Three Things to Know About the ELMA Relief Foundation’s Disaster Grantmaking

There are a number of powerhouse funders focused on disaster response, relief, and recovery. You’ve got your mega funders like Gates, Hilton, and Rockefeller that are quick to jump in to help once a disaster strikes. There are also monster corporate funders with a large presence in this space such as the UPS, Cisco, and FedEx foundations.

Then, there are funders like the ELMA Relief Foundation, which awards grants to organizations working in disaster response, rebuilding, and risk reduction in predictable disasters and does so without a whole lot of fanfare. Here are a few key takeaways about this low profile disaster funder:

1. It’s part of a larger group and children the priority. Especially those living in Africa.

The ELMA Relief Foundation is a part of the ELMA Group of Foundations, which is comprised of the following arms: ELMA Foundation, ELMA Relief, ELMA Vaccines and Immunizations, ELMA Growth, ELMA South Africa, and ELMA Music. Established in 2005, the ELMA Group is “one of the world’s largest foundations focused exclusively on the children of Africa and select groups in the United States and the United Kingdom,” according to the Borgen Project.

The ELMA Relief Foundation supports provides disaster recovery and relief support to NGOs around the world, paying particular attention to the needs of children after a disaster strikes. According to ELMA, children “often suffer disproportionately in the aftermath of such tragedies.” However, improving the lives of African children is a major priority for ELMA.  

2. Disaster grantmaking revolves around three “R’s”.

ELMA works to be a responsive and nimble disaster grantmaker—which isn’t such an easy task when telecommunications and infrastructure is in shambles or at the very least, temporarily non-operational. However, the overarching principles of ELMA’s disaster grantmaking revolves around response, recovery, and risk reduction.

In the response category, the foundation focuses on meeting the urgent and immediate needs of local communities shortly after a disaster strikes. Its recovery funding focuses on rebuilding disaster affected communities as well as the lives of those living in those communities. And its risk reduction strategy zeroes in on alleviating the suffering of vulnerable and underserved communities impacted by “cyclical and predictable disasters.”

3. ELMA is a holistic disaster grantmaker.

On a wide scale, ELMA centers its grantmaking on disaster response, recovery, and risk reduction, but make no mistake, this is a very holistic disaster grantmaker and holds itself accountable to its own set of metrics. Here’s a quick look.

The foundation’s disaster response grants go toward the support of mobilizing resources quickly with major outcomes that include decreased child mortality rates, malnutrition rates, and “negative coping strategies of affected households.”

ELMA’s disaster recovery grants focus on rebuilding and repairing infrastructure in affected areas while also paying attention to restoring access to critical resources such as healthcare, education, and clean water.

Finally, the third leg of ELMA Relief disaster grantmaking stool not only includes grants toward building community and household resilience to disasters, but also supports groups that are increasing the number of households that are participating in disaster risk reduction programs and practices; increasing the reach of early warning systems; and increasing the range of disaster surveillance activities.

Related: ELMA Relief Foundation: Grants for Disasters