There are many very fine and helpful postings from other organizations regarding appropriate philanthropic and charitable responses to Hurricane Harvey, our most recent natural disaster. This brief post is to underscore a very few key points:
1. Fund established organizations: This is NOT the time to be creative. There are many nationally and locally recognized and vetted organizations with credibility on the ground. If you would like to provide immediate support, please support those organizations. If you are not sure, please check with BBB, your local United Way or Red Cross, or your local community foundation to verify the legitimacy of those organizations.
2. Do NOT give to phone or on-line solicitations unless you know the people and organizations personally. While disasters often bring out the very best in some people, it also can bring out the worst. Scammers thrive on the heartfelt compassion we all feel.
3. Foundations that are not already funding on the ground programs in the impacted region would be advised to KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY and wait to see what the ongoing needs will be. We have learned in the past that many needs emerge in the months and even years after any disaster. Individuals are usually on to the next issue but foundations have the ability to have a longer-term perspective.