Rebuilding Lives: The Philanthropic Response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004

New York Regional Association of Grantmakers



Case Study Sector


n the days and weeks following the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, the New York Regional Association of Grantmakers (NYRAG), an association that facilitates collaboration and knowledge-sharing among its members, received inquiries from its members about how they could most effectively respond to this catastrophe. NYRAG immediately posted pertinent information online, shared knowledge of what steps many grantmakers were taking, and kept its members abreast of the situation in tsunami-torn areas. With this disaster, grantmakers had a unique set of challenges. Many questions had to be addressed quickly to prevent further loss of life and help survivors, such as:

  • What were the needs of the peoples and regions affected by the disaster?
  • Where could charitable funds be used most effectively?
  • Which organizations were best positioned to utilize grants to fulfill needs?
  • Should disaster relief be needs-based?
  • How should grantmakers decide whether to engage on a short- or long-term basis?

This publication attempts to answer these and other questions by relaying the experiences of NYRAG members in providing grants for tsunami relief, recovery, and reconstruction assistance in order to construct a practical model for successful disaster grantmaking.



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