When you think about philanthropy and global resilience to disasters, the Rockefeller Foundation is the first funder that comes to mind. This area of grantmaking has become an overriding mission at Rockefeller, as we've often reported. Earlier this year, for example, it made a $100 million commitment to the Global Resilience Partnership.
Rockefeller may be the biggest funder in this space, but it’s not the only one. The Ford Foundation doesn’t put up grantmaking numbers anywhere close to Rockefeller’s, but it does dabble in global disaster resilience and recently made its largest related grant to date.
Ford recently announced a $900,000 grant to the New Venture Fund to back the Asia Pacific Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience (R3ADY) Network, an effort it started a few years ago. R3ADY enhances the region’s resilience to natural disasters by identifying and plugging key information and knowledge gaps and promoting innovative solutions to advance disaster resilience. R3ADY forms strategic partnerships with governments, businesses, civil society, philanthropy, academia and the military to carry out its mission.
Supporting efforts to strengthen the world’s resilience to natural disasters isn’t a typical focus of grantmaking at the Ford Foundation. And it's unclear whether this will be a bigger focus in the future, when the programmatic overhaul happening at Ford is complete.
You can read more about those changes here, but basically, the foundation is focusing its grantmaking to combat inequality in all of its forms. And there are certainly glaring disparities when natural disasters hit poor regions of the world as compared to wealthier regions. The reasons for this are many, and include the fact that rich countries are able to devote more resources to preparedness, relief, and recovery efforts.
That being said, while Ford’s disaster resilience gift to New Venture may be its largest related grant to date, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an indicator of things to come in this space. Given the foundation's previous support of R3ADY, which it helped launch in 2011 with a $500,000 grant to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Ford's latest grant to this effort can be viewed more as ongoing support rather than as a jump into a new field of grantmaking.