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Foundation Operations: Grantmaking-> Funding Strategies-> Emergency Requests

What are some ways foundations handle emergency requests?

A nonprofit organization will generally make an emergency request for funding in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. Immediate action may be necessary to avoid devastating consequences. Emergencies typically fall under two categories: internal emergencies, such as a significant cash flow problem; and natural disasters or acts of war.

In the case of a cash flow or other financial problem, grantmakers may provide short-term financial and management support to nonprofit organizations on an as-needed basis. Many foundations accept unsolicited proposals and will consider emergency requests under that category.

When faced with a disaster or widespread emergency, a foundation may consider the level and scope of its response, taking into account the following:

Timeframe: immediate relief or long-term recovery?

Geography: at the center of the disaster or emergency or on the periphery?

Contribution: cash, volunteers, equipment?

The Council on Foundations provides a guide to disaster grantmaking.

Each foundation operates differently. Some foundations explicitly state that they will not grant emergency requests for funding. Other foundations may provide emergency cash flow loans to assist nonprofits during times of duress.

The Hawaii People’s Fund provides emergency funding on a limited basis. Applicants must clearly show why the need is urgent and could not be applied for during a regular funding cycle. Maximum emergency funding is $1,000. Emergency applications may be submitted at any time. The fund attempts to respond within five working days of receipt of the application. Emergency funding does not affect eligibility for future grant cycles.

 

Related Information

The Urban Institute, After Katrina: Public Expectation and Charities' Response

 

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