UPS Foundation and the Logistics of Disaster Response

Technology may help us to forecast certain natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, but no matter how much technology and information we have, we cannot predict the impact these disasters have on local communities. The best anyone can do is be prepared. The UPS Foundation supports this notion and is major player in the disaster philanthropy space. This spring, it gave out over $9 million in grants to number of disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and relief organizations around the world.

The largest single grant from the Foundation’s recent $9 million give was $1 million to CARE, an international humanitarian organization working in close to 90 countries to fight global poverty, hunger, violence and disease. The grant will go toward CARE’s implementation of the Aidmatrix supply chain management platform, SCM4Good.

The SCM4Good system provides NGOs a standardized system for the procurement, warehousing and distribution of humanitarian relief supplies to get them where they are needed faster and more efficiently. The program also allows NGOs to track expenses and inventory in real time and can be accessed by anyone, at any time regardless of time zones or languages.

Additional grants totaling $6.6 million were awarded to national and international humanitarian relief organizations including:

  • The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, MedShare and the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster were all awarded grants in support of their ongoing disaster relief and recovery efforts.
  • The Georgia Tech Foundation received a grant to support its scholarship program for students participating in its International Humanitarian Logistics program.
  • The Advertising Council and Safe America Foundation received grants for their emergency preparedness and training programs focused on American businesses and families.

Speaking of the recent round of grantmaking, UPS Foundation president Eduardo Martinez stated:

Each year, millions of people are impacted by natural disasters all over the world. We believe we can help reduce the subsequent human suffering by collaborating with our partners and to help communities better prepare for the unexpected. Our strong expertise in logistics and supply chain management demonstrates the value we place on equipping individuals and businesses with the skills, information and resources to ensure communities are better prepared.

The foundation is also currently working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in an effort to provide increased visibility and transparency of the delivery of supplies to refugees. 

Meanwhile, a related thread of UPS's funding is its grants to prevent roadway injuries, which is a slow motion disaster in many developing countries. Here’s a quick look at some recent winners in this area: 

  • The Boys and Girls Club of Canada, Johanniter-Hilfe e.V, Hands on Shanghai, and UK Youth received grants toward the expansion of their UPS Road Code Safety programs.
  • Asia Injury Prevention Foundation was awarded a grant for its Helmet for Kids programs in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Citizen Education Fund, FIA Foundation and Fundacion Gonzalo Rodriguez received grants for their respective driver safety and emergency preparedness training programs.

It makes sense that UPS cares about carnage on roadways, since these are the arteries through which its business runs.