At its most recent Board meeting, The Overbrook Foundation awarded a special grant to the North Star Fund for its Community Fund for Sandy Recovery. While you can find many more important details at the North Star Fund’s website (as well as information on their other programs), we want to outline why the Foundation believes it important to support a long-term rebuilding effort after Hurricane Sandy and why the Board has chosen to award this particular grant to do so.
As a New York-based Foundation, Overbrook has wanted to support longer-term recovery and rebuilding efforts since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast in late October. It is clear that this storm has deeply affected our region. Many people were displaced from their homes or lost electricity for extended periods. Critical longer-term issues have emerged, including the challenges of sustaining livelihoods during vast economic disruption and the health issues arising from environmental hazards (i.e., mold infestations and a lack of access to services). Those who are most impacted by hurricanes, those who are assisted last and those who are left out of the government-led recovery efforts altogether must be central in filling gaps in service provision and in developing community-based solutions.
In recent years, Overbrook has awarded grants outside of the established Board of Directors grants program areas to respond to natural and man-made disasters. For example, the Board supported recovery efforts in the Gulf region following the BP oil spill and in South Asia following the 2004 Tsunami. Following 9/11, the Foundation awarded a grant to the Fund for the City of New York to assist in sustaining New York’s non-profit community as the City began to recover. In all of these cases, the Foundation awarded grants to intermediaries with existing relationships to impacted communities. They also possess the expertise to identify appropriate grantee organizations with the capacity and credibility to execute equitable and sustainable grassroots recovery efforts. North Star regularly funds and partners with community-based groups advancing economic justice, equality and human rights across New York City.
The Community Fund for Sandy Recovery also builds on two rounds of prior grantmaking through North Star’s Grassroots Hurricane Relief Fund from earlier in 2012 and 2013. North Star staff has thoughtfully directed resources to those grassroots organizations that already know and provide services to constituencies affected by Sandy and who have expanded those services since the hurricane. These service providers also partner with city and state advocacy groups to advocate for better more equitable and sustainable governmental recoveries going forward. As a part of this grant, North Star will work with grantees to write and distribute a report based on the lessons learned from this and past hurricane recovery responses (i.e. Hurricanes in the Gulf and in El Salvador) to inform future preparations and recoveries. These findings will inform efforts to respond to storms in the future.
Congratulations to North Star on this grant and we thank them for their excellent work to support an equitable and sustainable recovery in our city and the surrounding regions!