Morristown, NJ - The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, chaired by First Lady Mary Pat Christie, has authored a final report to help inform organizations focused on disaster relief and recovery, and to share its Sandy rebuilding experiences with the philanthropic community.
Over the last three years the First Lady's Relief Fund distributed $37.8 million to 109 nonprofit organizations, making it the largest philanthropic funder of New Jersey's recovery from the historic storm. The newly released final report highlights effective programs funded by the Relief Fund that could be duplicated and applied to future disaster response efforts. The online report also captures the Fund's impact since the storm and documents valuable insights relevant to recovery work.
"I've learned more than I could have ever anticipated about fundraising, responsible grantmaking, the importance of thinking long-term and the vital role philanthropy plays in disaster response through my time with the Relief Fund," said First Lady Mary Pat Christie. "Chairing this organization has been of the largest and most impactful endeavors I've taken on as First Lady of New Jersey and I'm very proud of the important work we've achieved, the relationships we've built, and the care with which the Relief Fund distributed the dollars entrusted to it by thousands of generous donors."
The idea for a Relief Fund began shortly after the magnitude of Sandy's destruction was realized. "My husband called me the day after Sandy and said we needed to start a nonprofit to help people. He gave me the name of a lawyer and told me I was in charge, then he hung up the phone," said Mrs. Christie. Three days later the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund was established to raise and distribute funds in support of programs focused on long-term recovery and addressing the unmet needs of New Jersey families and communities building back from Sandy.
In total, the Relief Fund raised $41 million from more than 35,000 donors worldwide. At the end of March 2016, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund will shut down operations, having carefully distributed all available funds over six grant cycles to nonprofits providing housing assistance, social services, mental health support, economic development, financial and legal counseling, and education. More than 50 percent of the Relief Fund's grants were directed to housing assistance and construction programs. A complete list of grant recipients is available here.
"Over 250,000 New Jerseyans were assisted by Relief Fund supported programs," said Mrs. Christie. "This report shows what the Relief Fund's approach to grantmaking was able to accomplish alongside a committed network of recovery partners. I've been inspired by the strong spirit of my fellow New Jerseyans and the countless individuals who have pitched in to help us rebuild."
The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund's final report is also featured in the Center for Disaster Philanthropy's Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a resource of best practices and innovative approaches designed for continued updates in order to provide guidance and the latest information to donors, funders, nonprofits and government agencies responding to disasters.
"As natural disasters grow in frequency and intensity, it's clear there is room for improvement in the way we respond before, during and after these events," said Bob Ottenhoff, President and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy. "Our newly launched Disaster Playbook is designed to be a live resource where donors and community leaders can share lessons from their disaster-related work. We are delighted to have co-created the Playbook with the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, and are eager to share the experiences of the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund with donors across the country."
The Disaster Philanthropy Playbook is currently available for use at www.disasterplaybook.org. To view the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund's final report and learn more about the organization visit www.sandynjrelieffund.org.