Care Emergency Fund (MAFCEF) to provide financial support to high quality family child care providers so that they may remain a viable option for vulnerable families as they return to work. 
  • Community Foundation of North Central MA: established the Critical Needs COVID-19 Fund
  • Eastern Bank:  Commits Over $10 Million To Aid Individuals And Families, Small Businesses, And Nonprofit Organizations Impacted By The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis
  • Essex County: The Essex County Community Foundation is launching the Essex County COVID19 Response Fund. Details on the fund will be forthcoming. Donors may make contributions online and designate in the comments the name of this fund. 
  • Framingham: The Feed Framingham COVID-19 Fund has been established to help ensure food access to vulnerable populations across the City of Framingham. All of the proceeds of this emergency fund will go directly to nonprofit organizations working to facilitate direct access to hunger relief efforts in Framingham. Established by the Foundation for MetroWest in partnership with The City of Framingham.
  • Give Together Now: All donations are handled by the Family Independence Initiative.
  • Greater Lowell Community Foundation:  COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund   
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation: March 30th HPHC Foundation contributes $40,000 to Coastal Foodshed to sponsor and coordinate the New Bedford COVID-19 Meal Delivery Project.  Recently announced support for two other local organizations as part of its $3 million COVID-19 relief efforts: United Way of Greater Fall River and United Way of Greater New Bedford each received a $10,000 grant for their COVID-19 Relief Fund.
  • Haymarket People's Fund: Increasing Urgent Response Funding 
  • Health Equity & Housing: Mass Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA) - Kresge funding opportunity for grassroots organizations: Advancing health equity through housing in Massachusetts.
  • Individuals in BostonUnion Capital Boston established a one-time direct gift campaign to send Visa gift cards to those who need it urgently in the Greater Boston area. 100% of donations will go to families in need.
  • International Resources: sources vetted by New England International Donors (NEID) 
  • Jewish Community: Combined Jewish Philanthropies has established the CJP Coronavirus Emergency Fund for the Jewish Community. With schools, businesses, and community gathering spaces closed, many people across Greater Boston are facing dangerous isolation, financial crisis, and lack of access to food and other basic necessities.
  • Life Science Cares’ new COVID-19 Response Fund 
  • MetroWest: The MetroWest Emergency Relief Fund at the Foundation for MetroWest is NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS from non-profits for one-time operating grants.At this time, the Foundation will prioritize organizations who are providing emergency basic needs to our most vulnerable residents, families and youth.
  • Nantucket: The Community Foundation for Nantucket is setting up two funds, one specifically to offset the cost of feeding our school children who qualify for free and reduced lunch, and the other will be an emergency fund that we process through our discretionary grant making fund to support our local nonprofits.
  • New England: The New England Grassroots Environment Fund's COVID19 rapid response funding through the Seed grant program is available to all community groups (whether you are new to the Fund or already have an active grant/application for another project) for urgent needs to offer community responses to COVID19. Grants are up to $1,000 and we will work to get funding out as quickly as possible.
  • The New England Food System Resilience Fund is a joint philanthropic effort designed to reinforce, restore, and promote the resilience of the regional food system in a time of unprecedented disruption.
  • Newton/United Way of MA Bay & Merrimack ValleyNewton’s COVID-19 Care Fund 
  • Opioid Task Force COVID-19 Emergency Grants Program - This fund is available only for the 30 towns that comprise the Franklin County and North Quabbin Region in Western MA.
  • Parenting Journey for parents and families - It Takes a Village Emergency Fund
  • South Coast: The Community Foundation of Southeastern MA has established the South Coast Emergency Fund
  • Tufts Health Plan Foundation commits $1 million to address COVID-19; will support efforts driven by community and nonprofit organizations supporting older people affected by coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
  • United Way of North Central MA - Community Fund, Stand United to support local residents impacted by Covid-19. Funds will provide food access and financial support to children and families impacted by work and school closures.
  • United Ways of Pioneer Valley, Hampshire County and Franklin County - have established the COVID-19 Recovery and Relief Fund to provide aid and resources to those affected by the current public health emergency.
  • Upham’s Corner Health Committee:  Stand with Upham’s in Fighting the Spread of COVID-19
  • Watertown Community Foundation has created the Community Resilience Fund to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 emergency
  • Western MA: The Community Foundation of Western MA has started a fund to help with urgent and longer-term needs.
  • Worcester: The Greater Worcester Community Foundation has established a Covid-19 Response Fund Funds will be distributed by grants that will support the interim and long-term needs of organizations working with communities disproportionately impacted by the outbreak.
  • Women’s Foundation of Boston Response Fund - offers rapid relief grants to Greater Boston women and girls serving nonprofits to help offset costs incurred to maintain operations or mitigate the health and financial impacts caused by COVID-19.
  • Youth and Families: The Schott Foundation for Public Education has started the Loving Communities Response Fund to support community-led grassroots organizations who serve youth and families directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Lenny Zakim Fund: COVID-19 Emergency Response & Recovery Fund for current and former LZF grantees. https://thelennyzakimfund.org/emergency/.

