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The situation in Israel and Gaza is a complex crisis – one that shares many similarities with natural disasters, but also presents a set of unique challenges that require both near-term and long-term support. As a philanthropist, you have the agility and flexibility to help in ways that others cannot. In addition to responding immediately when a crisis occurs, you can take a longer view to fully understand the scope of the problem(s), identify where you can have the greatest impact and how to best use your resources to amplify established humanitarian efforts and other large-scale systems.

Foundations can play pivotal roles in supporting the long process of recovery. When search and rescue efforts have concluded and the physical sites have been deemed safe, communities try to return to their lives. They will need support from local and international nonprofits to get back on their feet. Foundation grants can be enormously useful in these situations, while ongoing grant support is even more valuable.

The Disaster Lifecycle
There are several stages of disaster and crisis response. By directing funds across the lifecycle, you may be able to achieve greater impact with your assets and reduce the likelihood of recurrence while also aligning your response with your values and giving priorities.

According to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, there are four key stages in responding effectively to critical situations.

1. Response and Relief – the stage during or immediately following an emergency.
2. Reconstruction and Recovery – the stage after damage has been assessed, including longer-term efforts to restore a community or country to pre-disaster state.
3. Mitigation – more strategic work designed to cure factors leading or contributing to emergencies and limit the impact of similar events in the future.
4. Preparedness – another strategic phase, involving detailed plans that will help people and areas respond effectively to disasters or crises.

For more information:

Resources to Evaluate Charities
There are more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and many more throughout the world. New charities are created every day to respond to emerging issues, as well as unexpected disasters or crises. These organizations vary widely in terms of focus, leadership, infrastructure and effectiveness, which is why it’s important to have proven ways of evaluating them and taking the time to do your research before providing support.

Disaster Relief
Providing Assistance Through Charitable Organizations is an extensive paper from the IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division with information about assisting victims of disasters or those in emergency hardship situations through tax-exempt charities.

Interested in other conversations around disaster philanthropy?
Checkout our webinar with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy to learn about the unique role that private foundations can play in mitigating the impact of natural and global health crises, and our roundtable discussion with subject matter experts to learn about the Best Practices & Innovations for Strategic Giving in Times of Crisis.

*Foundation Source does not evaluate or endorse charitable organizations or provide guidance on where or how much to donate.

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