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:

Tactical Advancement in New Orleans: Disaster Prep in the Classroom


The New Orleans (LA) Regional Planning Commission (RPC) has partnered with Save the Children, the University of New Orleans, and parish emergency managers in southeast Louisiana to better prepare kids for disasters. Additional partners include the Louisiana Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

This is focused on modifying existing classroom curricula to excite children to learn more about preparedness.

Colorado Companies Exemplify Leadership in Times of Crisis


Like many people, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the shooting tragedy that happened last week in Colorado.  But as often happens when tragedy strikes, the community, including the business community, came together in Aurora to help those affected by this terrible crime. 

Does Business Preparedness Really Matter?


Common belief holds that every $1 spent on disaster preparedness saves $4 when a disaster happens. But is preparedness worth the initial $1 investment?

To many of the world’s best-known companies, it is. Preparedness benefits the whole company – especially employees and customers – and the communities where you’re located. Here are five prime examples from BCLC’s recent report on “The Role of Business in Disaster Response":

Behind the Scenes of a Business Disaster Donation


Most pet owners share the same feeling -- our pets are part of our family. We care for them and protect their well being the same way we do our children, spouses, siblings, parents, or any other family member. So when natural disasters force families to evacuate their homes, knowing there's a safe place and caring hands to keep our pets is really important. 

Public-Private Collaboration: Six Years After Hurricane Katrina


By Mark Cooper, Senior Director of Global Emergency Management, Walmart Stores, Inc.

Hurricane Katrina changed everything in emergency management, especially the role of the private sector in disaster response. Walmart was singled out at the time for its leadership in helping communities respond. It’s a perspective I personally observed as a first responder to the disaster. Now, as head of the company’s emergency management department, that perspective helps shape our public-private collaboration at the state and federal levels every day.

Maryland Businesses Get Their Stake in Emergency Response


By: Kathy Snyder, President/CEO, Maryland Chamber of Commerce
Patrick Donoho, President, Maryland Retailers Association
Jock Menzies, President, American Logistics Aid Network
Oliver R. Davidson, Senior Advisor, Business Civic Leadership Center

Many heartwarming stories start with an urgent late night call asking for help. A personal connection combined with the ability and desire to help our neighbors can produce positive results even in unfortunate circumstances.

10 Ways for Businesses to Be Hurricane Ready


Just before Memorial Day, I was on vacation in Edisto Island and Charleston, SC, and ushered in the 2012 hurricane season pre-events.  As we arrived, Tropical Storm Alberto formed and was making a fuss with  gusts of 50 miles per hour coming ashore – no rain but plenty of wind.  We had a delightful week enjoying the area.  Then as we were leaving, Tropical Storm Beryl formed.  As it turned out, TS Beryl brought much needed rain to northern Florida and southern Georgia.  It reminded me of another Tropical Storm, Alberto, which flooded Florida, Georgia, and Alabama 18 years ago and almost for

A Strategic Approach to Response and Recovery


By Frazier Wilson, Vice President Shell Oil Company Foundation, and Manager, Social Investment Shell Oil Company

Natural Disaster Financial Management: It’s All About Pre-crisis Preparation


By Jay Collins, Vice Chairman of Corporate and Investment Banking, Citi

Corporate Expertise in Disasters


Over the past decade, the Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) has issued a series of reports on the role of businesses in disaster response, primarily focusing on the philanthropic and social contributions that businesses make throughout the various stages of the disaster response process. This report looks at a different issue—what are businesses doing as innovators and developers of products and services to make communities more disaster resilient?


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