Covid-19 Relief Funds and Resources for ARTS and CULTURE and JOURNALISM

  • Boston Artist Relief Fund, established by the Boston Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture
  • Boston Singers Resource's Covid-19 Emergency Relief grants
  • The Artist Relief Fund by the Cambridge Community Foundation
  • Covid-19 & Freelance Artists Resource List  
  • Essex County Artist Fund: Essex County Community Foundation’s response to the immediate and everyday needs of artists to be supported and lifted up across the county and across sectors. 
  • Henderson Foundation: For the May 1 proposal deadline, the Henderson Designators will be accepting applications online.  The Designators will have flexibility on some of the materials (including contractor/vendor bids) given challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis.
  • National Geographic announced an emergency fund for journalists all over the world who wish to cover COVID-19 within their own communities
  • New England Foundation for the Arts has established a resource page
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the six U.S. Regional Arts organizations, including New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA): New fund for cultural organizations across the nation. NEFA grant also includes funds from the National Endowment for the Arts CARES Act. The fund prioritizes organizations, communities, populations and art forms that have historically had less access to major financial resources for sustainability and seeks in particular to support organizations that are led by and deeply engage communities of color.

  • Passim: https://www.passim.org/pearfund/
  • Robert Rauschenberg Foundation: Beginning in late May/early June 2020, the program will provide visual and media artists and choreographers with one-time grants of up to $5,000 for medical emergencies
  • Theatre Community Benevolent Fund Administered by StageSource, this fund provides financial relief in a confidential, respectful manner to individual theater practitioners and non-profit theater organizations of Greater Boston and the surrounding areas, facing occurrences of a catastrophic nature
  • The Record Co. has established Boston Music Maker Relief Fund a fund to provide financial relief to music makers in the Boston area experiencing lost revenue from gig cancellations resulting from coronavirus and COVID-19.Rapid grants of up to $200 will be made to eligible applicants on a first come, first served basis.

Additional Resources, Best Practices, and Technology & Software Resourceson COVID-19

Federal Stimulus Package for COVID-19 Summaries: 

General Resources & Pro Bono Services: 

Best & Developing Practices: 

Technology & Software Resources


General Disaster/Emergency Relief Resources for Funders: 

www.BBB.org/GivingAfterTragedy - BBB Wise Giving Alliance encourages generosity, with a helpful tips to donors to take steps to avoid questionable efforts that often emerge after tragedies. 

Center for Disaster Philanthropy - a full-time resource to help donors make more thoughtful disaster-related giving decisions and maximize the impact of their gifts.

Disaster Response - a watchdog organization that curates lists of organizations that are working in response to a disaster, helping donors vet where to give. It uses a tool called SmartResponse – a searchable database.

Giving in Times of Disaster - Bank of America resource for Philanthropy in a time of disaster —preparing, responding, recovering


Australian Fires (January 2020)


California Fires (October 2019)


Hurricane Dorian (September 2019)

El Paso Victims Fund

On the morning of August 3, one confirmed shooter entered several busy retail locations and opened fire killing 21 people and wounding others. El Paso Community Foundation is accepting funds to help the families of those affected. The foundation will waive all administrative fees, and pay all credit card fees associated with this fund. They are working with the County of El Paso and the City of El Paso to try to help in any way possible. Donate to the Fund

Dayton Ohio Oregon District Tragedy Fund
In response to the mass shooting that occurred in the early hours of August 4, 2019, The Dayton Foundation has established the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund. The fund allows individuals to make charitable contributions to help the families directly affected by this terrible tragedy. The Foundation will waive the credit card processing fee so that 100 percent of the money will be used to assist others.
Individuals interested in contributing to the fund may make a secure, online credit card donation here, or mail a check to The Dayton Foundation, 40 N. Main Street, Suite 500, Dayton, OH 45423. “Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund” or “Fund #8365” should be designated on the check or in the fund name field.

Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund  
In partnership with the Gilroy Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation has established a charitable fund to provide relief to victims of the terrible shooting that occurred July 28, 2019, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Three festival goers, including children ages 6 and 13, were killed and more than a dozen people were injured in the violent attack. SVCF will contribute an initial $10,000 to the relief fund. The funds collected will be distributed by the Gilroy Foundation to victims and their families, and to local nonprofit organizations providing effective relief to those affected and to the community. 
Donate to the Fund

Midwest Floods (updated March 27, 2019)

Iowa Council on Foundations shared that several funds have opened to help support flood relief and recovery efforts in counties and communities across Iowa. A quick list of those funds and additional resources is available below.
In Nebraska, monitor the Omaha Community Foundation's Blog, where their community investment team is tracking flood relief and response efforts.

