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:

A Lesson in Risk Mitigation from Mexico's 1985 and 2012 Earthquakes


I had an interesting conversation this week with Chris Poland, chairman and senior principal at Degenkolb.  Degenkolb is an engineering firm that provides a wide spectrum of structural engineering services to architects, Fortune 500 companies, healthcare institutions, universities, and government entities. Importantly, Degenkolb has a specialty in earthquake design and retrofitting. 

Degenkolb Engineers' Chris Poland on Integrated Disaster Recovery


On March 21, 2012, the Disasters Roundtable of the National Academies hosted a workshop to facilitate the exchange of ideas among scientists, practitioners, and policymakers to identify issues related to the understanding and mitigation of natural, public health, technological, and other disasters.

The Resilient City: Defining what San Francisco Needs from Its Seismic Mitigation Policies (Chris Poland, Degenkolb)

Chris Poland, chairman and senior principal of Degenkolb Engineers, presented on March 21, 2012 during a panel discussion on "Integrating Disaster Recovery: What Should Long-Term Disaster Recovery Look Like?" The panel was hosted by the Disasters Roundtable of the National Academies.

His powerpoint slides are available for viewing.

A Day Without Business - How Businesses can Survive Disasters


I recently attended an event in Tulsa, OK called A Day without Business.  This was the intriguing title of an event that asked business owners to consider what they would do if their businesses were interrupted for a day (or longer) due to a disaster.  Expert speakers from the areas of insurance, IT, public health and disaster recovery presented tips and ideas. 

Talking About Preparedness: Leave No Stone Unturned


It’s perfectly understandable why disaster preparedness might not be a front-burner issue for most small business owners. There are customers to meet, employees to manage, bills to pay.  But time and time again, it’s been proven that pushing the subject to a back burner is a recipe for disaster.

As a company that is committed to helping small businesses succeed— and as a nonprofit organization for which disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery are strategic priorities — Office Depot and the Office Depot Foundation uses a variety of channels to communicate this message.

How to Handle Earthquake Power Outage Challenges and Business Resumption


Loss of power for a sustained period of time, especially when caused by an earthquake, can be scary to a household, to a business, to a community.  That’s what we discussed on March 8th at a BCLC Disaster Assistance and Recovery forum, co-hosted by the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. We focused on three themes: 

NGO Aid Maps - Helping Connect Companies with Disater Relief Efforts

Companies should be aware of a partnership between InterAction, BCLC, and FedEx to provide three NGO Aid maps (Haiti, the Horn of Africa, and global food security).  The maps help companies better understand what NGOs are doing to help with those particular disasters, and where they are working.  Who is doing what, and where are questions that can help companies better understand how to be more effective in their giving and investing.  Too often, donors make giving decisions without fully understanding the landscape on the ground.  These maps help companies better understand where resources

Reflections on UPS Disaster Management with Ken Sternad


Ken Sternad is well known in the disaster management profession. As head of the UPS Foundation since 2009, Ken has overseen the foundation’s strategic re-focus to areas more closely aligned with the company's strengths and interests. These include urgent humanitarian relief, road safety, environmental sustainability, diversity, and volunteer capacity building for the nonprofit sector.

How Your Business can be Better Prepared for the Unexpected


This weekend, towns throughout the Midwest and South were hit by tornadoes and damaging storms. Inevitably, many businesses throughout the region are now coping with damage to their buildings or infrastructure, and wishing they had done more in advance to prepare for the unexpected.

Co-Brand with FEMA to Support Preparedness

FEMA recently announced an opportunity for retail stores to co-brand with them to get the preparedness message out to the general public. This is an interesting way for businesses and government to work together to help people become better prepared for disasters. FEMA designed a poster (below) that companies can add their logo to and display in their retail stores. The poster reminds people of the need to be better prepared and lists items that are essential to achieving preparedness. The retail stores must meet three requirements in order to participate in the new program:


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