Citi Foundation: Fundraising for Disasters & Refugees

OVERVIEW: The Citi Foundation awards immediate relief grants to satisfy a disaster-affected area’s immediate needs for shelter, water, food, medical care and the like. However, the foundation puts more emphasis on community rebuilding and financial security.  

IP TAKE: It is challenging for mid-size and small NGOs to obtain support for disaster response aid. However, proposals that emphasize both financial security and disaster rebuilding efforts may have a better chance at securing a grant from Citi. 

PROFILE: The Citi Foundation seeks to improve the financial outlook for disadvantaged communities everywhere, including communities recovering from major natural disasters. Some grants provide “immediate relief” supporting rescue relief the first few days or weeks following a disaster. However, the Citi Foundation predominately focuses on aid meant to "identify and fund innovative disaster mitigation efforts that align with [Citi's] financial inclusion goals" and within immediate relief, "to develop strategic alliances with key organizations able to deploy relief work at a minutes’ notice." The Citi Foundation thus supports efforts to revive economic activity in the wake of a disaster. 

The Citi Foundation awards immediate-relief grants to satisfy a disaster-affected area’s immediate needs for shelter, water, food, medical care, and the like. This is a lesser Citi priority, however. As the website states, Citi shares the viewpoint of a large constituency of “disaster response experts” who believe that awarding cash grants for immediate disaster response and relief isn’t enough. Instead, the foundation puts much more emphasis on the long-term and channeling larger sums to the other two components—community rebuilding and financial security.  

Internationally, Citi focuses its disaster response grantmaking on supporting microfinance and financial inclusion efforts. Both can help to stimulate the local economy and help victims of disaster rebuild and strengthen their financial well-being. Microfinance and financial inclusion are often two of the largest overall grant-making topics at the foundation. 

Grant giving within all programs, including disaster response, has a recurring theme: economic growth. The foundation also seeks to create wealth generation and job creation opportunities in economically challenged areas. In the disaster relief area, this means that the foundation is concerned, above all, with helping the affected communities bounce back economically from disasters and regain their economic footing. 

All grants are by invitation only, and the foundation’s website emphasizes this. Recipients tend to be large INGOs. 

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