The Disaster Assistance and Recovery program is a mechanism for sharing the latest ideas on disaster assistance, practicing recovery plans, highlighting the good work of corporate citizens, and helping to rebuild the livelihoods of people affected by extreme events. Meet the network of companies working to improve disaster assistance and recovery in the U.S. and around the world.


Hurricane Sandy Update

Business-Nonprofit Disaster Portal



  • Business donations for emergency response efforts
  • Business expertise and innovations that improve the disaster management system
  • Skills based volunteering and in-kind donations
  • Business partnerships with NGOs and government agencies
  • Disaster response and recovery best practices
  • Preparedness and resilience initiatives
  • Case management of ongoing disaster recovery
  • Communication, coordination, and information-sharing mechanisms among public and private sector responders



  • Led a corporate delegation trip to Joplin, MO in January 2012 in partnership with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.  The trip brought companies from around the country to Joplin, MO to get a firsthand look at the tornado recovery, and find out ways to donate and invest in the community.  
  • Hosted a successful forum: Thinking About Earthquake Power Outage Challenges and Business Resumption, in San Diego, CA in March 2012.  The forum featured topics like coordination with government, energy challenges to business restoration after disasters, business continuity/risk management, how to pay for losses, etc.  More than 150 attendees from business, government, military, and academia actively participated.  
  • Brought together thirty businesses, government officials, and nonprofit organizations for a discussion forum entitled, Japan One Year Later, in April 2012.  Speakers from the U.S. Japan Council and Fluor Corporation led a discussion on Japan’s ongoing recovery and lessons learned from the terrible tragedy.  
  • Hosted a two day forum in Manila, Philippines in May 2012 in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce and the Corporate Network for Disaster Response. The first day brought together 200 businesses from around the Philippines to learn business continuity concepts from established experts from around the world.  The second day was a groundbreaking facilitated discussion between the business community and the Philippines government on the topic of disaster resilience.
  • In May 2012, BCLC partnered with InterAction to host a discussion forum with businesses and NGOs on the topic of international disasters.  The discussion focused on how the two sectors can work together better in order to build better partnerships and improve the overall delivery of aid to people in disaster stricken areas around the world.  
  • As a follow up to BCLC’s forum with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) in October 2011, BCLC created a new portal for domestic disasters.  The portal is a resource for finding out which national-level nonprofit is working in which phase and function after a disaster in the U.S.  The portal was made possible by Toyota.
  • Launched a new report entitled, The Role of Business in Disaster Response, in May 2012.  The report is a collection of 19 articles that detail how companies are using their expertise, innovations, and product developments to improve the way disasters are handled in the U.S. and around the world.  The report finds that there are many unique ways that companies are helping with disasters that far exceed traditional philanthropy.  It shows that companies are being a part of the solution simply by doing what they do best.
  • BCLC partnered with Good360 to host a webinar in June 2012 entitled, Best Practices for Donating Product for Disaster Recovery Efforts. The webinar highlighted how in-kind donations can play a major role in getting communities back on their feet, and how companies can determine what products are needed, when, so that donations meet critical needs at each stage.  
  • In partnership with the International Economic Development Council, BCLC hosted a workshop on improving disaster recovery in the United States.  The workshop brought together a very select group of economic recovery expters and representatives to identify best practices and lessons learned on preparedness and recovery efforts in disasters occurring since 2005.
  • In September 2012, BCLC brought together 25 public, private, and NGO leaders to discuss strategies for regional disaster and environmental resilience around the United States.
  • BCLC mobilized its disaster response mechanisms as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  We helped coordinate the business response to the disaster by taking the following steps:
    • Activated the corporate donations tracker, totaling over $113 million in corporate aid
    • Held multiple conference calls to help coordinate the business, nonprofit, and government responses.  Speakers on the calls included FEMA, SBA, EDA, Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Queens Chamber of Commerce, Target Corporation, etc.
    • Received and processed thousands of requests through the BCLC Help Desk supported by Office Depot Foundation.  BCLC staff coordinated donations between companies and NGOs all over the world. 
    • BCLC was published in news articles and interviews regarding Hurricane Sandy.  This included an interview on MSNBC’s Your Business, and media coverage in Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, Fox Business, Bloomberg, Reuters, Huffington Post, etc.



