Debarati Guha Sapir, director of the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disaster, delivered a speech at the Harvard School of Public Health titled “The Curious Case of Disaster Epidemiology.” According to Ms. Sapir’s data, over the past 50 years, natural disaster occurrences have increased eightfold from 50 to 400.

Whether this growth pattern remains consistent or grows, there is no doubt that disaster response and relief funding will likely continue to grow in response. Many large organizations are addressing disasters through other grantmaking, such as environmental and human rights giving. 

We track what several disaster and refugee funders are doing, and our learning is captured in this guide. All the profiles of funders are updated regularly.

FUNDERS

ABBOTT FUND

The Abbott Fund awards large grants for disaster relief and refugee aid, but they tend to go toward large organizations. 

AGUA FUND

The Agua Fund awards grants to organizations that deliver aid to regions of the world affected by natural disasters. The fund also supports organizations working with refugees. 

ANTHONY ROBBINS FOUNDATION

Robbins focuses its grantmaking on rebuilding communities after natural disasters. 

AUTODESK FOUNDATION

The philanthropic arm of the software company awards grants for disaster response and relief, as well as in-kind donations and employee volunteers.

BAYER CARES FOUNDATION

This foundation focuses on rapid response efforts to global disasters and supports groups with which it has an established relationship. It also funds a small number of projects suggested by its employees.

BD FOUNDATION

Charitable arm of medical technology company Becton Dickinson, this funder supports large INGOs through its disaster response/relief program. Will fund efforts that address both acute and protracted disasters anywhere in the world.

MARGARET A. CARGILL FOUNDATION

Cargill supports disaster relief efforts nationally and internationally. Internationally, it focuses on  capacity building and providing operations support.

CISCO SYSTEMS FOUNDATION

Cisco largely supports natural disaster response and relief. Those working to provide recovery and relief efforts for manmade disasters will find it difficult, if not impossible, to attract Cisco’s grantmaking.

CITI FOUNDATION

Though the Citi Foundation does award grants for immediate disaster relief, the foundation tends to focus on rebuilding communities and strengthening local economies in the aftermath.  

COCA-COLA FOUNDATION

Large organizations with worldwide recognition and reach receive the lion’s share of the Coca-Cola Foundation’s grants for disaster relief. Its recipient is small and features large INGOs. 

CONRAD N. HILTON FOUNDATION

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation finances an array of humanitarian initiatives, including a wide variety of disaster-relief programs. 

DREAM BLUE FOUNDATION

The Dream Blue Foundation focuses on providing humanitarian aid and relief to Syrian refugees. It also gives to education programs to help refugees fill the gap left by war and disaster.

ELMA RELIEF FOUNDATION

ELMA Relief awards grants to support organizations working in disaster response, rebuilding, and risk reduction related to predictable disasters. The foundation focuses on children and underserved populations. 

ENTERPRISE HOLDINGS FOUNDATION

The rental car holding company's charitable arm supports disaster and recovery efforts worldwide. Grants tend to be modest in amount. Most grants go out at the behest of Enterprise Holdings employees.

FEDEX FOUNDATION

This nimble corporate funder awards disaster relief, recovery, disaster preparedness grants and grants related to management programs.  

FORD FOUNDATION

Ford does not award many grants in the refugee space, but when it does so, they are large. Ford also gives generously to relief work on select natural disasters. 

FREEPORT-MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD FOUNDATION

This a small operation of modest means that supports disaster relief and recovery efforts in areas of the world in which the company operates.  

GATES FOUNDATION

Grantmaking for disasters is similar to other grantmaking by Gates—large gifts go to big-name organizations focused on scalable, replicable projects.

GE FOUNDATION

This funder largely supports big disaster response organizations like the American Red Cross.

GERE FOUNDATION

The Gere Foundation's humanitarian and disaster relief funding invests in grantmaking to Tibet and those working to integrate refugee programs in developing countries.

GIVE2ASIA

This foundation supports disaster preparedness, risk reduction, and resilience-building programs in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, and Vietnam.

GOOGLE FOUNDATION

Global giving this tech funder supports groups that use technology to address disaster/refugee issues. Tends to support large INGOs; grantseekers should contact the foundation for more insight into funding. 

HAU'OLI LOA FOUNDATION

This low-profile funder supports organizations that offer response and relief services in the event of a natural disaster or humanitarian emergency. 

HUMANITARIAN INNOVATION FUND

An initiative from U.K.-based Enhancing Learning and Research for Humanitarian Assistance (ELRHA), this funder supports organizations fielding novel, but results-driven programs that have the potential to scale. 

IGH CHARITABLE FOUNDATION

IGH focuses its disaster grantmaking on supporting response and relief efforts after a natural disaster has occurred. 

MICROSOFT PHILANTHROPIES

Humanitarian grantmaking here seeks to help refugees and displaced populations rebuild their lives.

MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION

This corporate funder centers its giving on first responder training, preparation programs and public disaster education campaigns. 

NEWMAN’S OWN FOUNDATION

This foundation prioritizes disaster relief and recovery grants to small, community-based foundations.

NANDO AND ELSA PERETTI FOUNDATION

This Rome-based funder focuses on disaster response efforts and wide-reaching refugee efforts. Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation’s grants for disaster relief and refugees are relatively wide-ranging. 

OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS

Open Society's grant money includes work to assist refugees around the world.

PROCTER & GAMBLE

Supports response, relief, and preparedness efforts around the world. Often provides in-kind donations.

PRUDENTIAL FOUNDATION

This funder awards both immediate disaster and relief grants and long-term support for international organizations. 

RAINBOW WORLD FUND

The Rainbow World Fund supports humanitarian aid organizations that address the needs of both LGBT refugees and non-LGBT communities around the world.

ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION

Rockefeller works on disaster issues through its resilience frame, and is working worldwide through its 100 Resilient Cities Centennial Challenge.

SEMPRA ENERGY FOUNDATION

Sempra provides response and relief grants to regions of the world that have been affected by large-scale natural disasters. The foundation does not provide funding for man-made disaster relief or events that are a result of conflict. 

UPS FOUNDATION

UPS is practically a one-stop shop for organizations working in disaster relief. Those fortunate enough to receive funding get access to a treasure trove of resources for making positive impacts in disaster zones.

VOYA FOUNDATION

Supports both large NGOs and lesser-known groups that respond to natural disasters abroad; some U.S. response is funded as well. Prefers to make single-year rather than multi-year grants.  

WALMART FOUNDATION

The Walmart Foundation offers two ways for organizations to apply for a disaster relief grant—through its Local Giving and National Giving programs.