  • The Fremont County Community Foundation established the Fremont County Flood Fund to meet local needs. 
  • Mills County Community Foundation established the Mills County Flood Fund to meet local needs.
  • United Way of the Midlands – 100% of every donation to the Nebraska/Iowa Flood Relief Fund will be directed to nonprofit programs meeting needs for emergency shelter, food and more. Donors will have the opportunity to direct their gift to a specific community within Nebraska or Iowa if they so wish.
  • Together a Greater Good – Flood Resource Page
  • Share Omaha – Flood Resource Page

56 Iowa Counties have received disaster declarations, making them eligible for FEMA assistance. Impacted communities are encouraged to access state and federal relief and assistance. Senator Grassley's office has provided a comprehensive list of resources here


California Fires (updated November 19, 2018)

The three sister organizations in California - Northern California Grantmakers, Southern California Grantmakers, and San Diego Grantmakers—are tracking the fires in Northern and Southern California and listing resources and ways to provide assistance to those in need on their websites.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy has also created a Disaster Profile page for all three wildfires.


Supporting the Tragedy in Pittsburgh - Tree of Life Synagogue Victims - October 27, 2018

We offer our sincere condolences for those who suffered injuries and loss of life due to senseless violence and attack against the Jewish community at Tree of Life Synagogue in Greater Pittsburgh. Thousands of people gathered on Sunday for a vigil to remember those who were victims of the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. With the resources found at Grantmakers of Western Pennsylania, you may help to make a contribution to the process of healing and recovery. 

Resources to help those affected by the gas explosions in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover (September 18, 2018) 

Governor Charlie Baker has announced the establishment of the new Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at Essex County Community Foundation. A panel of 21 state and local government officials and nonprofit leaders met to organize a system for how the needs of those affected can be most effectively met. Plans for the execution of the new Fund will be communicated by the end of this week.  In the meantime, donations for the Sept. 13 fire victims may still be made to the Lawrence Emergency Fund. Once the new Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund is up and running, the donations will be combined.


Resources to help those impacted by Hurricane Florence (September 18, 2018)

Resources from Philanthropic Organizations in North Carolina



Funders and Donors Seeking Solutions on Helping Families Separated at the Border and Immigration (updated July 23, 2018)

  • June 27, 1:00-2:30pm, Webinar hosted by Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees will feature a panel of experts on the current situation, explore the impact of these policies on families and children, and learn about GCIR’s recommendations on how philanthropy can respond:  Where Are the Children? Family Separation Becomes U.S. Immigration Enforcement Policy
  • Greater Boston Immigrant Defense Fund  is building Greater Boston’s capacity to protect and defend immigrant and refugee communities by increasing access to legal representation for individuals facing deportation proceedings and community education and preparedness programming
  • Cambridge Legal Defense Fund for Immigrants has been established to help immigrants in Cambridge, Massachusetts get the legal services they need to stay, legally, in our country.
  • The ACLU is litigating this policy in California.
  • Al Otro Lado is a binational organization that works to offer legal services to deportees and migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, including deportee parents whose children remain in the U.S.
  • American Immigrant Representation Project (AIRP), which works to secure legal representation for immigrants.
  • CARA—a consortium of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, the American Immigration Council, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association—provides legal services at family detention centers.
  • CASA in Maryland, D.C., Virginia, and Pennsylvania. They litigate, advocate, and help with representation of minors needing legal services.
  • CLINIC’s Defending Vulnerable Populations project offers case assistance to hundreds of smaller organizations all over the country that do direct services for migrant families and children.
  • The Florence Project is an Arizona project offering free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody.
  • HIAS has designed an emergency response program that will have an immediate impact on families separated at the border and meet the short and longer-term needs of families seeking asylum in the U.S. This includes the provision of specialized legal and support services for asylum seekers in the Greater NY and DC areas, as well as in border areas.
  • Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative has a guide to organizations throughout Texas that provide direct legal services to separated children. Also listed within the guide are resources for local advocates, lawyers, and volunteers.
  • Human Rights First is a national organization with roots in Houston that needs help from lawyers too.
  • Kids in Need of Defense works to ensure that kids do not appear in immigration court without representation, and to lobby for policies that advocate for children’s legal interests.
  • The Kino Border Initiative provides humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants on both sides of the border. They have a wish-list of supplies they can use to help migrants and families staying in the communities they serve.
  • The Legal Aid Justice Center is a Virginia-based center providing unaccompanied minors legal services and representation.
  • The National Immigrant Justice Center represents and advocates for detained adults and children facing removal, supports efforts at the border, and represents parents in the interior who have been separated from their families as a result of aggressive enforcement.
  • The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is doing work defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education.
  • Pueblo Sin Fronteras is an organization that provides humanitarian aid and shelter to migrants on their way to the U.S.
  • RAICES is the largest immigration nonprofit in Texas offering free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children and families.
  • Together Rising is another Virginia-based organization that’s helping provide legal assistance for 60 migrant children who were separated from their parents and are currently detained in Arizona.
  • The Urban Justice Center’s Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project is working to keep families together.
  • Women’s Refugee Commission advocates for the rights and protection of women, children, and youth fleeing violence and persecution.
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights works for the rights of children in immigration proceedings.

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