Report: Role of Business in Disaster Response

The Role of Business in Disaster Response examines how businesses are utilizing their expertise to help improve community resilience, response and recovery in times of disaster. This report is the first in BCLC's year-long report series "The Role of Business." Read the report here, or watch the video here.



Webinar: Best Practices for Donating Product for Disaster Recovery Efforts

Listen to the webinar recording and download the PowerPoint presentation.







BCLC disaster LEAD

Gerald McSwiggan (email) works with companies to sharpen and clarify their role in disasters and help them be effective in their disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery giving and investing. During non disaster times, he leads forums, workshops, webinars, and publishes reports and whitepapers to improve the overall system.  In crisis time, he leads coordination conference calls, corporate delegation trips to disaster areas, tracks corporate donation information, and coordinates effective partnerships between the sectors. 



  • UPS: Ed Martinez, President, UPS Foundation
  • Office Depot Foundation: Mary Wong, President, Office Depot Foundation


Disaster Program Headlines:

Sandy's Big Price for Small Business


According to the Small Business Administration up to 90% of small businesses get the majority of their business from within two miles of their front doors. With so many displaced people following Superstorm Sandy, BCLC estimates that between 60,000 to 100,000 small businesses have already been negatively impacted and as many as 30% of them will fail in the coming months.

We've seen this story play out before. ... We saw a predictable boom/bust cycle.

Points of Light Message on Volunteering in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy


In this week's Points of Light "NewsFlash" e-newsletter, Points of Light's Disaster Services Director, Kellie Bentz, shared the following message. We thought you would find helpful it helpful as the response to Hurricane Sandy continues to unfold. 

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, volunteers are stepping up to help those who have lost so much.

Superstorm Sandy Highlights Six Priorities for Short-Term Economic Recovery


//Editor's Note: This is cross-posted from IEDC and is written by Carrie Mulcaire, IEDC. In recent years BCLC has partnered with IEDC on multiple economic impact assessment projects in disaster-affected communities.//

Businesses Step Up After Hurricane Sandy


Best Partnership Award Finalist Caterpillar Donates Disaster Equipment that Clears the Way for Help


A few years ago, I traveled to Port-Au-Prince with a group of companies to find ways for corporate resources to effectively support the Haiti earthquake's relief and recovery needs. We met with a number of nonprofits on the ground and facilitated many great partnerships. 

Hurricane Sandy: Tips for Business Donors


4 Steps for Small Businesses to Weather "Frankenstorm"


Don’t become a Hurricane Sandy statistic!

The Future of Cities – My Reflections on Meeting of the Minds 2012


//Editor's Note: BCLC is organizing a meeting on financing community resilience in late 2012 and a conference on sustainable systems in April 2013. Email Gerald for more info.// 

An Engineering Feat that Beat Hurricane Isaac in N.O.



Hurricane Isaac reminded people in the city of New Orleans and around the country how important disaster preparedness is. While the storm was not as powerful as Hurricane Katrina, it still caused major flooding in Plaquemines, St. John’s, and St. Tammany Parishes in Louisiana.

Business Preparedness for Isaac Doesn't Have to Start at Square One


//Editor's Update -- 10/25/12: With Tropical Storm Sandy bearing down on the Caribbean and U.S. East Coast, this article is a good refresher about the business resources available to help weather the storm.//  

Now, with another hurricane looming, it's time to put those experiences to the test and prove that the tough lessons from the past have not been forgotten. Hopefully, this time we will be writing books about what we did right, not what we did wrong.  


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