Webinar Recap - Philanthropy’s Role in Disaster Relief for the Most Vulnerable

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and the Foundation Center, joined Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy for a webinar that explored why--based on current trends and future predictions--foundations will need to improve upon how they respond to disasters to better meet the needs of vulnerable populations globally. Over the course of our webinar, the speakers drew on recent research that shows the extent of disaster grantmaking, gaps in the type and nature of funding, and how a better understanding of the "disaster lifecycle" can lead to more effective grantmaking. Vulnerable populations (children, mentally ill, older adults, economically disadvantaged, and others) domestically and internationally suffer the most in times of catastrophe and the private philanthropic community has a unique role in meeting their needs. As part of this hour-long session, we also explored philanthropic responses to the Global Refugee Crisis and discuss recently released findings from the Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy 2015. 


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About the presenters:

Bob.jpgRobert G. Ottenhoff, President & CEO, Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Bob is a veteran in philanthropy, nonprofit leadership, and entrepreneurship, is president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP). Prior to joining CDP, Bob spent a decade as president and CEO of GuideStar, an industry leader in the use of providing high-quality data to help donors make better decisions and improve nonprofit practice. While there, Bob developed a sustainable business model which supports free and fee-based services to more than 10 million users. He also led efforts to build partnerships with more than 150 leading U.S. and community foundations, and oversaw the development of www.guidestar.org into a nationally respected, comprehensive source of reports and services on more than 1.5 million nonprofits. Bob has more than 25 years of management experience in public broadcasting and high-tech companies, including nine years as chief operating officer of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Bob is known for his entrepreneurial spirit, strong technology focus, and quest to make an impact on the world. In addition to his role at CDP, he serves on the board of Inspirit Foundation (formerly Vision TV); Link TV; and Write on Sports. He also serves on the advisory committee of the Netherlands-America Foundation. He previously served on the board of the Grameen Foundation, USAAAFRC Trust for Philanthropy and the e-Philanthropy Foundation. Bob holds a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College and a master’s degree in planning from Rutgers University. He frequently writes and comments on nonprofit and philanthropic issues, and has been quoted in a variety of media, including television, radio and print publications such as NPR, the New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.


Steven_Lawrence.jpgSteven Lawrence, Director of Research, Foundation Center

Steven joined the Foundation Center’s research staff in 1991 and currently serves as director of research. He manages the publication of numerous annual and special project reports. He also develops and delivers public presentations and trainings on foundation trends; facilitates custom consulting services for external clients; and promotes Foundation Center research activities to the media, grantmakers, and the nonprofit community.

A seasoned researcher, writer, and communicator with close to 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Mr. Lawrence is the principal author of the annual Key Facts on U.S. Foundations report and numerous special studies on the foundation field, such as Advancing Human Rights: The State of Global Foundation Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Hurricane Sandy: A Report on the Foundation and Corporate Response, and Key Facts on Mission Investing.

Mr. Lawrence serves on the Giving USA advisory committee and the Grantmakers in the Arts research committee. He received a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Cornell University and a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Chicago.


Grace.jpgGrace Sato, Research Associate, Foundation Center

Grace coordinates data analysis and data management efforts for the Measuring the State of Disaster Philanthropy project and also supports a variety of other projects related to philanthropic funding. Grace has co-authored numerous Foundation Center publications, including Building a Beloved Community: Strengthening the Field of Black Male Achievement and U.S. Foundation Funding: Latin America. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work.


RegineWebster.jpgRegine A. Webster, Vice President, Center for Disaster Philanthropy

Regine brings a keen sense of adventure, discovery, and compassion to the fields of philanthropy and humanitarian assistance, helping build bridges between those offering solutions and those in need. With an eye toward long-term, sustainable results, Regine has been a steady presence in situations where chaos often reigns. Perhaps it was the summer she spent living in a Zambia refugee camp; the visits to internally displaced persons camps in northern Uganda; or seeing the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Personal travels also have broadened her horizons, from a month in Guatemala with her young daughters to teaching scuba diving in Australia. Through it all, her sense of humor has continued to emerge, her optimism has strengthened, and her desire to bring every life experience in service to others has shone through.

In 2010, Regine became founding executive director of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, an organization aimed at transforming giving toward domestic and international disasters. CDP has matured into a trusted voice and philanthropic force, including awarding more than $424,000 in grants from its Hurricane Sandy Disaster Recovery Fund. Regine now serves as CDP vice president, and her personal reach spreads beyond the organization. In addition to holding speaking engagements that inspire and educate in the disaster philanthropy realm, Regine has been actively involved in volunteer leadership positions on local and national-level boards and committees.

She is one of only a handful of people nationwide who have managed a dedicated disaster portfolio for a foundation; while program officer, consultant, and fellow in the Global Health and Global Development divisions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Wash., she led the Foundation’s $15 million Emergency Relief portfolio; managed complex grantmaker/grantee relationships across 20 international non-governmental organizations; and developed and executed more than 90 grants totaling more than $50 million to address crises in South Asia, Sudan, Iran, the Caribbean, and other areas. Regine also served as a senior associate with Arabella Advisors, supporting the firm’s response to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, as well as earthquakes in Chile and Haiti.  She worked as a consulting program officer to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in Century City, Calif. There, her duties included co-leading the development of the Foundation’s response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and the Pakistan earthquake the same year. She also co-wrote and revised the Hilton Foundation’s disaster response strategy.

Regine has a bachelor’s degree in English from Boston College and a master of science degree in foreign policy from Georgetown University.

Though many long for quick fixes in disaster philanthropy, Regine’s own two decades of experience demonstrate her understanding of taking the time to do things right.

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