Cyclone Komen swept the Myanmar coast in July 2015. “We knew we were particularly exposed, so we went to some friends’ shelter inland, away from the coast. When we came back, the entire block of shelters and all our belongings were gone,” recounts Mohammed Yakub, with his wife and daughter where their shelter used to be. September 9, 2015. European Commission DG ECHO/Pierre Prakash

About This Project

As the only full-time resource devoted to disaster philanthropy, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy partnered with Foundation Center in 2014 to track philanthropic funding flows to disasters. Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy is the first effort to establish baseline data, aggregate multiple data streams, and track disaster giving. By increasing the information available on disaster giving, philanthropists, government agencies, and NGOs, we will be better able to coordinate and make more strategic decisions, ultimately resulting in more effective disaster philanthropy and assistance.

The project’s work is guided by an expert advisory committee and consultation with key stakeholders. We look forward to broad participation and collaboration across the disaster philanthropy field, and together, to creating useful and relevant tools to assist in donor and grantee decision making, transparency, and coordination.

Through Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy, donors, NGOs, government, media, and more will now know exactly how much money is spent on which disasters each year, by whom, and for what activities.

This project is generously supported by the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.


At the inception of this project, in consultation with an expert technical advisory committee, Foundation Center developed a taxonomy to classify giving by both disaster assistance strategy and type of disasters. To facilitate comparisons among different sources of disaster-related data, this taxonomy was applied to all data analyzed for this project. (For a detailed description of the project taxonomy, see Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2014: Data to Drive Decisions, p. 15.)

In this taxonomy, types of disasters fall into four broad buckets: natural disasters, man-made accidents, complex humanitarian emergencies, and disasters-general (funding for unspecified disasters or multiple, disparate disasters).

The taxonomy related to disaster assistance strategies lifts up the disaster life cycle, highlighting points of intervention before, during, and after disasters.

Although much attention is focused on communities in the immediate aftermath of disasters, there is growing recognition that more attention needs to be paid to resilience, mitigation, and preparedness efforts that help minimize the economic, social, and human consequences of disaster. Likewise the disaster life cycle lifts up the importance of investing in longer-term recovery efforts to ensure that communities re-build with an eye toward being able to withstand the impact of disasters more fully.

State of Disaster Philanthropy project taxonomy

Data Sources

This project examines giving from foundation, government, and corporate donors, in addition to funds raised through online platforms, to provide an emerging picture of disaster-related philanthropy. Beyond foundations, data sources were chosen because they were publicly available. In the future, we hope to partner with other organizations to capture additional funding data. The dashboard includes data from the following sources. More detailed information is available on the respective Giving Data pages.

Foundation Center
Comprehensive source of data on U.S. foundation giving with a growing database of global foundation giving
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Creditor Reporting System
Central database for official development assistance from the 29 OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) member states
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Detailed information on domestic grants by the U.S. government for disasters
Data on contributions collected through the organization’s online giving platform
Network for Good
Aggregated data on disaster-designated contributions collected through its software platform
Vanguard Charitable
Aggregated data on contributions collected through donor-advised funds
Fidelity Charitable
Aggregated data on contributions collected through donor-advised funds

Project Advisory Committee

  • Nancy Anthony
    Oklahoma City Community Foundation
  • Lori J. Bertman
    President and CEO
    Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation
  • Edmund J. Cain
    Vice President for Grant Programs
    Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
  • Sherrie Forrest
    Senior Program Officer for Resilient America Roundtable
    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine
  • Mark Lindberg
    Program Director for Disaster Relief and Recovery
    Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies
  • Una Osili
    Professor of Economics and Associate Dean for Research and International Programs
    Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Joe Ruiz
    Director, Humanitarian Relief & Resilience Program
    The UPS Foundation
  • Marcy Vigoda
    Chief, Partnerships and Resources Mobilization Branch
    United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
  • Sam Worthington
    Chief Executive Officer

Relevant Links

Contact Us

Center for Disaster Philanthropy
Regine Webster, Vice President